ACLU of Washington Responds to Department of Justice Report on Seattle Police Department’s Excessive Use of Force

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org The following comes from Kathleen Taylor, ACLU of Washington Executive Director: “The in-depth report by the Department of Justice confirms what many people of color and others have experienced – that the Seattle Police Department has engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive use of force. The report documents in detail the concerns that led the ACLU and 34 other community organizations in December 2010 to request that the DOJ conduct this investigation. “The DOJ has rightly found that Seattle’s citizen complaint process is broken, that there is a lack of accountability for excessive use of force, and that improved training, supervision, and leadership are needed to end unacceptable behavior by some police officers. And the DOJ rightly pinpoints that the SPD needs to seriously address concerns about discriminatory policing if it is to regain the trust of the community it serves. “We are pleased that the DOJ intends to work with the SPD and community groups to develop a ‘blueprint for sustainable reform’ and to put in place a court order and monitor. The report is just the beginning. Now the long-term effort to bring about needed change in systems, culture, training, and leadership begins. “The ACLU will be deeply involved in working with the Department of Justice, the Seattle Police Department, and community groups in formulating specific solutions to ensure that the police effectively protect public safety while respecting the Constitution.”

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