ACLU Reaction to Seattle Mayor’s Office Statement Regarding Status of City’s Compliance with Federal Consent Decree

News Release: 
Monday, June 24, 2019
On June 21, over 25 community organizations and coalitions sent a letter to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle City Council urging them to take prompt action in cooperation with the Community Police Commission (CPC) to submit a substantive proposal to bring the city into full compliance with the federal Consent Decree regarding Seattle Police Department discipline and accountability.
After the release of the letter, the Mayor’s office issued a statement claiming that “the City remains in full and effective compliance in every one of the areas required by the Consent Decree and set forth by the sustainment order.” This contradicts Judge James L. Robart’s May 21, 2019, ruling which states, "The court, however, does find that the City is out of compliance with the Consent Decree in one of its additional areas of responsibility—accountability. ... With respect to this area, the City will need to come back into full and effective [compliance] with the Consent Decree, and then maintain that compliance for two years." He ordered the City and U.S. Department of Justice, with the assistance of the Community Police Commission (CPC) and Monitor, to present the Court with a substantive proposal for “how the City proposes to achieve compliance,” by July 15.
ACLU of Washington Executive Director Michele Storms had this reaction,
“We are disappointed with how the Mayor’s office characterized the status of the City’s compliance with the Consent Decree. Judge Robart’s finding was clear: The City has partially fallen out of compliance with the federal consent decree with regard to discipline and accountability. The City should be cooperating with the Community Police Commission and its experts to submit a proposal to promptly bring the city back into compliance. Every denial creates delay and every delay in establishing a system of true and effective police accountability reduces public safety, erodes community trust in law enforcement, and most significantly, costs lives. Neither the City nor its communities can afford to bear the heavy costs of denial and delay.”