New Controversy On Seattle Chief After Report’s Release


An officer beat a drunken, handcuffed man with his baton and fists; another used his badge to try to get nude photos of his sister-in-law and “thwart an apparent extramarital affair;” a third jumped “with all his weight” on a suspect, breaking several ribs and “popping” his lungs even though the suspect had lain on his stomach to surrender. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says that for each of these 2003 allegations of misconduct, the Seattle Police Department’s internal affairs director recommended officers be found guilty. Each time, as with eight other cases that year, police Chief Gil Kerlikowske let the officers off the hook or reduced charges against them without explanation, says a board that oversees the Seattle Police Department Office of Professional Accountability.

After the report’s release yesterday, another civic group called for Kerlikowske’s ouster. The Minority Executive Directors Coalition of King County demanded the chief step down. However, Seattle police watchdog Harriet Walden said Kerlikowske should not be pushed out. Meanwhile, Seattle politicians are scrambling to position themselves as agents of reform to police accountability. A police officers’ union says the review board is biased, part of a City Council member’s agenda to expand civilian oversight of the Police Department and strip some administrative power from the chief.


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