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Readers of the June 20 Seattle Times might have suffered a case of whiplash. First they see “Questions and anger after mother killed by police” on page one about the shooting by police of Charleena Lyles. Then “Monitor: SPD making gains on reforms,” above the fold on page B1. Then below the fold on the same page, “Fatal shooting by Seattle police prompts community outrage.”
Everyone agrees that policing is a dangerous job. Still, some readers might be inclined to infer from the conflicting headlines that the “gains” the SPD is credited with making don’t include the ability to handle people suffering from mental illness in a nonlethal way.
With this incident now adding its sorrowful weight to the list of police shootings around the nation, it’s no wonder that many nonwhite citizens view the police with dread. It seems that Merrick Bobb, the federal monitor overseeing Seattle police reforms, needs to reopen his investigation. At the very least, Seattle should hold off petitioning for a finding that “the Police Department is in full compliance” with the court order.
Michael Spence, Tukwila