Virtual Meeting Highlights:
League Observer believes that there was some public input. People in the Zoom meeting were called upon and listened to attentively. Most of the Commissioners seemed to be in attendance, and there was a quorum. They appeared attentive, courteous, and engaged in the discussion.
Mi'Chance Dunlap-Gittens Youth Rights Ordinance
The first item for discussion was noting the decision of the Commission to issue a statement voicing strong support for the Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens Youth Rights Ordinance. That Ordinance would connect young people who have been detained by the police to legal counsel before they waive their constitutional rights. That should allow more BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) youth to avoid becoming swept up into the criminal justice system.
The Commission also discussed their various perspectives on the use of non-lethal means of the police to control crowds. Rev. Walden and Douglas Wagoner focused on the need of the police to have recourse to them in order to maintain control. Suzette Dickerson mentioned a meeting with a Sgt. Campbell of the SPD who offered a helpful discussion of the varieties of holds, particularly cross-face, that can hold a person while avoiding a choke-hold. She said that he would be willing to meet with more Commissioners if they so desired.
Demonstration management was reported on by Nick Christian. Staff is in the process of drafting the response to crowd control. They met with Chief Best and will report back on their recommendations next week.
New Executive Dir.
The new Executive Director of the CPC was announced: Brandy Grant, who has transitioned from being a Commissioner into that position. She was welcomed by the group.
Jesse Franz had an update about police accountability, and Shayleen Morris discussed the issues defund and disinvest from the SPD. While the CPC will look at the Council’s recommendations, they themselves are still developing a platform. We learned that the CPC was too late in getting out a position statement on the police budget for the rest of 2020, but they will now focus on getting a position to the City Council by mid-September for the entire 2021 budget. They will look at how the reforms are in line with the CPC’s values.
Prachi Dave emphasized the need to vote on their statement in a timely manner since they missed the deadline to vote on the remaining 2020 budget.
SPD Subpoenas for News Records
The next major order of business was to discuss and vote on the Commission’s position on the SPD issuing subpoenas for journalists’ records. Those subpoenas are being challenged by journalists and various other groups that will be friends of the court. The question is whether or not the CPC should join as friends. This matter was vigorously discussed with many Commissioners noting that journalists needed to be protected by the First Amendment and Washington privacy laws. The main concern was that if the government could look into journalists’ records, then the journalists could be viewed as an agents of the state, and that would completely upset the imperative sense of their impartiality.
Prachi Dave asked if the Commission wanted to take a position, and Mark Mullens was asked if he had a comment. Although most of the previous discussion favored supporting the journalists, Officer Mullens said he had no comment. The opposition was voiced by a member of the public who felt that there were times that, for example, extra video footage could provide police Investigating a fire with valuable information they would not be able to otherwise get. Aaron Williams asked if they should take a vote, and the group voted to support SPD withdrawing their subpoena, or if they appealed, for CPC to become an amicus, was passed. There were two nays and one abstention.
There was other, undisclosed business, the Commission would discuss in executive session and the meeting adjourned early at 10:00.
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!