SPD budget changes, revisited: some corrections, a better explanation, and a last-minute change in the works

Last Friday I posted a summary of the Council’s budget deliberations last week, including where they landed on SPD’s 2021 budget. Since then I’ve had several email exchanges with the Council’s staff, as they pointed out some inaccuracies in the numbers I posted (and they humbly admitted that they didn’t really explain it all very well). The Council’s unwillingness to try to impose a hiring freeze on SPD in 2021 was widely (but not always accurately) reported over the past few days, and it has created blowback from advocacy groups over the notion that SPD might actually grow in size …

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City responds to BLM contempt allegations

Earlier this week, the City of Seattle filed its response to allegations from Black Lives Matter and the ACLU that it should be held in contempt for violating a preliminary injunction placing restrictions on SPD’s use of crowd-control weapons. The city’s response is a strong defense to the contempt charge, but it raises many additional questions about the way that SPD handles protests.  

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City, DOJ formally sweep SPD’s crowd-control controversy into consent decree process

This summer there have been two legal threads related to SPD’s use of crowd-control weapons:  two similar lawsuits asking for restrictions; and the Department of Justice asking for and receiving a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking implementation of the City Council’s ordinance prohibiting the police department’s use of crowd control weapons. Earlier this week there was activity in the first thread; today there was an important update in the second.

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OPA releases first set of findings from investigations into SPD officers’ misconduct at protests

This morning, the Office of Police Accountability released its first set of “closed case” summaries for five cases lodged against SPD officers related to misconduct during this past summer’s protests — including two incidents from May 30 that went viral on social media. Also: here is my in-depth Q&A with OPA Director Andrew Myerberg, where we touch on the issues raised by these cases, the status of OPA investigations into police misconduct at the protests, and many other topics related to police accountabilty.

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Q&A with OPA Director Andrew Myerberg

In anticipation of today’s release by the OPA of its first batch of findings from complaints arising from this summer’s protests, OPA Director Andrew Myerberg graciously sat down with me yesterday for an interview. Here is the full interview, lightly edited for clarity.   Kevin Schofield: How do you feel that the investigations are going so far? Andrew Myerberg: I think they’re going well. As you can imagine the cases, they kind of range in complexity. Using the pepper spray case for an example, it was an easier case in some respects to start to isolate the video, because there …

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Breaking: OPA, OIG and CPC issue recommendations on SPD crowd-control weapons

As expected, this afternoon the Office of Police Accountability, the Office of the Inspector General for Public Safety, and the Community Police Commission issued their reports and recommendations on SPD’s use of “less lethal” weapons for crowd control such as tear gas, blast balls and pepper spray.   Here are links to the reports: OPA report OIG report CPC report The reports are lengthy, as is approporiate for the topic, and their recommendations are complex and nuanced. I will have a full report after I’ve read them all through and analyzed their recommendations. In the meantime, I caution against believing …

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