Penjihad's Blog

"To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable"

Seattle Police and Dept of Justice Oversight

I received a letter from the US Attorney for Western Washington today. In it US Attorney Moran said the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed with the Seattle Police to remove ONE HUNDRED paragraphs from the Consent Decree that applied controls of oversight by the DOJ, over the Seattle Police Department (SPD).

The four-page letter essentially said SPD had reduced its use of “serious” force by 60% and “Further, out of all 2,252 uses of force, only 12 (or 0.5 percent) were determined to be out of policy.”. From the tone of the letter, one would imagine SPD was moving on a direct path of compliance and was now as friendly as possible.

I believe the Police ALL OVER the US, is far too violent because they are trained to violence during their initial Basic training and because they are protected by the Last Mafia in the US, call “the Police Guild” (they don’t like to call it the Police Union, not fancy enough) which jumps to the defense of even the indefensible actions with a fanatical zeal. Thus, I wrote my response to US Attorney’s letter as follows:

“Dear Attorney Moran,
Thank you for the e-mail and the attached letter that we received today regarding easing of some restraints and oversights of Seattle Police Department.
Your letter was encouraging but to us people of color, discussions about Police use of force is generally a long conversation about how low the statistics are, about Police use of excessive force. This usually follows with what we regard as a band-aid “solution” of “De-escalation training” which gives short-term results but serves little purpose in the long run. Our confidence in those who are supposed to protect us is not at all reinforced when we see anti-minority bias being played out by the Police and by the Prosecutors’ offices.
The problem goes far deeper than an hour or two of “de-escalation training” in the midst of normal Police duties, the problem is ingrained upon the Police officers when they enter their basic training programs. We once tried to discuss the issues with the director of the Burien training center, we asked if we could visit and perhaps, see the curriculum of Police training so perhaps we could be of help in preparing some training changes that may help make the Police more civilian-friendly and less prone to using violence. We did not get beyond the first minute or so, of the conversation.

At issue are: 1) differences in perceptions between police and civilians regarding “violence”. 2) “Policy” that permits a broad range of Police actions because of concerns of “Officer protection”. 3) Training that appears to REQUIRE certain hardline responses by the Police before the engagement between civilians and Police even starts.

  1. From your letter, we would understand that violence is generally related to Police use of “impact weapons”. apparently, it is not quite so serious if the Police do not use “impact weapons”. From a civilian perspective, it is a very violent experience to be thrown down on the ground often, simply for not obeying an officer immediately or, talking back to them. Placing a civilian under a stranglehold is another commonly-followed practice under such circumstances. We know people have been permanently disabled or even killed by such practices.
  2. The oft-noted “Policy” seems to allow the Police to do just about anything, including shooting and killing people as long as they “follow policy”. At such times, it may be as valuable to examine the “policy manuals” that contain the “Use of Force Continuum”, as it is to examine Police actions. A policy the permits an officer to shoot to kill someone simply because that person did not satisfy the officer’s sense of how things should proceed and then allow the officer to walk away also simply by saying they feared for their safety, is a blank check against civilians and a message to civilians that our lives don’t matter when weighed against Police safety…or Police perception of safety. Part of this “Policy” is also some section that allows charges to be dropped against an officer if they resign as in the John T. Williams case where officer Ian Birk got off scot-free by resigning. We learned from that tragedy, that if a Police officer resigns, they can join another Police department immediately but if they are fired, they are ineligible to work as a Police officer anywhere in the US.
  3. From our civilian perspectives and from the occasional comments by various members of the Police, it appears that Police duty is likened to being in a “war zone” especially on neighborhoods of people of color. Minorities are regarded as dangerous and “Officer Protection” takes first place in encounters with civilians especially civilians of color. Such attitudes can only come during basic training and of course, they are reinforced when on duty with similarly-trained officers. White seems to be right in Police encounters with civilians; an armed White man is merely seen to be exercising his constitutional rights while and armed Black men are placed “under control” before any information is demanded.
We fear if Police unions remain as unassailable as they are and Police training is limited to discussions and as long as major changes are not made DURING basic training, not much is going to change for the Police and certainly, civilian perception and civilian confidence in the Police, will remain very low. With due respect for what DOJ is seeking to do, most of us civilians of color, are not encouraged.
Jafar “Jeff” Siddiqui, American Muslims of Puget Sound”

May 18, 2020 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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