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December 8, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Murray thanks SPD for handling of protests, but complaints under review

Roughly 100 people gathered at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle as the Ferguson, Mo. grand jury decision was announced. (Credit: Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

Roughly 100 people gathered at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle as the Ferguson, Mo. grand jury decision was announced, then took the streets to protest. (Credit: Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray gave police a pat on the back Monday, thanking them in an email for their work during weekend street protests over police brutality.

In an email to all Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers, Murray wrote, “I’m writing to express my thanks for your professionalism and restraint as you helped facilitate protests over the weekend.

“While the events were generally peaceful, on Saturday you were forced to contend with a smaller group whose behavior marred the weekend. I’m confident that the handful of arrests you made helped ensure the safety of officers, other protesters and the public,” the mayor added.

Murray was not in Seattle during protests Saturday and Sunday.

He left Friday for a trip to the East Coast and is in New York City Monday for a summit on immigration hosted by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Murray met with de Blasio Sunday.

But not everyone is convinced police have been acting appropriately. The Public Defender Association is investigating complaints by protesters, says Lisa Daugaard, of the Seattle nonprofit that represents indigent clients and advocates for criminal-justice reform.

Daugaard says she hopes Murray and the SPD will be willing to take a “critical look” at the city’s management of a series of protests that began Nov. 24 after a grand jury cleared a white police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo.

“We’re still investigating and gathering information about what has been experienced on the street and the issues that have been reported to us,” Daugaard said Monday.

“The issues we’re particularly concerned about at this time are whether people have been permitted to move around downtown or toward downtown depending on whether they identified as protesters or not, and whether police tactics have been intimidating in a way that has chilled participation in the demonstrations.”

Comments | More in General news, Government, Politics, The Blotter | Topics: Ferguson, Lisa Daugaard, Public Defenders Association

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