Seattle Police | KNKX

Seattle Police

Police stand in a line on the streets of downtown Seattle during protests in May.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX (file)


The Seattle agency that investigates complaints against police is struggling to keep up with the volume of filings. Andrew Myerberg, director of the Office of Police Accountability or OPA, said there are 87 active investigations related to this summer’s protests. 

 

He said 80 to 90 percent of the complaints allege excessive use of force by police. Meanwhile, he said investigators are still handling their regular caseloads.

Seattle cops dismantle 'occupied' zone, arrest more than 30

Jul 1, 2020
Protesters stand holding up their arms in front of a road blocked by police in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone early Wednesday, July 1, 2020, in Seattle. Police in Seattle have torn down demonstrators' tents in the city's occupied protest zone.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle police turned out in force early Wednesday at the city's “occupied” protest zone, tore down demonstrators' encampments and used bicycles to herd the protesters after the mayor ordered the area cleared following two fatal shootings in less than two weeks.

Protesters gather in Capitol Hill during the early days of the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone, or CHOP.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

 

The Capitol Hill Organized Protest — or CHOP — in Seattle has attracted worldwide media attention. Huge companies with big payrolls have dispatched reporters there. The whole time, Omari Salisbury has been there, too. He’s an independent journalist, and his company is Converge Media. It often streams live video for hours a day that attracts thousands of views.

Graduates of Nathan Hale High School and other schools wear caps and gowns as they take part in a Black Lives Matter March, march, Monday, June 15, 2020, in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Across the region, students, teachers and community members have been pushing for school districts to remove police officers from schools.

In Seattle, the school board has now voted to indefinitely suspend its arrangement with the city’s police department. That program had placed five officers in Seattle schools that have large percentages of students of color.

Nikkita Oliver speaks at a rally before a march to Seattle City Hall Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Seattle, following protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Recent shootings in Seattle near the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or CHOP, are prompting questions about public safety. Over the weekend, one man was killed and two others were injured. A fourth man was shot early Tuesday.

Attorney and activist Nikkita Oliver says people should not use the shootings to discount the demands of protesters, pointing out that violence had been a problem in the Capitol Hill neighborhood before the protests began, while the East Precinct was fully staffed.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, left, surveys downtown Seattle with Police Chief Carmen Best on Sunday, May 31, 2020, following protests the night before.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Calls continue to defund police in Seattle, following weeks of protests over police brutality and racism sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has refused to cut the police budget by 50 percent. But, she says, for bigger change you have to look beyond the budget. KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick talked more about this with Durkan.

People work to dry off large letters that read "Black Lives Matter" painted on a street near Cal Anderson Park, Thursday, June 11, 2020, inside what is being called the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Just a few days ago, parts of Seattle were choked by tear gas, but with the Seattle Police Department’s apparent abandonment of its East Precinct on Monday, what has come to be called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) has grown over a few blocks in the neighborhood.

A man who was protesting with groups in opposition to a rally held by Patriot Prayer and other groups supporting gun rights is arrested by Seattle Police officers during the rally, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, near City Hall in Seattle.
Ted Warren / AP

UPDATE, 5:10 p.m. Tuesday: The Seattle City Council voted 8-1 to approve the new police contract, following a contentious meeting with a packed council chambers. 

Will James / KNKX

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan's pick for police chief is winning praise from activists who have criticized the department.  

Durkan announced Tuesday her choice is Carmen Best, a 26-year veteran of the police department who has served as interim chief since the start of the year. In choosing Best, the mayor passed over two outside candidates. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says the Seattle Police Department will continue its reform efforts, even as a search is launched for a new Police Chief. Chief Kathleen O’Toole announced she’s stepping down and will leave by the end of the month.

Paula Wissel / knkx

Two Seattle police officers recently filed a lawsuit against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant for defamation of character.

They say she defamed them when, shortly after it happened, she referred to the police killing of Che Taylor, an African American man, as a “brutal murder.” They point out they were eventually cleared of wrongdoing in the killing by an inquest jury. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The shooting death of Charleena Lyles by Seattle police has once again brought the use of deadly force into the spotlight. Friends and family of Lyles have asked why other less-lethal force wasn’t used when two officers responded to an attempted burglary report at Lyles’ apartment Sunday morning.

A state senator from Seattle is renewing his call to rewrite Washington’s police deadly force law. Democrat David Frockt represents the legislative district where Seattle police shot and killed Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of four on Sunday.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle police officer involved in a fatal shooting asked his partner to use a stun gun on the woman authorities say was brandishing a knife, but police audio transcripts show the other officer said: "I don't have a taser."

Authorities say 30-year-old Charleena Lyles confronted the two officers Sunday when they responded to a burglary call at her apartment. Family members have questioned why police didn't use non-lethal options when they knew Lyles had been struggling with mental health issues.

On Monday, Seattle officials released dash cam audio of a Sunday morning police shooting that left Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of three, dead. The two Seattle police officers had been called to Lyles' apartment so she could report a burglary.

The shooting is under investigation by the Seattle Police Department's Force Investigation Team, and also SPD's Office of Professional Accountability, but here's what we know now:

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle police are investigating the fatal shooting of a woman by two officers who responded to a burglary report at her apartment.

Police say the officers went to the apartment Sunday morning, and, at some point, were confronted by a woman armed with a knife. Both officers fired their weapons, killing her.

Police say children inside the apartment were not injured.

SEATTLE (AP) — Authorities say the reason Seattle has seen a recent uptick in shootings is because personal disputes between gang members have been triggering a cycle of violence.

The Seattle Times reports 35 people have been shot in mid-May, three of which had been fatalities.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The Seattle City Council approved an ordinance Monday to increase civilian oversight of the police department in a unanimous vote.

"There really is unity around this," Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said. "When we do get together and we do listen to each other, we can come up with this kind of solution."

The legislation calls for additional civilian staff for the Office of Professional Accountability, the agency responsible for investigating individual cases of officer misconduct.  

Elaine Thompson / AP

Updated at 10:22 p.m. PST

SEATTLE (AP) — Three Seattle police officers were shot and injured during an exchange of gunfire with a suspect, who later died, after a robbery at a downtown convenience store.

Three people are suspected in the Thursday robbery at a 7-Eleven store near Pioneer Square, the city's oldest neighborhood, said Deputy Police Chief Carmen Best.

Officers chased two suspects, a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl, who ran from the store, police said.

SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington state prosecutor says he will not file criminal charges against two Seattle police officers who fatally shot a 46-year-old African-American man last year.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said at a news conference Tuesday that the officers, who are white, reasonably believed their lives were in danger when they shot Che Taylor in February 2016. He says "their use of deadly force at that moment was authorized by law."

Michael Dwyer / AP

Seattle police are warning heroin users about dangerous purity levels after several recent overdoses.

Police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb says three people died and a fourth person was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment.

The Seattle Times reports bicycle officers were canvassing the Aurora Avenue North corridor Saturday to warn users of the danger.

PBS 'Frontline'

Seattle’s heroin epidemic is the focus of tonight's episode [February 23] of the PBS series "Frontline".

“Chasing Heroin” airs at 9 p.m. on KCTS-TV. The documentary looks at  King County’s LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program, calling it a “radical new approach” to fighting the epidemic.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

Every time a cop goes out on a call, chances are good that the encounter will be with someone suffering from mental illness. It’s the reason the Seattle Police Department has trained officers in crisis intervention and teamed them up with mental health professionals.

Manuel Valdes / AP

The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded the Seattle Police Department $600,000 to expand its body camera program. The Seattle Times reports that the DOJ announced the funding Monday as part of a federal campaign to improve law-enforcement transparency.

Seattle police finished a small pilot program this summer in which a dozen officers used body cameras. Department officials say they hope to have all patrol officers wearing cameras next year. The federal funding will go toward purchasing equipment and training officers.

John Froschauer / AP Photo

It’s illegal to set off fireworks in Tacoma, Seattle and most other cities in the region. But, every 4th of July, so many people ignore the law there’s little police can do. They say calling 911 about violations just overwhelms the emergency system.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Seattle police could have been much more effective in how they handled May Day protesters when violence erupted on Capitol Hill Friday night, said the head of the Seattle City Council Public Safety Committee.

It was during a debrief before the Public Safety Committee that chair Bruce Harrell laid into incident commander Captain Chris Fowler.

Harrell went so far as to say it seemed like police provoked the riot. He referred to a video, that’s gone viral, of a cop on a bike ramming a protester from behind and knocking him down.

Natalie Wilkie / Flickr

The federal monitor charged with overseeing reform of the Seattle Police Department says there’s finally reason for optimism.

“The glass is now looking half full to me rather than half empty,” Merrick Bobb said during a briefing before the Seattle City Council Public Safety Committee Wednesday.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he plans to call an emergency meeting of the Seattle City Council to discuss the “epidemic of gun violence” in the wake of two shootings that claimed three lives in the city in the past week.

“This city and this nation must address this sense of violence,” said the mayor at a Friday news conference with dozens of community leaders standing by his side. “We have to find a way to move forward.”

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.

Paula Wissel

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.  

Of the nine candidates running for mayor of Seattle, only Mike McGinn has first-hand experience. Leading up to next Tuesday’s primary, KPLU has been asking all the candidates to talk about a time when their leadership was tested.

You could say Mayor Mike McGinn’s leadership skills have been put to the test every day for the past 4 years. How he’s dealt with it has a lot to do with a personal change he made shortly after taking office.

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