District 3’s Sawant fighting defamation suit from officers who shot Che Taylor — CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant faces a defamation lawsuit from the Seattle Police Department officers who shot Che Taylor last year. Sawant filed for a motion to dismiss last week. The officers, Scott Miller and Michael Spaulding, claim she used the fatal shooting while naming the officers to further her own administrative agenda and political…

via District 3’s Sawant fighting defamation suit from officers who shot Che Taylor — CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

After Charlottesville, Right Wing and Counter-Protesters Converge on Westlake

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Arthur Ford continues yelling “Black Lives Matter” in the face of a Proud Boy with the mic. Mario Cater, who raised his fist, remained smiling behind him the whole time. Behind those two one can see Joey Gibson, the organizer. [Photo by Kelsey Hamlin]

In the wake of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday, protesters gathered at Denny Park and marched to Westlake in Downtown Seattle yesterday to confront a right wing group called Patriot Prayer. On their way, however, protesters encountered human barricades of police, canisters of pepper spray, and flashbangs.

via After Charlottesville, Right Wing and Counter-Protestors Converge on Westlake — South Seattle Emerald

Justice4TommyLe hears answers, commitments from officials at community-led forum

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Gabe Nishimura sits with his sign as the event begins. (Photo by Kelsey Hamlin)

Tommy Le was a 20-year-old high schooler shot and killed by King County deputies on June 13 after responding to a disturbance call in Burien. Le was to graduate the next day. Le recently bought a tuxedo for his brother’s wedding, but it had to instead be used for his funeral. The family, due to legal concerns and religious practice, will not be available for interviews for 49 days after his death.

In an effort to get answers for Tommy Le’s family, members of the community organized a forum at Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) in which officials listened and answered questions. Young Vietnamese Americans were given priority after the family throughout the evening.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart feels officer-involved shootings should never be investigated within their own police department. For Le’s case in particular, Urquhart said he is asking the Federal Bureau of Investigations to take over.

Read more here

Contextualizing the death of Charleena Lyles

National and local patterns where people of color die disproportionately at the hands of police
Seattle PI

Credit: Genna Martin/seattlepi.com, via Associated Press

Seattle’s jagged mountains were shaded blue the morning Charleena Lyles was fatally shot by Steven McNew and Jason Anderson of the Seattle Police Department (SPD), matching that of the community’s reaction to such police violence: tragic and somewhat jaded, topped with anger as sharp as the rocky skyline.

Lyles’ death tacks on yet another name to the list of people killed by police since 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot in 2014, when the nation decided it had enough and finally started taking note. Lyles was a mother of four, and was reportedly pregnant.

UWPD has high salaries, but isn’t competitive

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Major Steve Rittereiser, head of the Office of Professional Standards and Training at UWPD (Photo by Andrew Chan).

Just last year, the UW Police Department (UWPD) was having issues with retention, possibly due to a “hostile environment,” according to an in-depth article by KOMO News.

One year later, things have improved.

In 2015, when the KOMO article was written, UWPD had approximately 15 patrol officers, according to public informations officer Steve Rittereiser. That number has now increased to 28 officers.

This year, just two officers have left the department, which UW Police Chief John Vinson said equates to a 6.6 percent turnover rate.

“We had a number of things that happened,” Rittereiser said, explaining that a swath of people retired in 2015 while others left for different departments. “So we faced what was essentially a crisis for the number of people we had.”

Rittereiser has been with the UWPD for five years, and said the current amount of patrol officers is the most UWPD has had since he began.

That being said, one issue has been pointed at for years now: UWPD struggles with competitive pay. Officers can earn $600-$800 more a month at another similarly sized agency in King County than at UWPD, according to Rittereiser.

Rittereiser stated the minimum starting salary for a patrol officer is $55,272 this year.

In 2012, the average yearly salary for a UWPD officer was $74,952. That number steadily increased as the years went on, going down once in 2013, to arrive at last year’s average yearly salary: $83,950.

“We continue to be an agency that falls behind our peers right now in terms of pay,” Rittereiser said.

Read more here

Update on SPD Reform Packs Courthouse As Judge Lays Out Pathway Ahead

While voter turnout has been consistently sub-par in the city of Seattle, one thing always collects a crowd: Police reform and accountability.

Yesterday afternoon, Judge James Robart’s courtroom in downtown’s United States Courthouse was allegedly full, with an overflow room used to accommodate the many who came to hear the latest status […]

via Update on SPD Reform Packs Courthouse As Judge Lays Out Pathway Ahead — South Seattle Emerald

Seattle Mayor Walks on Eggshells During Press Conference for Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and Dallas Police

“For the second day in a row, I’m speaking to you once again because our city and our nation is shaken,” said Mayor Ed Murray as he opened yesterday’s press conference.

The mayor’s previous presser, held Thursday afternoon, addressed the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two Black males fatally shot […]

via Seattle Mayor Walks on Eggshells During Press Conference for Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and Dallas Police — South Seattle Emerald