Last December, the ACLU of Washington and 34 community organizations sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation of the Seattle Police Department after a string of troubling incidents involving unnecessary or excessive use of force by officers. On March 31 we received an answer: DOJ is coming to Seattle. The move came after a preliminary inquiry in Seattle determined that a full-scale investigation is warranted.
This means that DOJ investigators will begin a review of Seattle Police policies and practices, interview and observe officers, and interview and engage community members, with a goal of determining whether SPD has engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive use of force or discriminatory policing. Along the way, DOJ will work with SPD to help the Department find ways to improve its operations to ensure that the city has an effective and accountable police agency and one that has the trust of the community. We believe that this process will give SPD much-needed tools to address problems with use of force and other issues that we have been growing for years.
Community members are invited to provide input to the Department of Justice about their experiences with the Seattle Police Department. A toll-free hotline (855-203-4479) has been established to receive phone calls, or comments may be submitted by e-mail to Community.Seattle@usdoj.gov.