Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn reluctantly agreed to recommend Los Angeles police consultant Merrick Bobb as the independent monitor to oversee police reforms after the City Council voted 8-to-1 to join with the Department of Justice in submitting Bobb’s name to a federal judge, the Seattle Times reports. McGinn reversed his stance less than a week after he objected to Bobb’s potential appointment on grounds a board member for Bobb’s nonprofit had helped write the Justice Department report that found Seattle police officers had engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force and displayed troubling evidence of biased policing.
McGinn had backed Seattle Police Chief John Diaz and other police officials in resisting Bobb’s selection, drawing a sharp rebuke from four City Council members and City Attorney Pete Holmes, who expressed their support for Bobb as the top candidate. In bowing to the council’s vote, McGinn chose to avoid a potential court fight after finding himself standing virtually alone among the city’s elected leaders. Bobb would oversee the city’s July settlement agreement with federal attorneys, which calls for changes to curb unnecessary force and address discriminatory policing. McGinn’s spokesman said, “We know from the experience of other cities that reform efforts are successful when the police force buys in to the effort. Our office and others expressed concerns that Mr. Bobb would not be seen as an impartial monitor.”