Police Shootings Testing New Seattle Policy On Officer Use Of Force


The Seattle Police Department's new use-of-force policy, in effect for less than a month, is being tested after two police shootings — one of them fatal — since Sunday, the Seattle Times reports. The policy, negotiated between the Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice, was crafted in response to the findings of a 2011 federal investigation that concluded Seattle police resort to force too quickly and routinely use too much when they do. The U.S. also found disturbing but inconclusive evidence of biased policing.

The policy calls for a representative from the department's Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), its civilian-led internal-investigations unit, to be dispatched to the scene of every police shooting. After each of the two recent shootings, OPA Director Pierce Murphy was notified within minutes, and he responded to the scenes. Early Sunday, police shot and wounded a man after an altercation. On Monday night, police shot a man after he waved a gun at a bus stop. Police reported that the man, 36, waved the gun at a bystander and at responding officers. An officer armed with a rifle shot the man, who died in a hospital. OPA is investigating both incidents.

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