Responding to the U.S. Department of Justice report accusing police of routine use of excessive force, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn must navigate between police, who have reacted with skepticism to the findings, and community groups calling for a sweeping overhaul of the police department, saying the federal report vindicates their longstanding complaints about officer conduct, reports the Seattle Times. McGinn, a former Sierra Club leader and attorney, ran for office in 2009 talking more about the folly of a downtown tunnel than overseeing a police force. “He’d never had any experience in public safety,” said former City Councilmember Jan Drago.
The federal report was a rebuke to police brass, including Police Chief John Diaz, the 30-year Seattle police veteran whom McGinn chose to lead the department last year despite calls by some to bring in an outsider. Jordan Royer, public-safety adviser to former Mayor Greg Nickels, urged McGinn to dispute the federal findings, calling the investigation a “hatchet job.” Royer said, “I think the mayor should fight this in court. I think they have a weak case,” warning that the report could harm police morale and lead to officers being less proactive on the streets. “At the end of the day, I don’t see anything good coming of this.”