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Seattle Police Officers File Civil Rights Complaint Over Use Of Force Policies

More than 100 Seattle police officers have filed a federal civil rights complaint against city and federal authorities.

They allege the agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Seattle restricting police  use of force has put both police and the public in danger.Since 2012, Seattle has been under a federal court order to improve the police department.

The U.S. Justice Department had found that officers in the city routinely used excessive force and were guilty of biased policing. A new more restrictive use-of- force policy was established and everyone from Mayor Ed Murray to police top brass publicly vowed to comply.

But, the civil rights complaint filed in federal court in Seattle shows that at least 120 officers have serious reservations about the new policies.  In the complaint, the officers say the use of force policies  “unreasonably restrict and burden the officers right to use force to protect themselves and others from apparent harm and danger. “ 

The complaint is something of a rogue action.  It was not done with the blessing of the police union president. The officers apparently didn't hire an attorney to file the complaint. They are representing themselves pro se in court.

In response to the complaint, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray issued a statement saying, in part,

"The Seattle Police Department is under a federally mandated court order, in part, because of a disturbing pattern of unnecessary use of force."

He also said the police department will continue to comply with the court order.

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.