March 5, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Monitor files police-reform plan; McGinn issues stern statement
Merrick Bobb, the independent monitor who will track Seattle police reforms, submitted to a federal judge today his proposed first-year plan for carrying out sweeping changes to curb excessive force and biased policing.
Bobb’s proposed plan, outlined in a 23-page document, said he will monitor that use of force is properly documented and investigated and that “findings that force was out of policy” will be referred to the Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability for appropriate discipline.
It also said, among other things, that Bobb will gauge “levels of confidence and trust by all members of the diverse community” in the Police Department, as measured by surveys, rates that crimes are cleared, cooperation from witnesses and full implementation of community-based policing at the precinct level, with particularly emphasis on the African-American and other minority communities.
Mayor Mike McGinn, in a separate action, issued a pointed news release saying the city will not agree to the plan until he gives his written authorization to City Attorney Pete Holmes.
Holmes, in a clash with McGinn that erupted last week, has said the city charter gives him the authority to act as the city’s chief litigator in meeting the requirements of a settlement agreement reached with the Department of Justice to reform police practices. But it’s clear from McGinn’s memo to Holmes that the mayor believes he needs to sign off on the plan before there is an agreement.
Holmes issued a statement this afternoon responding to the mayor’s memo:
“Now is the time when City leaders should be working together to achieve lasting reform of our Police Department. Under the rules of ethics and my personal concern for the City’s best interests, I cannot comment in detail on the mayor’s counterproductive statements, except to say that this is a sad day for Seattle. It is especially sad for the women and men of SPD who want us all to move forward, together.”
Today’s events set in motion a collision course between McGinn and Holmes.
U.S. District Judge James Robart, who is overseeing the case, has set a court hearing for next Tuesday to gauge the status of the case.
In his proposed plan, Bobb singled out Holmes and members of the City Council for praise in their efforts to carry out the settlement agreement. He also praised the Police Department for its cooperation.
As for McGinn, he said only that he had met with the mayor and his representatives.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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