The Seattle City Council’s public safety committee will hold a hearing April 17 to discuss two reports critical of the Seattle Police Department’s response to last year’s May Day violence.
Councilmember Bruce Harrell, who oversees the council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology committee, allowed only brief discussion of the reports during Wednesday’s hearing, saying the council had not had a chance to review the reports — one written by an outside consultant and the other written internally — both of which are highly critical of the Police Department’s planning for the event. The reports concluded that officers were confused over who was in charge and when they could use force to stop the violence.
Harrell said the reports were not placed on the agenda Tueday because the committee had not been told they were coming. Harrell has pushed for the reports since October, and in January wrote a letter to to the mayor wondering about the delay.
Chief John Diaz explained that the department was awaiting the completion of an independent review of the May Day incident by former Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief Michael Hillmann before releasing its own “after-action” report. Both reports point to failures in planning by commanders and mixed messages regarding the use of force to the troops.
The result was that police lost control of the streets for several hours, during which black-clad anarchists and vandals caused significant property damage to downtown businesses.