A timeline of U.S. 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.
January 2011: The DOJ launches a preliminary review of the SPD.
March 2011: The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division opens an investigation into the SPD.
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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.
March 29: 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.
March 30: The city is presented with a first draft of a court document that lays out proposed solutions and deadlines for the city to address the DOJ’s findings.
May 10: McGinn says he has tentatively set aside $5 million a year to pay for the DOJ’s proposed plan to reform the SPD. McGinn acknowledges he pulled the $5 million figure “out of a hat,” explaining it is part of a $30 million shortfall in the city’s 2013 budget.
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 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. The Minority Executive Directors Coalition and its Multi-Racial Task Force on Police Accountability say its members would stop cooperating with efforts by the SPD to implement the 20/20 plan until it has some mechanism to enforce changes, preferably a court-enforceable consent decree.
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