Key dates in the Department of Justice investigation of the Seattle Police Department.
These are key dates in the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation of the Seattle Police Department (SPD):
Nov. 18, 2010: The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington says it will ask the DOJ to conduct a civil-rights investigation of the SPD, citing a newly released video of an officer kicking an African-American teen during an arrest, along with other “unnecessarily violent confrontations” with minorities.
March 2011: After a preliminary review, the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division opens an investigation into the SPD.
Dec. 16: Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez, who heads the Civil Rights Division, announces the DOJ concluded SPD officers have engaged in a “pattern and practice” of excessive force, and says it uncovered troubling evidence of biased policing.
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March 29, 2012: In response to the DOJ findings, Mayor Mike McGinn and Police Chief John Diaz roll out the city’s “20/20” plan, a sweeping package of 20 initiatives aimed at addressing issues from officer hiring to training to biased policing. They promise to implement the plan over 20 months.
May 11: U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan says Seattle’s “20/20” plan is a good start but that the DOJ expects to see a far more detailed proposal if the city hopes to avoid a federal civil-rights lawsuit.
May 14: McGinn says it could cost the city up to $41 million a year to pay for the DOJ’s proposed remedies. Councilmember Tim Burgess cautions that the estimate had not been vetted by the City Council or the city budget office, and calls the figure “scare numbers.”
June 12: McGinn meets in Washington, D.C., with Perez to discuss the DOJ proposal. After the meeting, McGinn says the two men discussed a “framework for negotiations.”
June 21: Community groups that had pressed for the DOJ investigation denounce the pace of the negotiations and demand a place at the negotiating table.
June 25: City officials and federal attorneys release more than 150 pages of previously confidential documents that reveal deep divisions in how to bring about sweeping changes in the Seattle Police Department.
July 13: In a sharply worded letter to McGinn, City Attorney Pete Holmes warns that McGinn’s legal strategy in negotiating reforms with the DOJ has put the city on the verge of a civil-rights lawsuit that could have dire consequences.
July 27: The city and DOJ announce they have reached an agreement on police oversight, subject to a federal judge’s approval.
Friday: U.S. District Judge James Robart approves a historic settlement between the city and DOJ to overhaul the Police Department, paving the way for far-reaching reforms to curtail the use of excessive force.
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