Re: “Seattle to pay $250,000 to 74-year-old man police held at gunpoint during ‘welfare check’ ” [Sept. 18, Local News]:
The well-deserved quarter-million-dollar settlement received by Howard McKay doesn’t absolve our police or their abusive behavior. Without these changes, there will be no atonement:
1. The city council and Seattle Police Department must redefine the term “welfare check.” They must address whether inspecting a citizen’s welfare requires an assault by 10 militarily armed officers. When we check on someone’s welfare, we don’t do it with a collection of long guns. We doubt SPD needs to either.
2. SPD officers, particularly those conducting welfare checks, must rein in their attitudes. Our employees in service to our safety must treat us respectfully.
3. The SPD can allocate 10 armed officers on a welfare check of a sleepy old man, yet has no (or insufficient) staffing to address rampant downtown drug dealing and related crimes? Obviously, our city/SPD resources must be seriously reallocated.
The mess downtown breaks our hearts. It chases us away. Declining neighborhood safety scares us. Like McKay, we’re in our 70s. The last thing we need is to be afraid of the officers we thought were sworn to protect us.
Tito and Kate Titus, Seattle