Officials and Guests in Attendance
In attendance: COC Commissioners- Co-Chairs La Rond Baker and Erin Goodman, other commissioner members - Reverends Walden and Williams, Suzette Dickerson, Prachi Dave, Joseph Saia, Esther Lucero, Colleen Echohawk, Douglas Wagner, Alina Santillan.
CPC Staff: Brandy Grant (Exec. Director) Nia Franco, Jesse Franz.
All participants were prepared, attentive and courteous.
Accessing the Meeting and Materials
The meeting started on time. I observed the entire meeting. A copy of the agenda was available on the CPC prior to the meeting. The meeting was easily accessible.
Summary of Discussion
The agenda was followed.
Public Comment: No one registered.
Co-Chair Updates: Co-chairs introduced 2 new commissioners, Victoria Beech, who is a Mayor’s appointee and Erica Newman, a CPC appointee. Each had a moment to speak. Their appointments will be confirmed at a SCC meeting on March 9th. Additionally, the selection of Brandy Grant as the executive director of the CPC will also be confirm.
Executive Director Update: Grant relayed that an onboarding process for new CPC commissioners is in the works. Grant noted that she had published an onboarding process previously with the City of Seattle and stressed the importance at providing people with information. Secondly, Grant mentioned the recommendation tracker and that they are in process to launch it, first sending to accountability partners and community partners. She mentioned that there will be a flow chart to show how CPC recommendations are or are not implemented. This will make clear the need for real authoritative power for the CPC.
Department of Justice (DOJ) update: Christina Fogg present, no update.
DOJ Monitor update: Ron Ward reported that the monitor team is meeting with the City and DOJ to finalize the plan to move forward with the third phase of the consent decree process. The monitor will update at the next meeting of the CPC. Reverend Walden mentioned that she had a question for the monitor had reached out and not heard back. The question had to do with police accountability and that SPD is out of compliance. Ryan Ward said that he would investigate it and bring it to the attention of the monitoring team and maybe they can also address it at the next meeting. Co-chairs and Reverend Walton were concerned that it does not get lost.
City Council update: Newell Aldrich reiterated that the confirmation hearing for CPC executive director and commissioners’ March 9. SPD will also report on their budget at the public safety and human services committee meeting on March 9.
Mayor's Office update: Austin Miller present, no report.
Office of Police Accountability (OPA) update: Andrew Myerberg provided updates; 1) investigation continues into the 6 SPD officers presence in DC on January 6th. All six officers will be interviewed in the next 30 days, and search of available video will continue, 2) OPA is also looking into an officer's refusal to wear a mask at a hospital. The results from that investigation will be available soon, 3) investigation into 2020 summer protests continue. They just completed the complaints from the investigation of the July 25th protest, and the next group of complaints to be investigated are those arising from the September/Labor Day protests, 4) investigation continues into 4 police shootings – findings will be released in March, April and more recent shootings will continue to be investigated.
Myerberg also reported that he is optimistic about legislative actions. The legislature is collaborating with Seattle Police Department. revisions in policies regarding use of force and crowd management continue. He is happy to discuss with CPC. The OPA annual report will be issued on 4-15-21. OPA is hiring an investigator supervisor, Myerberg asks that CPC please forward job announcement to good candidates.
Office of Inspector General (OIG) update: Lisa Judge reported that there is lots of ongoing work into systems aspects of SPD. They are looking into the complaint about mask wearing, they issued alert about a concern raised regarding SPD pursuits, also are working on developing an alert about SPD approaches people in mental health crises. Also looking at the existence of racism and extremism in law enforcement culture. Judge said their will be product related to the sentinel review sometime in mid-April. Lastly judge reported that the annual report for OIG will also be released in mid-April.
Update on Legislative Session:
Baker introduced new staff, Nia Franco who is the lead legislative advocate for the CPC. Baker also read Franco’s bio. Franco presented a table listing all the bills CPC is supporting, action CPC has taken and where the bills stand. The table is posted on the CPC website. She noted the next significant date for the legislature as March 9, which is the last day to pass bills in the house of origin. NIA request that commissioners be prepared to provide support for CPC supported bills including testifying in support. She noted that 2 commissioners had given testimony this legislative session. There will be postings on the website so everyone can keep track of legislation.
PowerPoint Update to the bylaws:
Goodman and staff Jesse Franz presented an overview of updated by-laws (2021) specific to the CPC communication strategy. The bylaws specify who has what authority to answer community questions and questions from the media. Goodman noted that one of the goals of the rewrite was to develop a roadmap to streamline responses to questions that require a quick response. Another focus was clarification regarding the policy about how commissioner may disagree publicly with a position taken by the CPC – in these instances, commissioners can respond to public inquires in an individual capacity, as a representative of an organization, but not the CPC. The goal of the rewrite was a clear communication strategy.
Officials and Guests in Attendance
10 of the 15 commissioners were present. The commissioners were prepared and attentive.
Accessing the Meeting and Materials
The meeting started on time and I observed the entire meeting. The agenda was available and the meeting was easily accessible.
Summary of Discussion
The agenda was followed. The meeting started at 9:00 am with a land acknowledgement, followed by attendance. The purpose of the meeting was to review and vote on recommendations for how police contracts should be negotiated in Seattle. Three areas of focus are: 1. address reforms; 2. promote accountability; and 3. enable the City to move forward with alternatives. Nine recommendations were reviewed and voted on as follows (1 - 8 approved, 9 not approved):
1. Fully implement the reforms in the Accountability Law. These reforms would, among other things: create strong policies in areas often abused by police, such as secondary employment; empower civilian investigations into police misconduct by allowing for such things as civilianization of misconduct investigations and the OPA and OIG to exercise their subpoena powers; close many of the loopholes police officers use to avoid discipline, such as the 180-day time limit on investigations and heightened burden of proof currently in place for some types of misconduct; and fix Seattle's broken disciplinary appeals system by addressing the many flaws posed by the City's current arbitration system, such as lack of transparency and backlogs created by the lack of clear timelines. Unanimously approved.
2. The Labor Relations Policy Committee must make public the City's bargaining priorities. 9 in favor and 1 abstained.
3. The City should publicly identify who is at the negotiating table for the CBAs, who those parties represent, and their role in the negotiating process. Unanimously approved.
4. The City should announce and release regular updates on the process of the CBA negotiations. Unanimously approved.
5. The City must commit to releasing all information that can be made public on the negotiation process at the conclusion of the process, but prior to City Council approval. Unanimously approved.
6. The City should publicly state, explain, and justify to the community what it gave up in the negotiation process. 8 in favor, 2 abstained.
7. Remove clauses from the contracts that allow CBAs to take precedence over local law. 7 in favor, 1 opposed, and 2 abstained.
8. Remove limits on civilianization of the Office Police Accountability and ensure that civilian investigators have the same investigatory powers as their sworn counterparts. 9 in favor and 1 opposed.
9. When the Department needs to layoff offices, it should be allowed to conduct the process in a safe and effective manner, such as out of order layoffs. 4 in favor, 4 opposed, and 2 obstained. This recommendation did not pass.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:30am.
Officials and Guests in Attendance:
In attendance were the commission co-chairs LaRond Baker and Erin Goodman, and Reverend Harriett Walden, Prachi Dave, Suzette Dickerson, Douglas Wagner, Mark Mullins. Staff Brandy Grant,, and Luiza Montesanti. Guest speakers Chief Diaz, DOJ Monitor Antonio Oftelie and Deputy Monitor Monisha Harrell. Other might have been present, but since I was late, I missed the roll call. Of note, the zoom set up of the meetings has changed and it is impossible to see how many people are there or who is there unless they speak, since it appears that the zoom is set on "speaker's view".
The government officials were prepared, attentive, and courteous.
Accessing the Meeting and Materials:
The meeting started on time. I missed the first 7 minutes, therefore I missed the roll call. The zoom format has changed and it's impossible to see who is at the meeting. The zoom view remains on speaker.
The agenda was posted on the CPC website prior to the meeting. The meeting was easily accessible. The zoom format was better before.
Summary of Discussion
The meeting followed the agenda.
10 people signed up to comment. After 3 or 4 people spoke for 2 minutes, comments were restricted to 1 minute given time allotted in agenda. Common themes included: need for independent oversight of the police, need for new and effective oversight by a full civilian board with subpoena and disciplinary power. Noted that CPC had no accountability power in the consent decree, several references to the town hall held by the CPC to get public/community input. Almost everyone who commented noted that only 3 commissioners were present. One person pointed out that this was the first time the CPC had held a town hall in 6 years.
Other people had submitted written comments that would be made available to the CPC members. Santillian asked if those could be read. Goodman said that the new by-laws state that people must be present to provide public comment and to change that, the procedure for changing by-laws would have to be reopened.
Office of the Inspector General (OIG) update: Anthony Finnell representing the OIG. He stated that they are meeting regularly with the OPA and FIT (?) working on the sentinel event review of SPD’s actions during the protests.
Office of Police Accountability (OPA) update: No report.
City Council update: Newell Aldrich, Legislative staff for Councilmember Herbold, mentioned that on 2/9, Councilmember Herbold and council staff sent a draft bill on use of force to US District Court Judge James Robart for his OK before the council takes a vote to make it a law. Also, on 3/9 Council will consider recent proposed appointments to the CPC.
Mayor’s Office update: Austin Miller present. He mentioned the Mayor’s office was starting to delve into collective bargaining agreement with SPOG.
DOJ Update: Brittany Cirineo was present (monitor reports later in presentation).
Discussion with Chief Diaz:
CPC is interested in learning more about what SPD is doing to root out extremism and support officers of color. Chief Diaz addressed those areas. He noted that OPA has accelerated their investigations into the officers’ actions who were in DC during the riot at the Capitol. He said that SPD has been open and transparent about the investigation into officers they have come forward. He noted that if any of the officers entered the Capitol they will be terminated – but he cannot terminate people for being in DC. Chief Diaz also said that racism, sexism, and hate have no place in SPD, and they intend to hold themselves accountable. He said that he has made 5 terminations due to racist comments. He has also ordered a comprehensive review to detect racism in recruitment, hiring, and ongoing throughout SPD employees’ careers. HR is implementing a validated bias assessment which tracks racism in and will be part of annual assessment. So, interview panels must be diverse and have implicit by his training. He is also looking at ways to inoculate officers from the harm that comes from persistent exposure to traumatic events. He wants to take a comprehensive approach to investing in people's wellness.
Douglas Wagner pointed out that even attending the rally is concerning since it was a rally with the intention to overturn the election. He asked Chief Diaz what he thought of that and whether officers could be disciplined for being involved in a political environment? Chief Diaz said he thought it was a horrible idea for them to go to DC, but he must discipline according to people's actions.
Baker asked if SPD felt confident that there were not more than six officers in DC? Diaz said he would love to feel 100% confident. He said he is in communication with the local FBI and if they ID anyone who has not self-reported, they will be terminated, even if they say they were just there at the rally. Diaz is still investigating. OPA is perusing social media and if they find associations with hate groups and militia, SPD officers and employees would be terminated. Diaz noted that he had recently terminated someone for whom HR had only recommend suspension for eight days based on racist comments.
Alina Santillan asked about protection for officers of color and gave an example of officers wearing MAGA hats. Diaz said that he sees MAGA hats as representing hate, and hate has no place in SPD. One officer came forward to report what someone had said and because that officer came forward someone was terminated. He wants to instill a culture free of hate.
Diaz addressed the issue of recent shootings and said they already have the video and are studying it. in closing Goodman stated that she hoped that the CPC will continue to have discussion with Chief Diaz around these topics.
Co-Chair/Executive Director Updates:
Brandie Grant (Executive Director of the CPC) thanked participants of public comment. Re-introduced the recommendation tracker which is getting closer to implementation. Tracker will be on the CPC website. She noted that she wanted feedback from the public and from accountability partners and that there would soon be a formal process for that. She introduced Louiza Montesanti for a presentation.
Montesanti showed the tracker, noting that the data is updated continuously, that there will be graphs, access to CPC documents including reports, letters, and lots of ways to sort and search. The tracker serves a legislative purpose inherent in the consent decree.
Baker (co-chair) noted that the CPC will have a special meeting on 2/17 which will include a synthetization of community input and a vote on CPC recommendations.
Baker also introduced two new CPC commissioner candidates, Erica Newman and Austin Fields that were selected by the CPC recruitment committee. The new recruits will to the SCC for confirmation on March 9, 2021 and expect to be in place by the end of March. Baker also noted that they now have a pool of qualified candidates to choose from when they have vacancies.
DOJ Monitor update: (Note: the conversation was complex, and it was difficult to get all the information - I gave it my best effort – recordings of these meetings are not available)
Antonio Oftelie reported that he and his colleagues had spent the last three months talking with the community and for organizations concerned with accountability to determine and develop a plan relative to the consent decree. He noted major areas of focus and said that each of these areas would be looked at from a bias standpoint after systematically gathering and analyzing data.
Accountability – what happens if an officer does something wrong? Look at front-end prevention and back-end accountability. Shore up resources for OIG and OPA. Also, legislation at the state level will force changes, and he wants to work with the CPC to get even deeper into the community. Look at innovation and respond faster to the needs of the community. Equity - SPD policing must be constitutional. Re-imagining policing - primary work and any major changes must be aligned with the consent decree. Goal is that by the end of 2021 the DOJ monitor group will provide an evidence-based plan on where SPD needs to go next. They will make that decision at the end of the year.
Monisha Harrell, Deputy Monitor, also reported. She noted that lots of things needed to be shored up and policy is one of them. She said their goal is to set up a system that does not need a consent decree. That would mean there must be strong communication and input and a process for continuous learning.
The monitoring team wants to ensure that the CPC is a strong leg of the accountability stool there should be technical assistance and communication with the community and insurance that other partners take the CPC's role seriously.
Reverend Walden asked if there was a plan/ methodology to fix the system. Harrell said yes in phase two of the plan. They will look at compliance, use of force and supervision and accountability. The monitor can provide technical assistance in guidance and can make recommendations and the judge can make rulings that SPD is out of compliance.
Prachi Dave asked Harrell what technical assistance monitor could give the CPC. Harrell said that they need to look at what they can do to ensure all partners have open communication with each other. It is important to open lines of communication among all the organizations and eliminate silos. Harrell would like to see the CPC participate in more development of policy rather than reacting to issues as they arise. She noted that the monitors are available to help the CPC and that this is the beginning of an ongoing dialogue.
Lastly, Officer Mark Mullins, brought up a concern he had regarding the Wellness unit. He thought that maybe Black officers do not feel comfortable being open to the Wellness team. Harrell said she will dig into that and report back.
Officials and Guests in Attendance
The Commissioners were all in attendance: Rev. Aaron Williams, LaRond Baker, Douglas Wagoner, Prachi Dave, Colleen Echohawk, Erin Goodman, Rev. Harriet Walden, Joseph Saia, Suzette Dickerson, Mark Mullins, Esther Lucero, Alina Santillan.
The officials who attended were the recruiters: Pam Inch and Greg Nelson and the candidates for Executive Director of the CPC: Brandy Grant, Edward Harness and Eddie Aubrey.
The government officials were prepared, attentive and courteous,
Accessing the Meeting and Materials
The meeting started on time and I attended the whole meeting. The agenda was presented in the Zoom information.
Summary of Discussion
The agenda was followed.
The purpose of the meeting was to select the new Executive Director of the CPC. Prior to the meeting, there was an interview of all the finalists conducted by the recruiter Greg Nelson on Zoom for the Community to hear all of the final candidates on Monday evening.
The meeting opened with public comment. Only one person took the two minutes allowed for each person to talk. It was Dr. Howard Gale, who criticized the Seattle Oversight organizations for the lack of action against officers who were involved in fatal incidents. He mentioned the number of police killings and the fact that no disciplinary action has been taken against any of the officers involved. He also stated that the CPC has been lax in reaching out to the members of the community who have been directly affected.
Discussion of Candidates
The meeting then moved to the recruiters discussing what the Commissioners should be evaluating in their assessment of the candidates. Pam Inch detailed the way that the finalists had been selected and asked the Commissioners to measure how the finalists would connect the CPC to the Community, would they be a collaborative leader, their abilities in verbal communication, their ability to participate in uncomfortable conversations, recognition of the impact of racism, and their estimated credibility in the Community.
She reported the public comments that were submitted through a survey after the Open Public Meeting on Monday: Brandy Grant got a lot of positive Community feedback; Harness and Aubrey were noted for having a great deal of experience in the field, but people were suspicious of the fact that both had earlier been police officers.
She then urged the Commissioners to recognize their own biases, to think about what filters they have of outside candidates. In Seattle we support Merit-Based Hiring. We have to apply the same standards to every candidate for the job. She alluded to gender bias, police background versus no police background, insider in Seattle versus outsider.
Greg Nelson then asked for Commissioners to volunteer to ask questions that had been prepared.
The candidates were interviewed separately in the following order: Brandy Grant,
Edward Harness, and Eddie Aubrey. Each outlined their experience and everyone had a great deal of experience in public advocacy. Brandy Grant emphasized her connection to the Seattle community, having worked here for the past seven years in areas involving the homeless population. She has spent twenty years in non-profit organizations, and has a MA degree. For the last six months, she has been the interim Executive Director of the CPC. She outlined her top priorities, emphasizing the necessity for more Community engagement, getting more of them at the table. She also discussed working to hold the police more accountable for their actions, and being proactive in trying to solve the problems with them. And she also talked about the necessity of dismantling racism. She said that people want to be safe, respected and heard. When asked about her experience with budgets, she said that had that in her resume.
Edward Harness was next. He discussed his past experience as a volunteer Police Commissioner in a small town and now his years as part of the Police Oversight Commision of Albuquerque. He is also a lawyer and started out as a police officer. His top priority would be to establish the CPC’s credibility in the Community. He noted that they had been constrained by a tight timeline for their public statement regarding recommendations for Use of Force by the Police by the City Council and thought that was inappropriate and should have been pushed back against. He also noted the disrespect by the police hierarchy when a member was scheduled to appear to answer questions and failed to appear at the follow-up meeting. The excuse given was that somehow it was unconstitutional to answer further questions at that time. He felt that was also unacceptable. He detailed an example of the need to look at incidents of use of force with an open mind because the problem interfering with justice could come from any quarter. His example was how an agreement to postpone a final judgment by a lawyer for the Police Accountability organization allowed an officer to retire before being disciplined. He discussed his interracial background as well. He appealed to the CPC to look beyond internal candidates.
The final candidate was Eddie Aubrey, a former police officer, a lawyer, and Executive Director of the Police Accountability Board of Fresno. He identifies as bi-racial as an African American with Korean heritage. His top priority was also to get more community engagement and involvement in the CPC. He emphasized the need for social media to create “stickiness’ in social media, so that people continue to come back to the site for more engagement in police/community issues. What needs to change in the police is implicit bias that officers may be unaware of. The police department needs to change this from the inside of their department and he’s had the experience in police leadership and bargaining agreements to help bring this about. He talked about his success in the first year of his leading his current organization and the fact that confidence in the police had soared. Leadership/legitimacy/ results. His vision and his working on all the areas of the problem were his strong points, as well as likability which leads to strong leadership. And he said you need to be likable to all the stakeholders. He has pertinent experience in California as well as Seattle, where he had been part of the City Attorney’s office and Tacoma Community College.
At 10:22, the public was excluded as the Commissioners went into executive session to discuss the qualifications of all the candidates.
At 11:05 they resumed in public to take a vote: All the Commissioners voted to appoint Brandy Grant to the Position of Executive Director, with two abstentions: Rev, Harriet Walden and Suzette Dickerson. The meeting adjourned at 11:10.
Officials and Guests in Attendance
Part of the commission, the public and three candidates for the Executive Director position. All were prepared and courteous.
Accessing the Meeting and Materials
The meeting was accessible and started on time. I attended the whole meeting. No agenda was provided, just an explanation of the purpose of the meeting.
Summary of Discussion
The purpose of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for the public to meet and ask questions to the three candidates for the Executive Director position of the CPC. The meeting opened with a quick introduction of the committee members present followed by a land acknowledgement. A search firm was engaged for the position and a nationwide search took place over a three month period. G. Nelson from the firm moderated the Q&A period. Each candidate was interviewed separately for about 30 minutes.
Each candidate introduced themselves. Then they answered two prepared questions and then answered questions from the public. Approximately four questions from the public were asked of each candidate. One candidate is from Arizona (E. Harness), one from Washington and California (E. Aubrey), and the other is from Oklahoma and Seattle (B. Grant) acting as interim Executive Director.
E. Aubrey was interviewed first. He presented himself as a high energy individual with years of experience as a police officer, prosecuting attorney, judge pro-temp and police auditor. He felt he had very good leadership and communication skills and that when all parties have respect for each other much can get done.
B. Grant is the acting Executive Director. She comes from a non-profit background and has much community mental health experience. She spoke in a very positive, matter of fact way and said we needed to pursue the uncomfortable conversations. They needed to happen. Transparency was key. It is necessary to be more present in the community.
E. Harris was interviewed last. He has a very calming, quiet presence and said this demeanor aids him in being a very effective leader. He said key to his success would be strong engagement with all community groups.
A link was shared where the public could add comments after the meeting about any and/or all the candidates. The link would remain up to the following day to provide ample time for thoughtful comments.
There will be a meeting of the CPC on Wednesday Feb 3 at 9:00 am where the Committee will interview the candidates further and the public can join in for further review and comment.
The meeting lasted approximately 2 hours from 5:30 - 7:30pm.
Members Present: Prachi Dave (Co-Chair), Emma Catague, Rev. Harriett Walden (Co-chair), Rev. Aaron Williams (Co-chair), La Rond Baker, Suzette Dickerson, Erin Goodman, Douglas Wagoner, Alina Santillan, Coleen Echohawk, Joseph Seia, Esther Lucero, Scott Bachler.
Other: Lisa Judge, Ron Ward
CPC Staff: Jesse Franz, Brandy Grant, Shayleen Morris
There was no public comment period.
Virtual Meeting Highlights
There were 47 participants in the meeting - including Commissioners and staff. Everyone was allowed to speak and express diverse opinions, etc. The Commissioners referred to revised by-laws sent out to commission members prior to the meeting and they were not shared on the screen during the meeting, making it harder to follow along as an observer.
Prachi Davis and La Rond Baker were up for re-appointment as commissioner. CPC voted to reappoint both. The group postponed approval of minutes until next meeting because the format is being revised. Co-chair elections due in January 2021.
DOJ/Monitor Update: A female speaker (Christina?) reported that the monitoring plan is to be finalized by the end of January. They are also looking at proposed use of force policies and are interested in the CPC's thoughts on that matter.
Rev. Waldon: Asked if CPC could be more involved with the DOJ monitor. Christina responded that they are in phase two and have moved to getting input from the CPC through the city, and it sounds like, they will continue to be more dependent on the city as the go between.
Ron Ward (Monitor's Office): They have no intention to stop engaging with the CPC at this juncture. He reiterated however that the second phase is going to be quite different, and the goal is to ensure that the city and other partners can function in a sustainable manner on their own.
City Council/Mayor Update: No update or representative present from City Council. Austin Miller present from Mayor's Office, but no update.
Update from Office of Police Accountability (OPA): None, and no representative present.
Update from Office of the Inspector General: No update. Lisa Judge present and referenced report on the sentinel review.
Report on sentinel review
Alina Santillan and Douglas Wagoner had been meeting with a planning group including OIG representatives. The planning group has been working on putting together another group whose focus will be conducting a sentinel review of the 2020 protests - looking at systemic issues and problematic outcomes. The group must start by narrowing their scope. They intend to look at the protests in phases according to dates. They are not looking to assign blame but are looking for solutions to problematic outcomes that occurred. The group will have representation from the CPC, academic experts and other community groups. The group will launch in 2021. Their intention is to involve people who can speak about healing and they want to hold space for everything. Lisa judge said they have been working on getting facilitators that can help with communication between the community and the government and will be bringing in a peace circle facilitator. They want to move forward, not punish people, but prevent bad events from happening again.
Erin Goodman reported that the governing committee had received the 2nd set of revised CPC by-laws. Erin noted that the point of revising the bylaws was to make sure that the structure of the CPC allows the commission to operate effectively. Erin highlighted a couple of significant changes in order to facilitate discussion. The changes include introduction of a Sergeant at Arms in addition to the co-chairs. The individual will ensure that the meetings function according to Roberts Rules of Order, will facilitate public comment, and will be responsible for any investigation into Commission members. The governing committee also established a process for public input during the CPC public meetings. People will sign up at the beginning of the meetings and be avoided a certain amount of time and will be allowed to speak to an item that is on the current agenda. This will be in addition to community engagement that occurring in community.
Next, the governance committee has been operating as an ad hoc committee, that will be changed, and it will be renamed the strategy committee. Another committee that will assume permanent status instead of ad hoc will be the community engagement committee.
Also, under Article 2, administration section of the bylaws, the committee clarified who is responsible for what. It addresses how staff are supervised.
Goodman summarized a resolution that the group needed to vote on. Resolution 20-01 states that any matter requiring a vote must be introduced at the meeting prior to the CPC meeting where a vote will occur. Two-thirds of the commissioners constitute a quorum. Currently that would be 10 people since there are 15 CPC members. Goodman read the resolution into the record and the Commission passed it.
Community Engagement Committee
Joseph Seia not in attendance, and no report was given.
Prachi Dave and Erin Goodman reported that the recruitment workgroup met on 12/14/20 for the first time. They decided that the first step toward expanding Commission members is a gap analysis from which they will develop metrics to assess compliance the accountability ordinance. Jesse Franz will send out a short survey for everyone to take while they are in the meeting to discern experience and diversity represented among the current commissioners. Idea is to understand all of the experience in representation they currently have and what they need to complete the requirements.
Still waiting for a legal analysis of the Consent Decree to inform recommendations.
Legislative and Accountability Committee
Colleen Echohawk reports that they are discussing the upcoming legislative session, and identifying ways to ensure that the entire commission is getting information and the opportunity to meet with legislators. There are some pretty exciting things that they are supporting in the area of police reform.
The Committee will be offering updates and short presentations:
• OIG - Report on the use of force database.
• ACLU will present on their legislative agenda including, state oversight and accountability
• Judge Levinson on will present on use of force.
In January they will have more to share and concrete opportunities for Commission members to get involved.
Crowd Control and Use of Force Policies
CPC set aside an hour on the agenda for an in-depth discussion with Assistant Chief Cordner on SPD’s proposed use of force policies. Brandy reported that on the prior evening, she had received an email saying that the assistant chief would not be attending the commission meeting. The email said that after receiving questions from the CPC, SPD decided that the CPC meeting was not the right venue to have a substantive discussion and had been expecting a conversation about the form of the policies.
Commissioners expressed surprise and frustration that SPD would not be at the meeting. Discussion ensued.
Several commissioners expressed their expectations that the CPC would have meaningful input into the use of force policies and a critical eye on the process. CPC needs to gather input from the community and in order to do so, needed answers to the questions the commission had posed to SPD.
Rev. Williams asked for input from other accountability partners at the meeting.
Lisa Judge from OIG reported that they have also been asked to provide feedback on the new policy to SPD by January 8. She noted that OIG’s role is unlike the CPC because the CPC has to get input from the community regarding the policies.
Prachi Dave, referencing the bullet points and questions that CPC staff had distilled and sent, emphasized that the proposed policies don’t line up with the CPC recommendations or any other body’s recommendations. She posed the question held by many - how is SPD going to get community feedback?
Esther Lucero expressed concern about the level of accountability on the part of SPD. They should be communicating in regard to these changes. She feels that CPC needs to be more assertive in regard to the new policies and community input and Reverend Williams agreed.
Next steps - Alina Santillan stated that he feels the CPC needs to figure out a way to get the information to the public. CPC has sent it to 2 journalists. Also they can recommend that SPD and CPC open portals on their websites to get feedback..
Rev. Williamssaid that he agreed with a statement by Lucero that the CPC needs to have a forum with SPD, and that if SPD is not willing to do that, the CPC needs to sponsor their own forum in January. CPC is expected to collaborate with the community and reflect their voices and the CPC needs to be more assertive in that respect.
Kevin from InSite who was observing the meeting said he has a copy and will publish it.
Prachi Dave summarized CPC’s position- a public forum needs to be held, CPC questions need to be answered and if not CPC will move forward with their own forum and communicate with the media.
Douglas Wagoner suggested that someone call the Asst. Chief and make sure there wasn't miscommunication. Make sure that the CPC did understand correctly. He noted that there is a lot of potential for misunderstanding because the email from the Asst. Chief was less than clear. Brandy Grant will call and the CPC will send a letter.
If commissioners had any additional questions they were to send to Brandy by 12/18.
Franz will reach out to the City Council to see if they want to assist in the forums.
The CPC will form a smaller group to plan the forum for the 33rd or 4th week of January: Santillan, Rev. Walden, Grant, Dave, and Rev. Williams will participate. Representative with SPGA to help get youth participants.
The group working on the tracker has made great progress and Shayleen Morris will be able to send a snapshot of the tracker by next meeting. They also plan to in get input from the community before they go live. Still looking at finishing and launching the tracker by the end of January, 2020. Morris reported ongoing conversation with Councilmember Herbold about the recommendation tracker. Currently no barriers.
Date and agenda for next meeting
January 6, 2021. Continuing discussion on SPD and use of force, and recommendations.
Members Present: Douglas Wagoner, Joseph Seia, Rev. Harriet Walden, Rev. Aaron Williams, Suzette Dickerson, La Rond Baker, Prachi Dave, Scott Bachler, Emma Catague, Colleen Echohawk, Erin Goodman, Esther Lucero, Alina Santinan, along with the acting Executive Director Brandy Grant.
Virtual Meeting Highlights
Everyone seemed very attentive and respectful of one another. After the land acknowledgement, the agenda was approved as were the minutes from the previous meeting on 10/28/20.
DOJ/Monitor/City Council/Mayor Updates
There were no updates from the DOJ or the Monitor.
The Council reported that the budget of the SPD is in the process of being discussed and CM Teresa Mosqueda will present a proposal for balancing the budget.
The Mayor’s Office reported that CM Lisa Herbold’s proposal will be considered regarding new accountability for the SPD.
Update from Office of Inspector General
Lisa Judge from OIG reported on collaboration with CPC; and they are discussing the timeline regarding the uses of force this past year and that outreach efforts are ongoing. The DNA extraction audit is finishing and they are examining secure firearms regulations.
Discussion of CPC Role in SPD Budget
Rev. Walden announced that there would be a press release today from the Mayor’s Office for the CPC to be part of the bargaining process for the budget of the SPD. The problem was that names had to be submitted very quickly to CM Herbold to consider because the announcement was immanent. So there was a meeting of the Co-Chairs of the CPC and they recommended a previous member and a current CPC member, Suzette Dickerson.
Suzette Dickerson will be part of the recess of bargaining with the SPD and she can serve as a liaison with the CPC. She will serve along with the Directors of the OIG and the OPA. This is a very big deal because it is something the CPC has been pushing for a long time.
However, there was a discussion about how the Co-Chairs had not discussed this with the Commission as a whole. Colleen Echohawk, Esther Lucero and Joseph Saia, along with Alina Santillan and Erin Goodman shared that they felt sidelined.
Rev. Walden and the Rev. Williams stated they had needed to act quickly.
Prachi Dave: Said that she heard the objections and that they should have informed the Commissioners.
All the Commissioners who objected made sure it was understood that they objected to how the action was undertaken and all of them supported Suzette Dickerson who, it was explained, had a background in the negotiation that would be a major advantage to her participation on the committee.
The agenda was amended and there was a vote taken on the consideration of Suzette Dickerson’s selection process. The motion was carried with everyone noting support for Suzette but some members abstaining because of how the selection took place (Joseph Saia, Coleen Echohawk and Esther Lucero).
Erin Goodman announced that next week there would be an update, she hoped, on the drafts for the new bylaws for the CPC; she also stated that the advertisement for the new Executive Director has been posted on various sites.
Defund Work Group
Esther Lucero: Prachi Dave to follow up with City Attorney's Office. CPC needs to understand Consent Decree for Decriminalize Seattle to understand it.
Legislative Agenda Work Group
Coming up with plan of action and researching. Meeting every other Wednesday, the 1st and 3rd of the month.
Presentation by CM Herbold on SPD Budget
Council Member Herbold gave a presentation on the proposed budget for the SPD. She said that she has
wanted CPC representation on the SPD and the SPOG bargaining process, and apologized if the request was rushed
and transparency with the entire Commission was compromised. In sum, her group was using the budget for the SPD that had been decided on in the summer to rebalance the budget of 2020, because of reduced City revenues, as a guideline for the budget for 2021. They had to consider the transfer of funds to other departments for the non-crime problems that the police were currently dealing with. Some key areas involved reducing the size of the department and postponing removing services until crisis intervention groups are set up.
So, now they are considering laying off 30 police officers and losing another 30 through natural attrition. There will be vacancy savings as well on 43 positions that SPD will not be able to fill in 2021.
They have set up the Black Brilliance Project and funded it. They have reduced the overtime budget and reduced the training and travel budgets as well as discretionary payments. All together there should be a significant savings.
There is also an effort to create a new Community Safety Department along with Parking Enforcement Officers, who are civilians managing traffic and non-injury accidents, car break-ins.
They would not be making any big moves with SPD, going more along with the summer trajectory. The idea is to build up a crisis response system before getting rid of SPD.
Esther Lucero: What kind of crisis response teams are you looking at?
CM Herbold: CAHOOTs, STAR, Intercept model (911 police or an alternative), LEAD programs. Regarding encampments, there is a need to study where the money s going right now. $10 million is going to the Human Services Dept. to develop an RFP with stakeholders.
Esther Lucero: Are we going to community to get them involved?
Erin Goodman: Excited about dealing with things in a new way. The violence in the South End is untenable. There has been a 50% increase in homicides.
CM Herbold: Need to make sure law enforcement can concentrate on crime. We asked the police to do too much. We need them to focus on serious crime. Homelessness, school, mental illness, substance abuse could be removed from police. Human Services Dept. could work on retaliation that often follows shooting.
Rev. Walden: Violence goes down when you make arrests.
Douglas Wagoner: Happy to have you look at reducing the force using CAHOOTS, having public health organizations address problems, making investments to avoid crises.
CM Herbold: Black Brilliance Project - researchers are going out to the community to talk to people about what keeps them housed, in school, etc.
Joseph Seia: Community engagement. Facilitated Zoom interviews with Commissioners.
Alina Santillan: Zoom is not the best way to engage young people. Talking to small organizations of BIPOC youth. Build power with the youth. Have to uplift their voices.
Agenda for Next Meeting
Erin Goodman: Bylaws introduction should be ready.
Virtual Meeting Highlights
There were 47 participants in the meeting - including commissioners and staff. There was no time for public comment. Everyone was respectful, allowed to speak and express diverse opinions, etc.
Guests included the new DOJ Monitor Antonio Oftelie, Deputy Monitor Monisha Harrell and Ron Ward, Associate Monitor who were present to provide overview and answer questions. Also, Acting Chief Diaz presented and answered questions.
DOJ/Monitor/City Council/Mayor Updates
DOJ: No update
Monitor: Representatives presented (see below)
Council: No update, no representative present.
Mayor: No update, no representative present.
Presentation by Monitor Representatives
The new DOJ Monitoring team has embarked on a listening tour with partners including OIG, OPA, SC Council, Mayor’s Office and CPC. Monitor is focusing on 3 general areas:
Further discussion ensued following comments made by Reverend Walden and others highlighting that the city is out of compliance and that the new monitor team should be emphasizing SPD officer accountability which is clearly lacking given the issues with crowd control and officer shootings.
Rev. Walden and others noted that policies minimizing accountability put in place with the SPOG 2017 contract have not been fixed and that the crowd management policies from 2015/16 have not been put in place. Other questions such as was the old policy not effective, was it even put in place, were officers adequately trained need to be answered.
Several people emphasized the need for the CPC to be more involved and play a greater role. This was acknowledged and confirmed by the monitor team.
Rev. Walden also brought up the policy on take-down for officers. She is interested in knowing what the system has done to train officers in de-escalation techniques. She noted that every time there is a shooting by an officer – accountability for officers is back to square one.
In response to these and other concerns, the monitor team clearly stated that the new monitor team has been brought in due to this non-compliance. Assessing and improving accountability is the new work. They will look at what has worked and what has not and will use recent incidents as a stress test of sorts of accountability policies already in place. This will permit them to look at all systems from a theoretical and practical perspective. It could be that the system is broken. The consensus appeared to be that the CPC has not been an integral enough part of the oversight.
Concerns were also raised about OIG’s ability to monitor investigations – the thought being that they were only monitoring closed cases. Lisa Judge from OIG clarified that their auditors are auditing OPA open cases.
The monitor team also noted that they have minimal control over the SPOG contract and cannot mandate that specific items be included.
Discussion with Acting SPD Police Chief Diaz.
Chief Diaz is committed to having a strong working relationship with the CPC. He mentioned that there are 2 representatives from SPD on the commission. He looks forward to co-designing community-based alternatives saying that “we can’t arrest our way out of these issues” and that “he prioritizes the sanctity of human life”. He stated that officers are committed to reinventing how they engage with people in the community. He noted it is a challenge for everyone, funding is a concern. He has been reducing expenses including overtime. He shares a common goal with the CPC regarding officer’s wellness and morale and he is open to conversations about how to better that.
Diaz was asked several questions. Questions and responses consolidated below:
1. How is the exodus of police officers from SPD affecting the Department and services?
Chief Diaz noted that his goal was to move 100 officers out of special assignments and onto patrol. That is underway but made more difficult by officers leaving. Morale is low partially because officers are being pulled to cover protests and riots in and there are times when there are not enough officers on the street. He feels that is getting better as he is identified a group that can serve wherever needed in the city. Also working on more time off for officers via 4 days on, 3 days off schedule. He believes many of the departing officers transferring to another law enforcement agency began the process in June/July and since it takes a few months for the transfer to happen, we are seeing more officers leave at once then will in the future.
2. What is happening to address incidence such as the officer rolling bike over person’s neck? How is SPD changing culture?
SPD responded to the incident involving the bicycle within an hour. OPA and OIG are involved. These types of incidences are taken very seriously.
In terms of changing culture – a volunteer community response group is now up and running. OPA is doing more training, for instance 100 officers were brought together on Wednesday for training. Duty to intervene is being emphasized in training. He does not hesitate to terminate people. He has a box on his desk where terminated officers must place their badges and guns. It was noted later in the discussion by Officer Mullins that the practice drives home the seriousness of these incidents to the rank and file as word spreads.
3. What is happening regarding the CPC’s recommendations regarding crowd control? Why are orders to disperse being issued? How are you protecting First Amendment rights given that you are making arrests and the nature of the weapons being employed? How do officers protect themselves?
SPD is collecting data and looking at policies and making immediate and long-term recommendations regarding crowd control and use of weapons. They are training officers on protection of free speech. No tactical weapons have been used, no blast balls since the summer, they are using some level of OC spray when necessary. They are arresting people for property damage; they also must protect other citizens. SPD and officers must figure out ways to separate out those that are intent on violence. Can the community weed people out? SPD is contacting other agencies for ideas.
4. What is your vision for the future in for the role of the CPC? (This question began with an acknowledgement that Chief Diaz is a good human.)
Chief Diaz feels that relationships between officers and the community are very important and moving officers back into the community is a tactic he is employing to create those relationships, He wants officers to be engaged and be a part of the community they serve. It will take around 6 months to establish that, he has an advisory council of assistant Chiefs overseeing the plan. He mentioned that they have been doing roll calls in the community – this was an idea initiated by officers. One major issue facing the communities and the police is youth violence – it is not just a police issue.
5. What does accountability look like to you and who holds you accountable?
Diaz responded that everyone holds him accountable. He said he has had difficult discussions; he has had to terminate people and discipline people as well as reward. He must do the right thing, he will be active and engaged in the community, he said the community drives the expectations of his position.
Governance Committee: The revised CPC by laws are with the City Attorney’s Office Committee for review. They are still working on a Request for Proposals for a Strategic Plan for CPC. The search process for the CPC execute director was rolled out.
Community Outreach Committee: At the last meeting there were 4 commissioners and 19 community members. They are looking a different means to reach out.
Defund Workgroup: On hold, Commissioner not at CPC meeting. Commissioner will reach out to group.
Legislative and Accountability Committee: Committee members meeting with the City Attorney’s Office to see if the CPC can pursue their own legislative agenda, separate from the City.
Brief discussion about vacancies on CPC. Staff said they are reaching out via social media, making a video and linking to the application process on the CPC website.
Members Present: Douglas Wagoner, Joseph Seia, Reverend Harriet Walden (who had to leave after a couple of minutes), Reverend Aaron Williams, Suzette Dickerson, La Rond Baker, Prachi Dave, Erin Goodman, Mark Mullens and Alina Santillan.
Virtual Meeting Highlights
The Commissioners were always courteous with one another. 10). After the Land Acknowledgement, attendance was taken and there was a quorum. The agenda for the meeting was approved as were the minutes for the October 7th meeting.
There was no public input but there was an action item indicating some upcoming meetings with invited members of the public.
Commissioners had been asked to reach out to the community for comments on the current situation in Seattle. Youth groups have been invited to talk to the CPC, and Alina Santillan was trying to determine a time that students would be able to meet with the Commission without interfering with their school day. The same was true of business owners in the affected communities. Erin Goodman was also trying to determine times that would work for them. If there were questions about the budget that lingered after last week’s presentation by the analyst of the SPD budget from the Mayor’s Office, Commissioners were urged to pass them forward to Brandy Grant who would pass them on to the Mayor’s Office.
DOJ/Monitor/City Council/Mayor Updates
There were no updates from the DOJ or the Monitor’s Office.
Newell Aldrich from the City Council said that budget meetings would be held from October 15-21st. They would be identifying issues for discussion and the SPD discussion would be held on 2:00 p.m. on October 20th.
There were no updates from the Mayor’s Office.
There are outstanding Commission seats that need to be filled. They want to consider further applications, and they mentioned that it would be helpful if some Commissioners met with staff to discuss what motivated them to join the CPC and what kind of satisfaction they derived from their service. Reverend Walden, Reverend Williams and Erin Goodman volunteered to meet with staff.
There was discussion of a revision of the bylaws and strategic plan. The search for an Executive Director was also progressing, and it was reported that they were close to having a candidate whose profile they could share.
Defund Working Group
CPC staff member Shayleen Morris and Prachi Dave gave a presentation about considerations in supporting Decriminalize Seattle. They reviewed the CPC discussions over the past few weeks to see if there was a basis for approving the recommendations of Decriminalize Seattle. Issues they considered included
Douglas Wagoner: Don't CPC and OIG already provide oversight of OPA?
The group discussed that it was a good question, and that they should rely on structures already in place. OIG is mandated to provide oversight of OPA. A vote will take place next week on whether to support Decriminalize Seattle.
Another question was asked regarding where SPD should be deployed, and whether issues with SPD were a result of staffing or mismanagement.
Erin Goodman: Suggested getting a report from Police Chief to learn how officers are moved around.
Mark Mullins: Explained that South Precinct officers had been deployed to the North for demonstration prevention, then they returned to the South once there was a shooting or other issue.
Alina Santillan: Police do not prevent crime. What do we mean by public safety practices? It depends where our fear lies. Will more officers prevent crime?
Mark Mullins responded: Some kinds of officers do not, but if they get to know the neighborhood and the people there, then they do prevent crime.
Alina Santillan: What do we mean by safety or public safety? Can we have a deep conversation on that?
Prachi Dave: Asked about a timeline and whether they needed to discuss that prior to making decisions.
La Rond Baker: CPC staff have been helping coordinate with other coalitions and community organizations. There is a CPC meeting with the City Attorney regarding the CPC's authority as well as a strategy discussion meeting on Friday.
Agenda for Next Week:
Prachi Dave: Commissioners who are reaching out, can we meet with community members?
Alina Santillan: Meet after school or after 5:30 for the youth.
Business owners should also be involved in the process, and could fit them into the regular meeting.
Members Present: Douglas Wagoner, Rev. Harriet Walden, Rev. Aaron Williams, Suzette Dickerson, La Rond Baker, Prachi Dave, Scott Bachler, Colleen Echohawk, Erin Goodman, Esther Lucero, Mark Mullens, Alina Santillan, Emma Catague
Virtual Meeting Highlights:
There was no public input, although a call was put out again for Commissioners to contact at least one member of the public to get their opinions on the budget.
SPD Budget Update
The City Council Office reported that on October 15-21st there would be budget meetings when the Council’s proposals will be seen. The Mayor’s Office said that now we have her budget proposal, and there was a long report by Kara Main-Hester from the Mayor’s Office. She is the analyst for the sections of the Mayor’s budget that deal with CPC, SPD, etc.
This was a long report showing the timeline on rebalancing the 2020 budget in regards to the pandemic, and the proposed 2021 budget, which is now in the Counseling phase. They are looking for community engagement and a functional review.
The Mayor’s position is that in the General Fund Appropriation, the SPD, which got $407 million in 2020, reduced to $392 in the rebalancing, would get $357 million in 2021. She showed the Full Time Equivalent employees would go from 2,187 in 2020 to 1,853. HSD would be moved from SPD. The bulk of parking enforcing would be removed from SPD, as would 911. A question was asked about the Navigation Team, and she said she would get back to us with the information.
The most significant change would be the $22.4 million saved: 47 FTE sworn officers for the SPD. They would be reduced from 14, 097 to 14,000, for a saving of $15.6 million. They would cut funding for 40 civilian position, and cut overtime for selected events and place emphasis on patrols.
Main-Hester was asked if they took into account the 200 officers who have already resigned. No, and there was some back and forth about the numbers. There was a long discussion of how long it took to replace officers who have left, since they have to be trained, and that it was much faster to rehire already trained officers.
Questions were asked about the effect on diversity if we stop recruiting. She noted that out-of-order layoffs were very difficult to bring about legally. There were questions about cuts in administration and oversight, and she noted that those were influenced by the Consent Decree.
As for the number of Police Officers per population: We are in the median of the graph. Main-Hester noted that the more Officers you send into an event, the less violence you have, the less police misconduct.
Questions were asked about unsolved cases and since the shootings are high in the South End, are there enough people investigating them. She answered that homicides have been given priority in the goals.
Transfers out of the SPD would be the Department of 911. Its name change will be the Seattle Emergency Communication Center.
There were no DOJ updates. The Monitor Antonio Oftelie attended the meeting along with Ron Ward from his office and Monisha Harrell, the new Deputy Monitor. They were introduced to the Commission later in the meeting. Mr. Oftelie said he was looking forward to working with the CPC.
Has upcoming meeting with City Attorney this Friday for review of bylaws.
Community Engagement Specialist Nick Christian reported that the next meeting on Community Engagement is in two weeks.
Esther Lucero stated the Workgroup was tackling pilot projects, including a pool of providers to support 911 operators, increasing funding to Human Services, and exploring civilian positions within SPD.
Civilian Training for OPA
Mark Mullins: What type of training civilians would get to participate in the Office of Police Accountability (OPA). He suggested looking at what other cities are doing in terms of training. To understand the investigations, they would need to go through the Police Academy.
Rev. Williams: Disagreed. He stated civilians need to understand the training, but not go through it themselves.
Rev. Walden: Suggested interviewing the civilians already on the OPA to learn what training they receive now.
Alina Santillan: Civilians are not allowed to investigate police complaints. He went to the Police Academy and stated it was very complex. Use of force should be the last option, or when you feel threatened.
Douglas Wagoner: It's best to look at the training that already exists. The current system accounts for all these parameters.
Rev. Walden: The officers need to be trained to the new policies. The Monitor team could make sure there is no lag time.
Emma Catague: Anti-oppression lenses should be implemented. Diversity must be emphasized to make sure all voices are heard. Funding is needed to sustain the changes.
Douglas Waggoner: We need to understand how budget cuts will affect community.
Erin Goodman: Concerns about staffing levels. Rough nights with shooting victims, hit-and-runs, etc. Officers have been responding from afar. We need staffing to be able to cope.
Mark Mullins: Agrees and gave examples.
Rev. Williams: Cited CM Lewis' reliance on CAHOOTS model in Oregon, noting money must be redirected to mental health workers. Police have too many things on their plates. We have to give some of the police money to mental health providers. We are asking police to be all things to all people.
Erin Goodman and Rev. Walden: Bring in some small business owners to hear from them.
Douglas Wagoner: Proposed hearing from someone about COVID, homelessness, and vulnerable populations that trickle down to police, from protesters who are still on the streets, effect of budget cuts on domestic violence victims and survivors, and from young people around the shootings.