ACLU of Washington statement regarding ruling requiring additional federal oversight of SPD

News Release: 
Thursday, September 7, 2023
SEATTLE – A federal court has ended some federal oversight of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) by determining that SPD has complied with certain requirements in the Consent Decree resulting from the 2012 lawsuit United States v. City of Seattle. The decision came after the Department of Justice and City of Seattle asked the Court in May to craft a “transition agreement,” focused on two broad areas: use of force in crowd control and officer accountability. In a ruling first announced Wednesday morning, the judge decided the City had achieved “sustained compliance” with many aspects of the areas of police reform addressed by the Consent Decree, but it is continuing the Consent Decree and requiring the City and SPD to do more work to ensure a sustainable system of officer accountability, as well as ensuring constitutional approaches to crowd control before it will be deemed to be in “full and effective compliance.”   
Enoka Herat, Policing and Immigration Policy Program Director for the ACLU of Washington, had this reaction: 
“As we said previously, this move does not mean ‘mission accomplished’ for the Seattle Police Department or for the community the department is sworn to protect. The recently brought to light fact that SPD allowed the prominent display — in one of its precincts — of a mock tombstone of a young Black man killed by SPD officers, shows the problems that led to the consent decree persist. Indeed, data shows SPD still engages in discriminatory policing and actions that undermine community trust. We see today’s ruling as an opportunity for community members to voice concerns on accountability, discriminatory policing, the use of tear gas during protests, etc., and urge the City and SPD to actively listen to community concerns and solutions as they work to draft plans under the Court’s order.”