Seattle Chief Orders Probe Of Officers’ “De-Escalation” Comments


Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole has asked her internal-investigations unit to review comments made by two officers in a New York Times video and story on de-escalation training, the Seattle Times reports. On the video, a Seattle police trainer expresses sympathy when he is aggressively challenged by skeptical officers. “I agree. I agree. Don't shoot the messenger. This is what the DOJ is saying, not me,” the trainer says, referring to new mandatory training to curb excessive use of force required in a 2012 consent decree between the city and U.S. Department of Justice.

In another part of the video, an officer undergoing the training describes a personal experience. “I pulled my gun out and stuck it right in his nose and I go, 'show me your hands now.' He showed me his hands. I just de-escalated him from doing something.” Another trainer then pointed out that department policy doesn't equate de-escalation with use of force. The video appeared online, linked to a Sunday story in the New York Times on the growing national trend of de-escalation training in law enforcement and the difficulty of teaching it to officers. The investigations unit will determine if a full investigation should be conducted to determine if discipline is warranted.

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