Thursday, April 28, 2011

Have you experienced unnecessary or excessive force by the Seattle police in the past few years?  Or feel you were subjected to biased or discriminatory policing or racial profiling?  Then the U.S. Department of Justice wants to hear from you! 

They have opened a civil “pattern or practice” investigation into the Seattle Police Department, focusing on these issues.  This means they will look into whether many incidents of misconduct establish a pattern of federal civil rights violations.  They cannot represent individuals or pursue individual complaints.  Don’t worry about whether the incident you experienced fits the categories of excessive force or biased policing.  We know that many of you have very important information about how you were treated by the Seattle police.  Now is your chance to speak up about that!

The best way to tell your story is to call the toll-free hotline: 1-855-203-4479.

You can call at any time of day, and all calls will be returned. 

You may also send an e-mail to [email protected], but DOJ would prefer to hear from people by phone.  DOJ will be in Seattle in mid-May to conduct interviews, but you need to call the number above to schedule an interview.

This investigation is a civil fact-gathering process.  The key to its success is DOJ hearing directly from people who have experienced misconduct by the Seattle police.  If there are documents related to your story, or videos or tape recordings, it is very helpful to tell DOJ that.  If you call, provide as many details as you can about:

  • WHO was involved – give as much info as you can about the officers and any witnesses to the incident
  • WHAT happened to you, WHAT the police said and did, and WHAT you did
  • WHEN it happened
  • WHERE it happened
  • HOW you were treated

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.  The letter gives examples of the kind of stories DOJ is interested in hearing about.  Go ahead, CALL DOJ.  Our community will be a better place if DOJ hears from you.

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