A jump in claims that Seattle police were unnecessarily rough with people has prompted the department’s Office of Public Accountability to take a closer look at use-of-force complaints — and why they come more often from the city’s south end, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A report is due soon, said office director Sam Pailca. Data from 2003 show what the office called a “troubling 105 percent increase in the number of allegations of unnecessary force.”
The number of claims rose from 80 in 2002 to 167 the next year. The number of incidents prompting those claims did not rise so dramatically, increasing about 18 percent. A single incident can lead to numerous allegations. Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske said the increase likely reflects more skirmishes involving groups of people and multiple officers, such as brawls at 2 a.m. outside closing bars. Or it might mean people are becoming more comfortable making complaints about officer conduct, he said.