Virtual Meeting Highlights
There were 35+ participants in the meeting, including commissioners and staff. It seemed to the League Observer that only commissioners and staff spoke and there was no formal time for public comment. One attendee, Howard Gale who is a Seattle police accountability activist entered stinging chat messages critical of the CPC.
This week there were 2 guests: Councilmember Andrew Lewis and Andrew Myberg from the Office of Police Accountability. Everyone was respectful, allowed to speak and express diverse opinions, etc. It was a very substantive and lively meeting.
Governance Committee: None
Demonstration/Defund Work Group
With five minutes left in the meeting the demonstration management committee began discussion of what was to be a lengthy discussion about the need to bring community voices to the table, but they need to make specific recommendations. The Commission wants to strengthen relations with the community and mend relationships where they need to be mended. They may have an extended meeting on Friday. They are under a tight timeline.
Legislative Agenda and Police Accountability Work Group
The Legislative Committee identified and reported on the top 4 CPC legislative priorities for the 2021 session:
Discussion with CM Andrew Lewis about Policing Alternatives
Seattle City Councilmember Andrew Lewis joined the meeting to discuss the proposed Public Health-Informed 911 Response Service. He shared that the City is working on restructuring the 911 response system knowing it’s a matter of interest for the commission and community. He discussed several established models:
CM Lewis noted that the CAHOOTS program was a police abolitionist program. In closing Lewis said we need to have a plan for building infrastructure, and we need a cultural shift. People will have to learn to stop calling police when it’s not appropriate. He mentioned the Third Door Coalition which is focused on scaling up mental health services in the region and legislation he is promoting that would change building requirements an save up to $70,000 per unit of housing.
Discussion with Andrew Myberg about Shootings
The Commission also heard from Andrew Myberg from the Office of Police Accountability. He was there to talk about the status of investigations of two officer-involved shootings of victims Shaun Fuhr and Terry Caver. They reviewed what’s happening with the 18,000 complaints made between May and September, 2020 regarding SPD’s action/behavior toward protesters.
OPA is investigating the Caver shooting, going through the process. Myberg said it appears the three officers failed to deescalate before use of deadly force. Taser was used but was ineffective. Mr. Caver apparently had a knife. This led to an impassioned plea by one of the Commission members to Andrew all that he can to address the killing of people who have knives. Officer Mullins chimed in and said that knives can be deadly weapons and that police deescalate situations involving knives all the time, but the public doesn’t hear about those instances. As an aside, Officer Mullins later said that he wanted to be clear that he considers the police shootings of people with knives as very serious.
In the Fuhr case, the League Observer believed the Commission was waiting for a complaint to be made. They don’t investigate and unless a complaint is made about officer behavior. One commissioner thought that there should be a policy change and that all officer-involved shootings should be investigated. Myberg reminded the CPC that they have access to all closed cases and that every 30 days OPA will provide those cases for review to the CPC. One of the Co-chairs said that the CPC will establish a policy of reviewing and auditing cases, noting that accountability expectations pertain to the CPC commission as well as their partners.
Regarding the 18,000 complaints made against SPD, Myberg said that 14,000 of them were related to the pepper spraying of a child. They further narrowed the other 4,000 to 100 unique conduct allegations. They’ve been looking at 100 cases and on Friday, September 18, they will release six reviews to the public.
Read the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, The Voter, for a detailed look at current events in the League.
SUPPORT THE LEAGUE
Support informed voting!