ACLU Urges City’s Leaders to Agree to Consent Decree with Department of Justice

News Release: 
Thursday, May 10, 2012
The ACLU of Washington issued this statement today by Executive Director Kathleen Taylor: “To ensure that reforms to the Seattle Police Department are fully implemented and long-lasting, the City needs speedily to agree to a consent decree with the Department of Justice that includes a monitor and court oversight. The DOJ investigation and recommendations resulted from the SPD’s inability to curtail excessive and unconstitutional use of force by some of its officers. It's clear that the problems within the police department have been so ingrained that our city can't fix them without outside help. “The Mayor’s “20/20” plan includes some good ideas for improving policing in Seattle. But it is too vague to serve as the roadmap for reforming our police department’s practices, and it lacks teeth to ensure implementation and enforcement. “The city’s leaders should not resist negotiating a consent decree. The expense of defending against a DOJ lawsuit will be far greater if settlement discussions fail. The city will incur attorneys’ fees, costs of experts, and other expenses in a drawn-out court battle, one which would likely result in similar court-ordered conditions to those now offered by the DOJ. Seattle has waited long enough for improvements in its police department. We need a consent decree now.”