Candidate Survey Results: Questions 10 & 11; Seattle Police Oversight & Proposed N. Seattle Precinct

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These are the responses to questions 10 and 11 of our candidate survey.

Question 10: In 2011, the the Department of Justice found that the Seattle Police Department engaged in patterns of excessive force, violating both the Constitution and federal law . How will you address SPD’s ongoing pattern of violence, particularly in communities of color? Do you support the use of independent prosecutors in cases of alleged police misconduct? What steps will you take to strengthen civilian oversight of SPD?

Mayor

Mike McGinn, Mayor

I personally negotiated the consent decree in 2011. I worked to include in the final agreement the establishment of a Community Police Commission, to make recommendations on officer discipline and bias in policing, as well as to provide ongoing oversight of the reform process, provisions that were not in the DOJ’s initial proposal. I then appointed to that Commission well-known police reform leaders from the community, including many who had called for the DOJ investigation.

The Community Police Commission presented its recommendations in January of 2014, yet those recommendations still have yet to be enacted into city law. I support those

recommendations. I also support the continuation of the Community Police Commission as an independent entity with the broadest authority to provide oversight.

If elected, I would continue the policies negotiated in the consent decree to address excessive use of force and implement recommendations from the Community Police Commission for further improvement. Public safety is enhanced when we can have trust between the community and our police force. While great and real progress has been made, more work is needed to support lasting change.

Nikkita Oliver, Mayor

In 2011, after an extensive investigation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) found that the Seattle Police Department (SPD) engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive use of force that violated the Constitution and federal law. The DOJ also raised serious concerns about discriminatory policing. In 2012, SPD entered into a consent decree with the DOJ and agreed to institute reforms to eliminate unconstitutional practices.

Nikkita and the Peoples Party will transform the presence and role of law enforcement in our communities. We will work to ensure the City of Seattle implements community­-based policing practices, as defined by those communities most impacted by the concerns raised by the DOJ. We will center intervention around access to services rather than aggressive policing that leads to incarceration. We value harm reduction and seek to address symptoms of crime rather responding with punitive retribution.

The Community Policing Commission, Seattle City Council, and current Mayor Ed Murray have made strides in the right direction, but the police accountability legislation currently before the Seattle City Council does not go far enough. Our city must pursue radical reform in order to address longstanding public mistrust of the police and our criminal legal system.

Action Agenda: Nikkita and the Peoples Party will pursue a more robust version of the legislation currently before the Seattle City Council, which will include: 1) forming a permanent and politically independent Community Policing Commission (CPC); 2) granting the CPC certain enumerated powers to drive reform rather than merely offering recommendations; 3) requiring the Mayor and the SPD Chief to accept public comment and to provide a written rationale justifying any refusal to institute non­binding CPC recommendations; 4) establishing politically independent civilian oversight of the Office of Police Accountability (OPA); 5) hiring a mix of civilian and sworn OPA investigators, ensuring that impacted communities are represented within the office; 6) developing an independent Office of Inspector General with authority over SPD policies, procedures, and operations, tasked with auditing and community outreach; 7) Communities of color, as the most impacted communities in Seattle, must have the opportunity to in a meaningful way define what police transformation, police accountability, and community policing look like in Seattle.

Nikkita and the Peoples Party commit to address the concerns and recommendations offered by impacted community members, some of which include:

­ Assessing the efficacy of using police body cameras as a means to address police brutality and their impact on already over­-policed communities of color. We must ensure that body cameras do not become another means to surveil communities, but rather a means to pursue transparent and accountable policing. ­ Increasing the number of mental health professionals available to assist police when interacting with individuals in mental health crisis in order to reduce the likelihood that police will resort to force. ­ Yes, we support independent prosecutors in cases of alleged police misconduct.

Jason Roberts, Mayor

Unfortunately, it’s not just the SPD, this conduct is nation-wide. I believe independent investigators should be used in cases of violent police misconduct. I also support the use of body cameras on officers. I believe that more officers should be hired from communities of color and that a diverse police force is key to fair and equal policing. The SPD and the city are at extreme liability in cases of police misconduct, hence extreme care should be taken to make sure that it does not.

Casey Carlisle, Mayor

If the Seattle Police Department’s pattern of violence has persisted since the 2011 Department of Justice finding, then this needs to be addressed; however, I am curious to learn how the SPD has acted in the six years since the finding. Has it improved or worsened? Regarding excessive force, this issue is both bad and twofold.

Unnecessary force is bad, no matter who is on the receiving end, and if the SPD’s behavior has been most egregious in nonwhite communities, then we need to also root out those justifying their violent actions on their racist beliefs. Regarding the use of independent prosecutors in cases of alleged police misconduct, define “independent.” Will the prosecutors work for the SPD or the City? Will the prosecutors work for any level of government, or will they be employed with the City as private contractors? This is indeed a very complex issue, but I believe the complexity of this issue is the result of our own doing. The militarization of police forces has allowed police departments to strengthen their monopoly of violence. We keep granting them more power, and now we’re seeing this backfire. I want citizens to have more power and police departments to have less.

If we focus the SPD’s efforts on only violent crimes, we’ll have less of a need for such a large force; however, we’ve entrusted them with serving the public, so it seems redundant having another layer of bureaucracy to watch over their every move. Yes, criminal acts need to be punished, and guilty cops need to be fired, not just “slapped on the wrist;” however, we need to be aware of the very real possibility of creating a police force that polices the police. That’s our job, not that of another bureaucracy. No matter your political beliefs, I think we can all agree that we don’t want two SPDs.

Keith Whiteman, Mayor

I believe in independent review, regulation and prosecution of police departments. While we as a city have taken into consideration and implemented actions off of the DOJ’s investigation, I do not think we took it seriously enough. When we learned that the DOJ was investigating our city’s police force for excessive violence especially against communities of color the local government and especially the Mayor should have been explicitly vocal that this is beyond unacceptable. It is not a setback to admit that we have some problems, voice them, address them and fix them.

I believe in more training, education and increased selection for the police force in Seattle. We can expand the oversight of the SPD to expanding it to hiring as well. We have to figure out a way to convince the SPD that they are part of the community. We are all part of the community, no one is above the community. Allowing the SPD to be subject to civilian and independent review is not an attack or condemnation of the force, rather just the community wanting the policing to be better, effective, safe and just.

Harley Lever, Mayor 

Lever’s position is indeterminate.

Mary Juanita Martin, Mayor

Martin’s position is indeterminate.

Cary Moon, Mayor

City Council has developed a strong approach to accountability, with three parts: an Office of Inspector General, a permanent and independent Community Police Commission, and an Office of Police Accountability. We are on the right track with this set of structural changes. I support the provisions laid out by stakeholders in the May 16 letter to Council asking for stronger community-empowered oversight. Community police commission members should be reflective of both those that live here and those that work here – especially as the cost of living continues to push people who work here out of the city limits. And the CPC should be given the authority to conduct performance evaluations and add issues to the Inspector General’s workplan.

Yes I support use of special prosecutors in cases of alleged police misconduct, especially when use of force is at issue. It’s essential to avoid conflict of interest between prosecutors who work closely with police officers every day. Prosecutors in these cases should be independent and not be reliant on information prepared thru investigations within police departments.

Bias in policing is a long deep problem, but essential to address to get to the goal of anti-racist city that recognizes the humanity of –and stands for the liberation of — all people. Systemic racism is a burden we all carry, and nowhere is its manifestation more horrendous than bias in our criminal justice system. Since the reforms required by the Consent Decree have been pursued within the department, use of force has declined, but we still have a serious problem with biased policing and inequity; people of color are much more likely to have a gun pointed at them, be subject to use of force, and be incarcerated more frequently and for longer sentences. Youth of color are much more likely to be incarcerated than white kids. So to shift this culture, we need to continue doing the long deep work of anti-racist and anti-bias training within the police department and throughout government and throughout our city.

We should note also that working without a contract for over three years is frustrating and demoralizing for police officers, and that the loss of state funding for public health and mental health services has transferred a big burden onto our police department. We need to work with the state and county to restore vital mental health services and drug treatment services. We need to be able to offer folks coming out of the foster system, out of prison, out of mental health or treatment facilities a secure and stable home from which to get back on their feet. As we pursue that, we can shift more departmental resources toward all the effective approaches to public safety thru prevention: community policing, LEAD, anti-bias training, increasing skill with de-escalation strategies, and alternatives to incarceration for youth offenders.

Finally, we also need to seriously reform the money bail system: too many folks in jail have not been convicted of any crime, but are there awaiting trial while their lives fall apart due to prolonged absence and the trauma of incarceration.

Alex Tsimerman, Mayor

Tsimerman’s position is indeterminate.

David Ishii, Mayor

Ishii’s position is indeterminate.

Bob Hasegawa, Mayor

Hasegawa’s position is indeterminate.

Jenny Durkan, Mayor

Heidi Groover of the Stranger writes, “Along with community groups and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Durkan requested the 2011 Justice Department review of Seattle Police Department practices that resulted in the consent decree currently forcing reform in the department. But she at times had a tenuous relationship with the Community Police Commission, the citizen panel that makes recommendations for changes within the Seattle Police Department and is key to community buy-in on reform. When [Ed] Murray took office, she backed his choice of Harry Bailey for interim police chief. Bailey would later dismiss concerns about an officer who shot a man as he was running away from officers. (Seven months after Murray appointed him, Bailey retired.) During the 2013 election, in which Murray beat then-mayor Mike McGinn, Durkan waded into the campaign and criticized [Mayor Mike] McGinn.

Jessyn Farrell, Mayor

Farrell’s position is indeterminate.

Michael Harris, Mayor

Harris told KIRO Radio the city must be committed to community policing.


City Council

Jon Grant, Pos. 8

One of the big problems that we saw come out of the consent decree was when the Department of Justice investigation found over 200 cases of excessive force and racial discrimination existed, not a single one of those police officers was fired. I think itʼs good that police receive training around implicit bias, and that should be expanded and mandated, but, at the end of the day, if theyʼre found to have discriminated against somebody, or worse, they know they will go through a disciplinary process that will exonerate them. As a result of that, there is a culture of impunity at the police department.

If we donʼt have a system where officers can be held accountable for racially profiling someone or for excessive force, we are going to see the cycle continue. We need to get rid of the way officers are currently held accountable by removing the Discipline Review Board, which is comprised of three people, two officers and one civilian chosen by the police department. This is the police policing themselves, and itʼs not right. The Community Police Commission needs to be a permanent institution with the authority to set department policy. It also must discipline officers after the OPA found there was an incident of excessive force of racial profiling. I also support the use of independent prosecutors, and the OPA should have the authority to subpoena evidence in its investigations. If you do not address the fundamental way that officers are held accountable, then no amount of training will change that culture of impunity, which is why we need true civilian oversight of our police department.

Sheley Secrest, Pos. 8

I actually worked with the DOJ on that very issue. We, the NAACP, brought them in after having recorded the very complaints that you are asking about. The city actually asked me to serve on the OPA Review Board for four years. I was part of the team that got the consent decree to clean up SPD’s past racist practices.

Charlene Strong, Pos. 8

In the 6 years since this report was released, we have a new police chief and reform. Just today in the Seattle times we learned that U.S. Justice Department found Seattle police officers too often resorted to excessive force, the federal monitor overseeing court-ordered reforms issued a glowing report concluding the department has carried out a dramatic turnaround. In 2012, the Seattle Consent Decree was put in place in an effort to reform the SPD’s use of force policies and practices, training, adoption of policies and training to eliminate discriminatory policing, and the development of improved relations with Seattle’s varied communities. Community engagement is vital and must be a part of addressing violence. The fear and concerns have to be heard and addressed.

I do support the use of independent prosecutors in cases of alleged police misconduct.

I believe that the only way that we can continue to improve is to support community relations and build trust in our communities with both community and police involvement working together to break down barriers and build working relationships between citizens and policing.  

Sara Nelson, Pos. 8

Seattle Police Department has shown progress in meeting the terms of the Department of Justice’s Consent Decree. I support continuing these police reforms and I find it deeply troubling that the Trump Administration and Jeff Sessions’ DoJ are looking to stall these reform efforts. We need to continue to address the disproportionality in the way SPD interacts with communities of color. I look forward to continuing this dialogue with communities of color throughout the city.

Hisam Goueli, Pos. 8

Goueli’s position is indeterminate.

Mac McGregor, Pos. 8

McGregor supports true “Community Policing” so that officers and community members form relationships and get to know each other when not in times of crisis.  He also supports body cameras and civilian review boards to review all cases of use of force.  He supports the mayor’s current plan but would like to see more money put towards continued de-escalation, non-violence, and mental health training.

Teresa Mosqueda, Pos. 8

Given the Trump administration, we can’t assume that DOJ will continue to oversee and monitor our city – so we must take responsibility to move forward with community led and informed policing. Seattle must continue reforming the police force, and rebuilding trust with our community and police. Because creating healthy communities relies on our ability to be free from profiling, targeting or discrimination in any form. Creating healthy communities relies on our residents to feel safe from violence and police targeting in every community in our city.  We need community policing solutions – implicit and continuous bias training, we need it constantly be going back and training and retraining our frontline officers. Front line workers and fence line communities should be at the table to collectively develop policies that build trust, respect community and protect people – not property.

The fact that we don’t have many of our police force living in the city is due to economic factors as well. We need to incentivize folks who live in our community to stay and enforce public safety in a way that is respectful of the community they serve. We need to demilitarize our police force so that there is a true sense of public safety, and so that the facilities, cars and people are not weaponized. We need to encourage police and community to work together, and we need police to be able to afford to live in our community.

Rudy Pantoja, Pos. 8

Pantoja’s position is indeterminate.

Ian Affleck-Asch, Pos. 9

Education on peaceful conduct and de-escalation must be provided to all officers and citizens, if we are to eliminate excessive force in police interactions. A more rigorous vetting must occur for our officers to ensure that we do not employ those prone to violence or racism. I do support independent prosecutors for those cases. I belive the best action to take for oversight is through greater positive interaction. We must eliminate the mentality of “Fuck the Police” from the minds of our citizens by teaching both citizens and police officers to behave with greater civility.

Lorena González, Pos. 9

González is the chair of the Safe Communities Council, which “leads the process of shaping and finalizing police accountability legislation.”

She claims she is “committed to continuing to work with neighborhoods to ensure we have enough police officers and that we have the best-trained officers to ensure we are meeting the needs of our communities.”

David Preston, Pos. 9

Preston’s position is indeterminate.

Marguerite Richard, Pos. 9

Richard’s position is indeterminate.

Eric Smiley, Pos. 9

On his campaign website, Smiley says, “any crime by those in position of authority has an exponential impact by harming victims, exposing the good officers to additional risks in an already risky job, and expanding the mistrust of all parties for upcoming emergencies.”

Pat Murakami, Pos. 9

Murakami’s position is indeterminate.

Amanda Carter, Pos. 9

Carter’s position is indeterminate.

Question 11: Do you support the construction of the proposed police precinct in North Seattle?

Mayor

Mike McGinn, Mayor

I do not support the new precinct proposal. The existing North Precinct facility has deficiencies that warrant review, but the price of the proposed new building is way out of control. Those funds belong in our communities.

It’s a sign of how the budgeting of the current administration has become disconnected from the people of this city. At the same time as the city is considering building the most expensive precinct in the nation, the city is also claiming to have insufficient funds to maintain Green Lake Community Center and proposing to privatize it. We need to reprioritize our budget.

Nikkita Oliver, Mayor

Position: Absolutely not. We do not need more militarized police nor do we need a $180 million plus police bunker.

Action Agenda: A police bunker will not make us safer, but investing in community will. We can use $180 million plus to build housing, support the Seattle Public Schools District (as we advocate for McCleary to be fully funded), extent our human services department, develop paid parental and family leave for all, jobs and economic opportunity for youth, etc.

Jason Roberts, Mayor

I support it at its original budget of $89 million, not at $160 million. Like almost everything that gets done in this city, there is very little transparency on budgets. I want to know exactly what they are spending and how the costs are being managed.  Like the Youth Jail, this project stinks with mismanagement.

Casey Carlisle, Mayor

If North Seattle has more crime than other parts of Seattle, then I support the construction of the proposed precinct there; however, this does not mean that I support increasing the number of police officers. I support the proposed precinct only if we’re diverting officers from one area to North Seattle. We’re asking the SPD to do too much. If we have them focus on crimes that actually harm others, we won’t need to increase the number of officers.

Keith Whiteman, Mayor

I do not support the proposed building that is currently up for the North Seattle precinct. While I believe that police officers and police stations will of course expand as the population expands and am willing to ensure that neighborhoods can be efficiently policed, overall, I believe in the modesty of the police force and police buildings. I do not believe in militarization or buildings which would heighten or expand on this militarization of the police force.

Harley Lever, Mayor 

Lever’s position is indeterminate.

Mary Juanita Martin, Mayor

Martin’s position is indeterminate.

Cary Moon, Mayor

No, not as proposed. We need a new facility there, but the scope of that project and pricetag inexplicably ballooned out of control after the early concept for a simpler project was developed in collaboration with the community. We need to start again from that point and aim for a simpler, more modest facility, without the big increase in parking capacity, that serves the needs of the police precinct.

Alex Tsimerman, Mayor

Tsimerman’s position is indeterminate.

David Ishii, Mayor

Ishii’s position is indeterminate.

Bob Hasegawa, Mayor

Hasegawa’s position is indeterminate.

Jenny Durkan, Mayor

Durkan’s position is indeterminate.

Jessyn Farrell, Mayor

Farrell’s position is indeterminate.

Michael Harris, Mayor

Harris’ position is indeterminate.


City Council

Jon Grant, Pos. 8

No, I strongly oppose the construction of the new North Precinct. For $160 million, we can radically invest in community-based policing and restorative justice methods. I believe elected officials should show solidarity with the Block the Bunker activists.

Sheley Secrest, Pos. 8

I am actively working on the “Block the Bunker” campaign.

Charlene Strong, Pos. 8

I do not support the construction of the proposed police precinct in North Seattle in its current design. It is far too expensive.

Sara Nelson, Pos. 8

The proposal for the North Seattle Precinct is too expensive and needs to be scaled back.

Hisam Goueli, Pos. 8

Goueli’s position is indeterminate.

Mac McGregor, Pos. 8

McGregor has “serious concerns” about the estimated cost of the proposed police precinct in North Seattle.

Teresa Mosqueda, Pos. 8

No, I didn’t support the previous north precinct proposal as designed at that high price. If a new or upgraded facility is thought to be needed, that should be discussed with the community to be more in-line with the commitment to create more community-lead/citizen-directed policies so we can build more trust with the community. The proposed precinct seems to have been over designed and unnecessary.

Rudy Pantoja, Pos. 8

Pantoja supports the bunker.

Ian Affleck-Asch, Pos. 9

Yes. I do not think it should be any fancier than it needs to be, however.

Lorena González, Pos. 9

From the Council’s news site: “I continue to believe that the existing North Precinct must be replaced to meet the needs of North Seattle residents and the operational needs of North Precinct officers,” said Councilmember González. “However, after reviewing hundreds of pages and hearing from a wide variety of community members, it is clear that we must take a step back from the North Precinct project. This is the only way the City can have a meaningful impact on the design and significantly reduce the cost of a new police precinct. Hitting pause to re-evaluate the costs of this project is the only acceptable path forward if the City is truly committed to using our finite resources responsibly.”

David Preston, Pos. 9

Preston’s position is indeterminate.

Marguerite Richard, Pos. 9

Richard’s position is indeterminate.

Eric Smiley, Pos. 9

Smiley’s position is indeterminate.

Pat Murakami, Pos. 9

Murakami’s position is indeterminate.

Amanda Carter, Pos. 9

Carter’s position is indeterminate.