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December 21, 2011 at 3:43 PM

McGinn orders Diaz to implement DOJ reforms

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn Wednesday ordered Police Chief John Diaz to implement the reforms outlined in the Department of Justice report that was highly critical of the police department’s use of force.

The order is a change of course for the mayor who, when the report was issued Friday, stood with Diaz and questioned the data that concluded that Seattle police engaged in a pattern of excessive use of force.

Today’s announcement by McGinn came in a letter to the ACLU, which had called on the mayor to embrace the findings and include members of the community in working toward solutions.

The ACLU and 34 community groups, many representing minorities, earlier Wednesday had urged McGinn to “make a strong public statement outlining your plans for addressing the very serious issues” raised by the DOJ report.

Several leaders of those community groups expressed anger over the past few days that McGinn had not immediately pledged to act on the recommendations and move forward to address longstanding complaints about the police officers’ use of force.

In the letter to Kathleen Taylor, executive director of the ACLU, McGinn said, “The process of change cannot wait. This morning, I ordered Chief John Diaz to begin implementation of reforms outlined in the Department of Justice’s report. We will also convene a public review panel to oversee the implementation of these reforms.”

The list of reforms includes a system of consistent supervision of patrol officers; a new Professional Standards Section, a new Force Review Board and a force investigative team, a rewrite of the department’s Policies and Procedures, and work to revise and simplify the Office of Professional Accountability, which investigates complaints against officers.

McGinn concludes, “Chief Diaz and I expect our police force to be a national model of professionalism and accountability…”

In response, Taylor sent an email to The Times which read: “The Mayor’s statement embracing the DOJ’s recommendations for reform is a welcome and positive development. The ACLU and other groups who wrote to the Mayor today look forward to working with City officials and the DOJ to bring about much-needed changes.”

[do action=”doccloud”]https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/279134-701-taylor-1221-mm-t[/do]

Comments | More in Government | Topics: Mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle Police Department, U.S. Department iof Justice

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