Community Comment

SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 2011, 3:38 A.M.

DOJ investigates Seattle Police…

Seattle Times picture of Seattle Chief of Police
Seattle Times picture of Seattle Chief of Police

Good morning, Netizens...


The Department of Justice has informed the Seattle Police Department they are investigating whether Seattle officers have engaged in a pattern of unnecessary force and biased policing. Police Chief John Diaz (pictured) met with the Seattle Times Editorial Board Friday and informed them of the pending action, asserting that they have fully cooperated with the inquiry so far and will continue to do so.


Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez, who oversees the DOJ's Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., announced the department-wide "patterns and practices" investigation in a conference call with U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, whose office's civil division will oversee it.


Both Perez and U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, whose office's civil division will oversee the investigation, stressed that the investigation is a civil, not a criminal matter.


Perez said, is to determine whether there are "systemic violations of the Constitution or federal law by officers of the SPD" and to correct them if they're found. Should problems be found during the investigation, the DOJ will work with the Seattle Police Department to fix them, stated Perez.


The DOJ also confirmed Thursday that they are investigating a separate criminal investigation into the August shooting death of First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams by a Seattle police officer. The officer, Ian Birk, resigned from the force after prosecutors said they could not build a case against him.


There are a remarkable number of parallels between the DOJ investigation of the Seattle Police Department and historical events involving the Spokane Police Department where some citizens assert Constitutional violations have taken place but, to date, no DOJ investigations have taken place in Spokane.


If interested parties persist in asking questions of the Spokane Police Department regarding any of these events where civil liberties have ostensibly been violated, generally speaking you are informed to “move on, nothing has happened here”, and the matter is dropped. We apparently lack the clout necessary to invoke the U.S. Attorney's office.


Of course, your opinions may differ.



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