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February 7, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Seattle police board hosts community-relations talk

An Ohio consultant who helped fix a rocky relationship between Cincinnati city residents and its police department said Tuesday night that he could do the same thing for Seattle.

At a public meeting hosted by the Seattle Police Department’s Professional Accountability Review Board, about 150 people listened as Jay Rothman, president of the Aria Group of Ohio, described the collaborative process he created to heal divisions between the community and Cincinnati police after race riots in 2001.

Developing a similar process in Seattle would probably cost about $500,000, Rothman said.

But audience members — some of whom called for the resignation of Seattle Police Chief John Diaz — questioned whether such a process could fix the department’s issues.

In December, a federal civil-rights investigation into the department found routine and widespread use of excessive force by officers.

“Process does not equal change,” said Ernest Saadiq Morris, who identified himself as a  civil-rights attorney. Morris said he grew up in Seattle, and had been harassed by police when he was young.

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: Aria Group of Ohio, Cincinnati, Professional Accountability Review Board

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