Police Abuse

Seattle May Spend Millions Teaching Police Officers How to Not Stomp on People

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Today, Seattle city leaders and the Department of Justice came together to announce a plan to try to end a pattern of abusive police behavior that resulted in a federal investigation (pdf). Via the Seattle Times:

"Okay, when you get out of the patrol car, try NOT hitting anybody."

Years of friction between police and minority communities — many centered on allegations of officers escalating petty situations into confrontations, and then using force to quell them — came to a head in 2010 and 2011 with a series of highly publicized and controversial incidents, many of which were caught on tape.

The public outrage reached a crescendo Aug. 30, 2010, however, when Officer Ian Birk shot and killed a First Nations totem carver who was walking downtown carrying a piece of wood and a small folding knife. A dashboard camera in Birk's patrol car captured the audio of the encounter and revealed that only about four seconds passed between the time Birk issued commands to put down the knife and when he fired the shots that ended the life of John T. Williams.

The shooting proved a catalyst within the communities that had over the years witnessed attempt after attempt at police reform falter or fail. This time they responded with a single voice and to a higher authority, the Department of Justice.

The Seattle Times has a page hosting several of these videos here.

In response, in order to prevent the DOJ from suing Seattle, the city will start a commission! Yes, a commission is just the thing:

The new commission, which will include community representatives and a member of the police department, will report its findings to a court-appointed monitor who will guide the Police Department as it carries out the reform plan, one source said. The monitor has yet to be selected.

Creation of the commission is spelled out in a memorandum of understanding that will accompany a comprehensive consent decree covering broader aspects of the reforms, the sources said. The consent decree, or settlement agreement, would be in place for five years, possibly longer or shorter depending on the city's compliance.

But training police officers on when and how to not beat people up is apparently not cheap, even if they've already been presumably trained on when and how to not beat people up. Reuters explains:

Talks on a settlement had bogged down over the anticipated costs of implementing a Justice Department proposal, which a city memorandum estimated would run roughly $41 million for the first year alone.

The memorandum had described those expenses, including $18 million to develop and implement training programs and $11 million for new city positions, as "prohibitive."

Details of the final settlement, including its costs, were not immediately revealed.

Update: The Seattle Times just posted the text of the settlement (pdf).

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  1. The new commission, which will include community representatives and a member of the police department, will report its findings to a court-appointed monitor who will guide the Police Department as it carries out the reform plan…

    A “monitor” as a title sounds extremely impotent.

    1. Would, “Generalissimo Baron Von Monitor in Chief” be better?

  2. HAHA!!

    Dumphy has to go to class.

    1. No. Buckaroo Banzai gets to go to class, Joshua. He gets to.*

      *On taxpayer-supplied overtime pay, too. Let that sink in for a minute. The people they systematically abuse without being held the least bit accountable are going to pad their checking accounts so they can take a class on coming up with creative ways to word their reports so they can avoid scrutiny.

      1. to word their reports so they can avoid scrutiny.

        “The perpetrator continued to resist commands from the officer…”

    2. I don’t think the Dunphster is a Seattle Cop. Didn’t we conclude he was like, Renton or some thing? Or am I wrong about that?

      1. sounds right.

        But I reserve the right to call everything that is between Everett and Tacoma and west of the cascades Seattle.

  3. In a just world, Step 1 would have been to, you know, actually prosecute the crimes committed by SPD officers and to also hold civilly liable the union and city negotiators that enabled the criminal behavior that has become all-too common an occurrence over at least the last decade.

    When you let criminal behavior go unpunished by those entrusted to uphold the law, then you no longer operate under the Rule Of Law but rather under the Rule Of Man. That is the situation in cities and towns all across America, and it is nowhere more pronounced than Seattle, Washington.

  4. The thing that bugs me about this is that it’s still couched in terms of race.

    It needs to be couched in terms of police authority run amok.

    It seems that the MSM simply won’t pay attention to police brutality unless there’s a racial angle to it. It misses the point– that we’re all potential victims to over-aggressive policing if this country doesn’t get a collective grip on its municipal police forces.

    1. “….still couched in terms of race”

      I got roughed up (bruises only) at Denny Park by SPD about 12 years ago. I was a good learning experience. They ran a background check on me and found that I had been “picked up” by Federal Agents several time and then decided that I was a small time drug dealer with good lawyer connections to weasel free. What I needed was some punishment.

      It didn’t occur to them that the “Federal Agent” problem might by IRS tax-related.

      The SPD like to encourage people to contest, smart-mouth, or resist so they have an excuse to administer punishment and race doesn’t matter. The SPD enjoy that kinda stuff.

      I don’t think classes are going to help, but make things worse. If the classes included jogging, bicycling and robust physical energy, they might act a wee bit more relaxed and civilized but I wouldn’t count on it.

      If I had any say about it, I make it a requirement that they all run small bussinesses for a while so they can learn the concept of ‘minding your own bussiness’.

    2. The thing that bugs me about this is that it’s still couched in terms of race.

      It needs to be couched in terms of police authority run amok.

      It seems that the MSM simply won’t pay attention to police brutality unless there’s a racial angle to it. It misses the point– that we’re all potential victims to over-aggressive policing if this country doesn’t get a collective grip on its municipal police forces.

      ^^THIS^^

      The problem is a police abusing their authority problem, not a “minorities are likely the hardest hit by systematic police abuse story, even if the latter is true (which it most certainly is). Until we can discuss these issues without race being a mitigating factor, we will never stop couching police abuse in terms of race. Even white people get fucked by the police. And even if only 1 white person is dicked by the police for every 10 blacks dicked by the police, I doubt it matters much to said dicked white guy that it happens to blacks more. Until we hold LEOs accountable for their vast abuses against idividuals, we are doing fuck-all about their systematic abuses . If we’ve discovered anything about the police, it’s that, in an effort to appear “fair”, rather than curbing abuses against minorities, they will escalate the number of whites they dick around. The key is to protect individual rights against system-wide police abuse against EVERYONE, not focus on bringing down the number of abuses against a protected group.

  5. Oh, and just to pour lemon juice in the papercut: all of this shit is happening under decidely lefty, green, sustainable, critical-mass-ey, civil-rights-ey administrations.

    Now who do we call right-wing?

  6. Apparently, the “commission” on how not to waste tax money isn’t done with their analysis yet…..

  7. the settlement (pdf)-Reason
    “29. “De Minimus Force” means physical interactions, for a lawful purpose, between an officer and a member of the public meant to separate, guide, and/or control without resort to control techniques that are intended to or are reasonably likely to cause pain. Examples include using hands or equipment to stop, push back, separate, or escort and the use of compliance holds without the use of sufficient force to cause pain.”
    Boy, I’m glad the lawyers got that worked out. Two years ago a teenager got punched in the face by SPD for jaywalking/resisting arrest (national news). The SPD got famous for it and then ‘corrected’ the problem. A few weeks later I was walking south on 1st Avenue and got bumped by two bicyclists from MID (Metropolitan Improvement District) while standing at the corner of an intersection. I moved out into the street because there was no room left on the sidewalk. The intersection was under construction and being directed by a SPD officer who came over to me to manhandle me and force me to jaywalk south through a red light. I wanted to go west, not south. That was an example of the ‘improved’ SPD. I walked east one block then north one block and then west one block and then across the street to walk south to the destination that was only a short distance away before being manhandled the wrong direction. I was able to get there when I figured out how to avoid the SPD with their ‘improved’ methods.
    I never resisted.

  8. THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL YOU PAY FOR OUR POLITENESS TRAINING!

    (…possibly longer)

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