Avoiding Civil Rights Lawsuit, Seattle Agrees to Oversight of Police


Seattle officials agreed to an independent monitor and court oversight of the city’s police department as part of an agreement announced Friday with the Justice Department following a damning report that found officers routinely used excessive force, reports the Associated Press. City and federal negotiators were involved in tense talks over the scope of a deal for months, and Justice Department lawyers had threatened to sue the city if a deal was not reached by July 31.

“It’s no secret there were a few bumps in the road to get here,” Mayor Mike McGinn said. “We do have a lot of work in front of us.” The Justice Department launched its civil rights investigation early last year after the fatal shooting of a homeless, Native American woodcarver and other incidents involving force used against minority suspects. In December, a DOJ report found officers were too quick to reach for weapons, such as flashlights and batons, even when arresting people for minor offenses. The settlement must be approved by a federal judge. Court oversight would continue for five years, but the city could ask to end the scrutiny earlier if it has complied with the agreements for two years.

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