SPD Chief John Diaz will be on Seattle University’s campus Thursday night for the January meeting of the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition. Details on the community meeting are below. Organizers are requiring more structure than usual for anybody who wants to speak at the meeting. According to coalition chair Stephanie Tschida, speakers must arrive promptly at 6 PM to sign-up and are asked to limit their statements and questions to 60 seconds. Note also that the meeting will be held at Seattle University instead of the Vocational Institute at 23rd and Jackson where it is normally held.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department has begun a process to review what ACLU Washington says is a pattern of violence by the Seattle Police Department often targeting minorities in the city. From the Seattle Times:
The federal review is in response to a request last month by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU) and 34 other community groups that asked the Justice Department to investigate police use of force in several recent high-profile incidents, including the fatal shooting of John T. Williams.
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said Monday she met last week with officials from the Police Department and the office of Mayor Mike McGinn, representatives of the City Council and some of the community groups pushing for the investigation.
Durkan said attorneys from the federal department’s Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., will travel to Seattle in early February to begin the process.
There has been increased scrutiny of incidents involving violence and possible racial bias by SPD officers. In September, the King County Prosecutor’s office decided to not charge an SPD officer caught on video saying he was going to beat the “Mexican piss” out of man. Meanwhile, those same prosecutors must decide whether charges should be brought against SPD officer Ian Birk in the shooting death of JT Williams.
The meeting filled to capacity and they had to turn people (including me) away. Hope to read a recap of the discussion soon.