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Tuesday morning's headlines

Williams shooting findings 017_0.jpg
Liam Moriarty
Seattle Deputy Police Chief Clark Kimerer on Feb. 16, announcing SPD findings that the fatal shooting of John T. Williams last summer was not justified. A new SPD report finds police use of force declined sharply between 2006 and 2009.

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Report: Seattle Police Don't Abuse Use of Force
  • Supreme Court Sides With Local Peace Activist
  • Gonzaga Makes NCAA Field

Seattle Police: Our Use of Force "Rare"

Seattle Police say the public's impression that officers are using more physical force is wrong.  In fact, a new department report makes the case that use of force is rare. The's Casey McNerthny details  a number of recent incidents where officers have been under scrutiny for charges of excessive force.  Still, the report:

Police officials also say Seattle officers use force less frequently than the national average.

The survey was completed two weeks before Officer Ian Birk shot and killed First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams. SPD officials tell McNerthny it would have been inappropriate to release the report while the Williams shooting was under investigation. Birk resigned his post. No charges were brought against him.

At a news conference later this morning, SPD will release the city's latest crime statistics.


Navy Must Offer Up Puget Sound Munitions Maps

The US Supreme Court says the Navy must release maps of where it stores munitions on a Puget Sound island, marking a victory for a longtime peace activist, Glen Milner, and reinforcing freedom of information laws. Justice Elena Kagen wrote the 8-1 majority opinion. The Seattle Times' Nancy Bartley writes:

The Navy argued that the information Milner wants, data about the storage and safety of munitions at Naval Magazine Indian Island, which is in Jefferson County, should fall under the personnel rules and practices exception. Milner specifically requested maps and data showing how far apart potentially explosive munitions are stored.

Milner's attorney, David Mann, called the ruling "huge."

"The Supreme Court hasn't stepped into FOIA very often." The last time, he estimates, was 30 some years ago. "What it does is reinforces that the documents must be released and the exceptions are narrow. ... And that there's no such thing as a catchall exception."

The Seattle firm Gendler & Mann have worked on the case for years, for free.


Gonzaga Makes It

Gonzaga will play in the NCAA tourney for the 13th year in a row. The Bulldogs beat St. Mary's for the West Coast Conference title in Las Vegas last night, 75-63, behind Steven Gray's 15 points. The News Tribune's Todd Miles reports coach Mark Few was humbled by his teams turnaround of a season that once seemed lost:

“I just got done telling them, I haven’t been more proud of a group of guys,” Few said. “From where we were to where we are now has been an incredible journey, and it’s taught me a lot – a lot about the resilience of kids, and a team.”

Gonzaga (24-9) will find out Sunday who it plays among the field of 68 NCAA championship teams. 

Washington and Washington State play Thursday in Los Angeles, in the Pac-10 tournament. NCAA chances for both teams have dimmed in recent weeks.