Members Present: Douglas Wagoner, Joseph Seia, Rev. Harriet Walden, Rev. Aaron Williams, Suzette Dickerson, La Rond Baker, Prachi Dave, Emma Catague, Colleen Echohawk, Erin Goodman, Monisha Harrell, Esther Lucero, Natasha Moore, Mark Mullens, Alina Santillan
Staff Present: Shayleen Morris, Jesse Franz, Brandy Grant
There was public input. Rev. Aaron Williams and Prachi Dave read several questions that members of the public had sent to the Commission. The questions were read one after the other. They tended to address matters such as the fact that the CPC does not have public comments; that there are no public meetings, and police abuse continues unabated in the community. Also there were questions about crowd control during demonstrations and how First Amendment rights were being impacted by the use of force.
After the questions were read, the various Commissioners addressed several of the points to clarify what the mandate of the Commission is and what is allowed by their bylaws.
Esther Lucero asked if they could have a print out the questions so that all the Commissioners would be able to respond. She noted that they should be responsive.
Rev. Walden pointed out that the mission of the Commission can be found by the public on their website.
Then there was a motion to approve the agenda and another to approve the minutes of the previous meeting. Both were passed.
Action Item Update
Action items were reviewed and it was noted that the filing on August 22th was sent to the Court regarding the resolution about journalists' notes and videos being subpoenaed by the City.
Rev. Williams noted that they had received some public comments, and he proceeded to acknowledge the authors by name as he read them. (See "Public Comment")
Updates from DOJ, Monitor, City Council, Mayor
The DOJ had no update. Neither the Monitor nor any City Council representative was in attendance. Austin Miller represented the Mayor’s Office and said that the Mayor had vetoed the Budget and if the Commissioners had any questions about that, he would be happy to answer them.
Jesse Franz, head of Communication, asked if there was a timeline for search for a permanent Police Chief. So far, there seems not to be.
Alina Santillan referenced the Navigation team dealing with homelessness and questioned the Mayor’s position on why it shouldn’t be removed. Franz responded that the Mayor’s position is that there is no viable alternative up and running, and so it would be premature to remove it.
Esther Lucero asked, regarding the Navigation team and the Defund team, and drug and sex trafficking: In the homeless encampment near them, there are 18 individuals who qualify for “a leave” services (note: The League Observer was unsure about the meaning of that term). Lucero said those services were intended when there were illegal activities in homeless sites. She asked if there was any movement about the next steps to take. Austin Miller said they are discussing what to do.
Prachi Dave said that now that some of their work was done, the staff had more time available to support Commissioners and sub-committees in need of their help. Also, there are pro bono attorneys who will give legal support to those groups.
Erin Goodman reported on the deep dive on the bylaws that her group has been working on for the past several weeks. They have been working with the City Attorney’s Office and the draft of the bylaws will be available in the next couple of weeks. She was thanked by Rev. Walden.
Work Group Updates
Demonstration Management + Defund Work Group
CPC Staff member Shayleen Morris reported that the Demonstration Management Work Group has been folded into the Defund Work Group, which Esther Lucero took over.
Esther Lucero thanked the staff for helping with the Defund evaluation. They will meet with SPD, the Mayor's Office, and Chief Diaz. There is a $150m budget gap. CPC recommendation is needed by Sept. 23. It was proposed that the CPC share or present on the consent decree and Council's positions. Chief Diaz seemed more responsive to the community.
Prachi Dave asked if there had been any additional conversations with Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now. She wants the CPC to be a resource for them. There was discussion about CPC staff member Nick Christian to connect with the community.
Committees on Police Accountability and Legislative Agenda
Colleen Echohawk is leading the Committee on Police Accountability and Legislative Agenda. ACLU is collaborating with them and one of the issues being discussed is collective bargaining. More information will be available in 2-3 weeks.
Brandy Grant and Jesse Franz spoke about the Communications Committee and the need for individual commissioners to be on the same page, especially new commissioners. There have been an increase in requests from the media, on social media, and direct contacts. Under Article 9 covering Public Statements, Co-Chairs are the official spokespeople for the CPC so all requests must go through them. Press releases must be approved by Co-Chairs. The Exec. Dir. should do blog posts and public comments. Under Article 3, there should be no reporting on alleged misconduct or comments on discipline that could influence the outcome of OPA investigations. Going forward, if media want the Commission's position on something, forward to the request to Jesse and make sure you are not speaking on behalf of the Commission.
Colleen Echohawk asked what would happen if the Co-Chair misrepresented the Commission. Brandy Grant replied that would be troublesome and acknowledged they wear several hats.
Erin Goodman noted that was discussed at the last meeting regarding new bylaws.
Monisha Harrrell stated they need to let the public know which hat they are wearing to be clear what perspective they are sharing.
Esther Lucero pointed to the layers of accountability.
Jesse Franz spoke about the drafting process, citing the CPC's statement from July 24 regarding police and protesters. CPC shared a video "When Police Can Lie". Jesse noted that communications are challenging because staffing is low so the process can be slow.
Rev. Walden thanked Jesse. Rev. Williams added that Jesse brought a lot of value to the CPC. Douglas Wagoner noted that even though communications needs had increased, they were meeting that challenge thanks to Jesse. They asked how they could help him. He asked them to send him messages about what needs to be covered.
Esther Lucero suggested more training on media communication techniques for the Co-Chairs.
Shayleen Morris asked for 1-on-1 conversations with each Commissioner to discuss policy issues and offered times. She suggested email was a good way to talk more and keep an open line of communication.
Agenda for Next Meeting
Monisha Harrell-When do SPOG contracts come up for discussion? Have these discussions started?
Austin Miller answered that the Mayor's Office was having conversations on next steps. Jesse Franz stated there have not been communications requests yet.
Douglas Wagoner asked where they were in the process of bringing the City back into compliance with the consent decree.
Monisha Harrell observed they had been sprinting, but need some rest time for proactive work to come, to plan what they will have to deal with in the future. Proposed taking the week of Labor Day off. She also identified that they should prioritize having a seat at the table when police contracts are negotiated.
Rev. Williams agreed this whole year they had just been in reactionary mode and that it was important to figure out how to be more proactive, anticipate fires.
Rev. Walden agreed too, but pointed out they were formed in response to an event.
Joseph Seia promoted the commitment to healing justice, noting that trauma shows up in all their work. Seattle is the center of cancel culture. There is a need to respond rapidly to the family, which is wrapped up in healing and relationships.
Rev. Williams cited the need for expertise of all the Commissioners. They want to be there regardless of what happens for the community. Each of them plays a vital role in enhancing the CPC.