Appeals court reverses Charleena Lyles case dismissal, sends it on to trial

It took 25 months from beginning to end, but today the Washington State Court of Appeals finally issued a ruling in its review of the dismissal of the Charleena Lyles wrongful death case brought against the City of Seattle and the two police officers who shot and killed her. The appeals court overturned the lower court’s dismissal of the case and set it up to proceed to trial.

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The competing efforts to restrict SPD’s use of crowd-control weapons

As it stands right now, there are three separate efforts to write rules for how SPD may (or mostly may not) use so-called “less lethal” weapons for crowd control purposes. Since each of the efforts is complex on its own, and the relationship and interactions between them provide additional complications, it’s worth reviewing the whole set to understand where things currently stand and where they might go from here.

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Council sends revised crowd-control weapons ordinance to DOJ and police monitor for review

Today the City Council’s Public Safety and Human Services Committee polished off a draft of a revised ordinance placing restrictions on SPD’s use of so-called “less lethal” weapons for crowd control, and sent it off to the Department of Justice and the court-appointed police monitor for comments. In so doing, the Council is signaling that it still feels the need to legislate in this domain while it also recognizes that the terms of the 2012 Consent Decree constrain its ability to do so.

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Council starts a rewrite of its ban on crowd-control weapons

You may recall that last June the City Council rushed through a near-total ban on SPD’s use of several so-called “less lethal” weapons, including pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, and blast balls after several nights of confrontations between protesters and police officers. Several weeks later, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, who oversees the 2012 Consent Decree imposed upon SPD, tossed the Council’s ordinance, for two reasons: because it did not follow the process prescribed in the Consent Decree for modifications to SPD’s use-of-force and crowd-control policies; and because in his view it reduced public safety by removing SPD …

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SPD quietly circulating proposed changes to use-of-force and crowd-control policies

Earlier this month, the Seattle Police Department started circulating for review a set of proposed changes to its policies for officers’ use of force and crowd control. It sent the drafts to the city’s three police accountability organizations — the CPC, OPA, and OIG — as well as to the Department of Justice and the court-appointed police monitor, asking for feedback by January 8th. But miscommunications between SPD and the CPC over the feedback process have thrown a wrench into the works and are raising the tensions in a perpetually strained relationship.  

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Catching up with the Mayor’s task force and the Black Brilliance research project

As you may recall, over the past few months two parallel efforts were created to guide multi-million dollar investments in community safety: the Mayor’s Equitable Communities Initiative (ECI) task force to guide $30 million of investments; and King County Equity Now’s “Black Brilliance” research project, commissioned by the City Council, to identify priorities for community investments and make recommendations for a participatory budgeting process to allocate another $30 million of investments. There have been some recent developments, so it’s time to check in on both efforts. (I also encourage you to read PubliCola’s recent coverage of the Black Brilliance research …

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