Topic: DOJ investigation
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October 22, 2013 at 2:38 PM
On the campaign trail, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has sought to portray his clashes with the Justice Department over police reform as a positive part of his first-term record.
McGinn frequently notes his role in the creation of the Community Police Commission, a 15-member group that provides citizen oversight and input into the police-reform effort.
At times, McGinn has suggested he had to drag the Justice Department into an agreement to create the commission, which became part of the consent decree settling the DOJ’s claims of unconstitutional use-of-force by police. For example, in an interview with the West Seattle Herald, McGinn said “This is something I got into the agreement and isn’t something the DOJ initially wanted. I had to fight for it…”
But Jenny Durkan, U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, is pushing back against McGinn’s version of history.
In a letter sent Monday to the CPC, Durkan told commissioners “you may be aware of recent public comments suggesting that the U.S. Department of Justice resisted the formation of a community oversight panel, and that this somehow delayed or prolonged the consent decree negotiations.”
That’s not true, Durkan wrote in the letter co-signed by Jonathan Smith, chief of the special litigation section for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
“As you know, the community has been at the heart of this matter from the start, and an oversight board was a concept the DOJ actively supported and continues to believe plays a critical role in effective and measurable reform,” the letter said.
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