What’s up in the Seattle P.D.?
Something odd is happening in the Seattle P.D. or maybe something has been happening for a long time and I just hadn’t heard anything about it.
The Justice Department is planning to conduct an investigation of the Seattle P.D. after a series of incidents in which police have been accused of brutality and discriminating against minorities.
Apparently, a an officer shot a woodcarver and member of the First Nations of Canada. The victim had limited hearing and was frequently drunk. I haven’t seen a report of the shooting. The officer was not charged although the Department found that the shooting was not justified.
Other incidents involving use of nonlethal force against minority members of the community have also angered citizens who have called for the federal investigation.
Yet, historically, as far as I know, the Seattle P.D. has had a reputation of having positive relationships with members of some minority communities, at least.
In the wake of 9/11 the Seattle and Portland Police Departments both refused to cooperate with the FBI in their efforts to interrogate Arab Americans with temporary visas regarding their knowledge of terrorism. The police department believed that this sort of interviewing constituted profiling and would harm their relationship with the community, increasing lack of trust and ultimately undermining their ability to gather intelligence regarding future terrorist plots.
The Police Department in Dearborn, Michigan took a different stance. Concerned with damaging their relationships with the Arab American community there, they also refused to participate in the interviews with the FBI. However, they agreed to help the FBI locate relevant parties and accompany them on the interviews, “monitoring” them to ensure that relevant parties understood that participation was voluntary.
A number of police departments across the U.S. worked alongside the FBI or conducted the relevant interviews, to the detriment, I believe, of their relationships with the Arab American community.
What the above has to do with the current allegations of police abuse of force against minorities in Seattle I’m not sure.
However, I’ll be curious what the investigation reveals.