Virtual Meeting Highlights:
(Note: League Observer missed the first 15 minutes of the meeting, and then had trouble accessing the meeting by using Redmond.gov/rctvlive, one of the ways to view the Council suggested in their agenda. Observer ended up accessing the meeting through the Council's Facebook page.)
The meeting started out smoothly, but after 10-15 minutes two staffers reporting to the Council had connection difficulties. After that, there was a power-point presentation, and at the end of that presentation we never went back to a typical Zoom format. All you could see was the empty City Council room in Redmond.
1. “Transportation Improvement Program” ("TIP"). At the close of the staff presentation there was time for public comment, and two people commented on ways to make roads and transportation ‘greener’ by the City.
2. Upcoming 2021-22 City budget process, with an emphasis on gathering input on top priorities.
3. Staff report on Indexing of Impact Fees, and proposed 2021 Fees. Impact fees are one-time charges on commercial and residential developments. The fees help the City pay for improvements known as “capacity” improvements – this refers to adding something to City costs which occurs because of an increase in Redmond’s population. Impact fees contribute to the budgets of Fire, Parks/Recreation, and Transportation, for example. Redmond also collects impact fees on behalf of the Lake Wash School District.
Members Present: Chair Girmay Zahilay, Vice Chair Kathy Lambert; Committee members Rod Dembowski, Reagan Dunn, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Dave Upthegrove and Committee Staff Nick Bowman and Marka Steadman.
Others Present: The parents and aunt of Tommy Le.
Virtual Meeting Highlights: The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the Systemic Review of the Officer Shooting of Tommy Le on 6-14-2017. The League Observer attended the whole meeting attended from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM.
Presentation of Systemic Review by Michael Gennaco
The Council heard the results of an outside review by Michael Gennaco, President of OIR Group, who previously worked as a Department of justice civil rights lawyer and lead attorney for L. A. County’s Office of Independent Review. Gennaco had also made similar recommendations in February of this year about the 2017 shooting of death of 17 year old Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens.
Mr. Gennaco stated that an Internal Review is to stop shootings from occurring. New law mandates Internal Reviews. The Sheriff’s Office still does it’s own review also.
Mr. Gennaco stated the following problems with the original shooting:
Q: Should departments review themselves?
Gennaco: Waiting 5 weeks to do interviews left out so many questions. Hard questions were left out as to the state of mind of the officers. Tommy Le was moving away from the officers and was shot in the back. Reviews are not open to the public. The George Floyd case changed all that. The public wants to know. Gennaco gave the King County Sheriff’s Office a C or B for its Reviewing Structures, but not a passing grade in application.
Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht: Stated she had had only a few days to respond to the Independent Review by Gannaco. She stated the King County Sheriff Office had structures in place and had made improvement since she took office in 2018. The public got less under the previous Sheriff. The Office is taking Gannaco’s suggestions for more complete discussion of officer-related shootings and had them at the time but they only showed in footnotes. They had modernized their tazers and given officers first aid kits for shootings.
Follow-up: It was pointed out that the Review Process happened under the current Sheriff. The Police Guild is trying to stop Systemic Reviews with which the current Sheriff disagrees.
The remainder of the meeting was taken up with Proposals that all passed unanimously as follows:
1. Proposed Ordinance #2020-0227- Adopting the updated 2020-25 King County Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
2. Proposed Motion #2020-0036 - Acknowledged receipt of proposed detention policy for youth report concerning solitary confinement concerns of damage to juveniles and youths tried as adults.
3. Proposed Motion #2020-0108 - Acknowledged receipt of first of two individual monitor reports as relates to the damage of solitary confinement to juveniles in county detention and continuance of individual monitoring.
Members Present: Girmay Zahilay (Chair), Kathy Lambert (Vice Chair), CM Rod Dembowski, CM Jeanne Kohl-Welles, and CM Dave Upthegrove. Also present were several speakers, named below.
Virtual Meeting Highlights:
There was trouble with people's ability to talk at the beginning with the mute/unmute function. The Committee was able to figure out the issue and help each other, providing the link for written comment online as well as to find the ability to talk for some.
Only two people gave public comments. Both expressed their want for substantial oversight for police actions under OLEO. Also both expressed support for Ms. Jacobs as the Director of OLEO, citing her abilities and resume, while also citing that she is a King County native and is directly invested in communities because of this. However, these comments were slightly off topic and weren’t based on the committee’s agenda which caused the second person to be stopped.
Briefing on Independent Investigations by OLEO
Deborah Jacobs (Director of OLEO):
Guidance for independent investigations
Mike Mansanarez (King County Police Officers Guild): Willing to “find best solutions for the sheriff's office and for King County.”
Jose Marenco (Puget Sound Police Managers Association): Wants transparent, quality, professional policing->”all want to improve ourselves”, our department (want collaboration to deal with issues).
Sonia Joseph (community activist): Son was killed by a police officer in Kent. Communities want independent investigations, particular for allegations for use of force/deadly force. Outside entity to monitor/oversee.
King County Auditor’s Report on Sexual Offense Cases handled by KCSO and PAO
Ben Santos (Prosecuting Attorney, King County)
Recommendations by counsel previously included making more advocacy available, improved clarity in information available, being timely.
David Baker (Prosecuting Attorney, King County): Reliance on other agencies for demographic data is problematic. Need new/modernized way to collect this data (exploring possibilities).
Mary Ellen Stone (Director KC Sexual Assault Resource Center): Long overdue. Shouldn’t take an audit to have information out in the public. Express the ability of CASARC and the want for further improvement of the system. Extra staffing needed for advocacy and also legal proceedings (attorneys, judges, etc.)
Jose Marenco (Captain, King County Sheriff’s Office): Focus on training, which is moving virtual now. Want to really focus on cutting down numbers of cases, providing counseling and resources, but also looking to get justice if possible. Working on a forum for materials. Need more training for deputies to know how to get information out, provide clarity/better materials. Need to work with CASARC to streamline process.
Proposed Motion: Acknowledging Receipt of KC Search and Rescue Plan(KCSR)
Nick Bowman (Council Staff):
Plan to provide bulk rate gasoline and vehicle license plates to KCSR volunteers based on budgetary appropriation. Giving background on the topics at hand. Looking at cost and the benefit for these provisions
Jen (LNU): Wants to figure out a path that works for everyone. Need something very flexible and specific: A small fleet without tags, not the entire program for the vehicle licensing.
Aye: Dembowski, Dunn, Kohl-Welles, Lambert, Upthegrove, Zahilay.
Proposed Ordinance for Enhancing Privacy Online
Clifton Curry, County Policy Analyst
Provided background on the proposed ordinance, emphasizing consent before accessing video teleconferences of recovery, mental health and behavior health support groups. Legislation creates criminal and civil penalties for disrupting meetings. Similar penalties for hacking into data systems, but different emphasis here on consent.
Two mechanisms to enforce: 1. Criminal penalty, gross misdemeanor. 2. Provision that would allow a person injured by the disruption to file a civil cause of action for damages.
CMs Kohl-Welles, Lambert, and Demowski: Trying to find the answers to the legal elements of the ordinance and to clarify the clause of disruption of an “online meeting.” Questions to be further answered and discussed during the next meeting when the ordinance is decided upon.
CM Dunn (sponsor): Doesn’t want to take action on it today, but instead hold it to be discussed fully by the council with all members involved present. Concerned by people possibly infiltrating the reasonable expectation of privacy for many. Provide safety for people willing to share their personal information with professionals, provide confidentiality with ordinance to disallow people from recording or otherwise taking this private information.
Summary of Councilmembers' Comments (across all topics)
CM Zahilay: Quick, but precise through opening procedures and public comment procedures (clear and explicit with instructions/requirements). Very respectful and open to perspectives/feedback. Many thanks for advocacy and words by the speakers.
CM Lambert: Wondering about the lack of attorneys and advocates for sexual assault cases. Respectful with inquiry and taking in perspectives of speakers. Supports direct appropriation for KCSR in explicit response.
CM Dembowski: Comment on brief about sexual assault cases. Discussion on providing info quickly after a case is registered and allowing for resources/materials to be easily obtainable. Thanked speakers for discussing and being there. Very respectful. Discussion with the Police Guild about OLEO oversight.
CM Reagan Dunn: Discussion of the proposed ordinance focused on privacy in online meetings. Note the personal topic (meetings for people who are recovering->confidentiality is crucial, and information is meant to be private). Expressed gratitude for the other members of the committee for having questions and speaking on the ordinance.
CM Kohl-Welles: Commented on brief about sexual assault cases. Passionate about change to help victims and create a better process. Respectful with her inquiry.
CM Upthegrove: Expressed gratitude for meeting and for the comments by Ms. Joseph, giving passion and emotion to the brief. Interest in the stand-alone option, providing an entity for service to many orgs. Agency to develop trust of communities.
Members Present: Chair, Girmay Zahilay, Vice Chair, Kathy Lambert, Rod Dembowski, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, and Dave Upthegrove.
Members Absent: Regan Dunn.
Public input was robust. Over 30 people spoke in the roughly first 45 minutes of the meeting. There was a significant emphasis and motivation for the Youth Right to Council Ordinance (see summary of that agenda item, below) that the Committee would be deciding on that day. Many people came to support the ordinance, with many lawyers, civil rights activists, and youth activists. Even with all the time of public comment, not everyone was able to speak because of the allotment of time. The Committee needed to move on to be able to fit their agenda in.
One woman had a comment about some of the Committee members being distracted at the beginning, wanting them to completely focus on the importance of the meeting.
Members seemed prepared, knowing the material and asking questions to further the understanding of the policy at hand. The members were respectful of those who spoke, allowing each person to have their time and thanking them for their contribution. CM Dembowski was engaged and supportive of the Ordinance as a lawyer and a dad.
After public comment, the committee discussed motion 2020-0291, which is to increase the sheriff’s office patrols on boats, specifically river patrols, to help guarantee the safety of residents along bodies of water. The motion was not an increase to the Sheriff’s Office budget, but instead an allocation of money that was previously withheld in the budgetary spending. The motion passed with 100% support from the Committee.
Youth Right to Counsel Ordinance--Discussion and Vote
The Committee discussed Ordinance 2020-0253 the Youth Right to Counsel providing youth Miranda Rights, which says that there must be consultation before questioning a youth. There is one exception: If the police identifies an imminent threat and need to question the person because of this threat. The second part of the Ordinance was to provide counsel for youth before any search or seizure by an officer, also mandating the keeping of records by police of searches and seizures which will be sent to a 3rd party at set intervals of time to provide a check and balance.
The Ordinance had many speakers. Ultimately, the Committee approved the Ordinance. CMs Dembowski, Upthegrove, Kohl-Welles, and Zahilay voted “aye,” while Lambert voted no on the grounds of wanting more detail in the Ordinance on the imminent threat clause of the first part of the Ordinance.
Reporting Sex Offenses
Finally, the Committee discussed briefing 2020-B0065, about sexual offence cases and the reporting process. The main points revolved around the inequities in the situations and the lack of appropriate response to cases. There are and were many reports of sexual misconduct that come through the system, and most cases are not referred because of lack of evidence, which leads to less detectives on cases and low reporting numbers. This then culminates in low conviction rates. A change in statute of limitations was proposed to help supply early connection to the people who file cases, finding advocacy for these people.