Members Present: Douglas Wagoner, Joseph Seia, Rev. Harriet Walden, Rev. Aaron Williams, Suzette Dickerson, La Rond Baker, Prachi Dave, Scott Bachler, Emma Catague, Erin Goodman, Esther Lucero, Natasha Moore, Mark Mullens.
There was no public input, but there was a call for the Commissioners to each reach out to at least one member of the community to add their voices to the discussion of the action items of police accountability and funding.
Virtual Meeting Highlights
All Commissioners were all attentive and prepared, as well as courteous to each other. After the Land Acknowledgement, attendance was called, and there was a quorum. The agenda was approved and the minutes of the previous meeting were accepted.
There were no action items from 9/16 to be dealt with.
DOJ/Monitor/City Council/Mayor Updates
There were no updates from the Department of Justice.
The Monitor’s representative Ron Ward repeated that the new Monitoring team was getting up to speed.
The spokesman from the City Council, Newell Aldrich, shared that the Budget Committee would be considering the Mayor’s budgets proposal and then work on it for the next two months, beginning September 30th.
A representative from the Mayor’s Office said that the Mayor’s Budget Speech would be delivered next Tuesday, September 29th. Then, her office would be working with the Council to reach an agreement on the Budget.
Prachi Dave repeated again that the search firm helping to select the new Executive Director of the CPC is asking for Commissioners to volunteer to meet in small meetings, along with the staff, to help the search firm understand the needs of the Commission.
Erin Goodman of the Governance Committee said the work is continuing with the Mayor’s Office to edit the Bylaws of the CPC. They need to redraw the strategic plan for the Commission.
Community Engagement Committee
Joseph Seia: They are talking about working to increase community involvement in the CPC regarding Police Accountability. They want to hear more voices.
Updates from Office of Police Accountability (OPA)
The bulk of the remaining time was spent on updates from the OPA.
Lisa Judge, who leads the Office of the Inspector General, talked about a sentinel update, creating review processes with the community at the table. She said she has been discussing these issues with the CPC since she got here, and that we have got to set up a process to get at the systemic roots of the actions that lead to problems. Ms. Judge referenced the Airline Industry and Health Care Systems: when there are failures, when things go wrong, you need to look at the whole system and how the failure
They have met with consultants of the SPD as well as attorneys Bessie Scott and Isaac Ruiz. We need to work with the consultants on an Engagement Plan, and get all the stakeholders involved, the OIG, CPC, SPD, ACLU. We need to have them look to see which experts need to be consulted: Academics, other people with expertise. And we need to decide which events will be the focus of this process.
Rev. Walden: Referenced attending a Zoom meeting and felt that it was a great start. She asked if the pepper spray on May 30th downtown when a child was affected would be part of it.
Ms. Judge said that they re plotting a timeline of all the incidents, chunks of incidents,
and have folks talk to the community about what needs review and what need deep
Esther Lucero asked about protecting our children during the protests. When are we going to get beyond reviews and start flagging issues that need immediate response.
Ms. Judge responded: The SPD is trying to do this. We need to flag things; we need the big issues for major things to be changed. Commanders who are there need to act.
Esther Lucero: How we can add pressure?
Ms. Judge responded: Offer a recommendation to sit down with the SPD Chief of Police and ask why nothing is changing, when are you going to act? Ms. Judge said we have the Consent Decree regarding the use of force and we have a new Monitor and the CPC to all use pressure for change.
Andrew Myerberg (OPA) reported on the case that came out on Friday, the first of the five protest cases and the highest profile one where the child was pepper sprayed and an officer was accused of having his knee on someone’s neck. The decisions of the OPA was that the complaints were not sustained. The complete case file is being provided in full to the CPC, but how the child turned out to be involved was that there was a line that the police drew and asked people to move back, a person grabbed a police baton, and she was pepper sprayed, Some of the pepper spray sprayed off her helmet and that affected a father and child who were standing behind her, not visible on the video. Was it reasonable to use it on the woman? Yes. It was an impossible situation because it was not a controlled situation. He said, “I am not sure what other tools could have been used.”
Brandy Grant: Why use it when only one person was pushing through?
Joseph Seia: He found the decision offensive and was trying to control his emotions. “How did you come to this decision without seeing how problematic that case is?”
Prachi Dave: Appreciated that Myerberg was your joining them today. But putting heavily riot geared police versus people is not a proportionate response. You need to review that mindset. Your finding was based on current policies and those should be changed.
Andrew Myerberg said that those policies have been changed, that pepper spray would now not be used in such a situation.
Esther Lucero: We need to advance these efforts to change policies
Andrew Myerberg asked: Should OPA be able to make mandatory policies? Right now, we cannot. We need to have more teeth.”
Scott Bachler: There is no magic wand for crowd control. It sounds as though you
are saying that police should not be at the protests. Remove police from the
mix? Anything short of this will bring about issues like this! Are you saying “Let’s not
Joseph Seia: It isn’t a matter of either/or.
Scott Bachler: Seattle isn’t unique in using pepper spray, blast balls, flash bangs. What can we do? Saying that cops shouldn’t be doing bad things? They don’t want to! What should the officers have done to handle that specific event?
Rev. Walden: Every year on May Day, people come to Seattle and tear up everything and no arrests are made. But BLM is going on and on. You say the SPD hasn't been trained in the 2015-16 recommendations. Black people didn't do the violence. What is the world doing on crowd management? People brought children to see democracy in action.
Rev. Williams: Police officers are public servants. They are not warriors. We are all in this together. Both sides have to say the other is a human being. Police officers are in a position of power, and have weapons. SPD is part of the community.
Defund Work Group
Esther Lucero and Shayleen Morris presented. Esther thanked Rev. Williams for his comments. We have to work aggressively to solve these problems. We wanted to get into the implementation of true engagement in the Defund Committee. They needed more of the Commissioners to bring forward members of the public for their responses to recommendations.
Brandy Grant: Suggested that Commissioners add one more name to the list so they can see what the community thinks, for broader engagement. They heard from Decriminalize Seattle and SPD, now need more voices.
Suzette Dickerson: Sometimes we lose sight that the government is part of the community as well. There is the potential to harm forces doing good work. We don't realize the interrelations of service delivery.
Esther Lucero: Are our connections to King County so strong that we can't use local groups? She referred to 18 people in the encampment near her building who were eligible for services, but they had no idea. Need to have joint efforts to solve community problems.
Scott Bachler: Esther did a good job of raising these issues. He discussed decriminalizing misdemeanors as suggested by Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now. Are we really not going to criminalize walking into a store and taking something? What would happen when a person calls 911?
Suzette Dickerson: There are multiple victims. Those who are committing crimes are part of the community?
Nick Christian: OPA report on the resolution 31962 Response to the Decriminalize blueprint:
Austin Miller (Mayor's Office): We are interested in working with the community for the Mayor's proposal.
Esther Lucero asked what that timeline is.
Joseph Seia: I would like to present that to the community group I met with.
Esther Lucero: Asked every Commissioner to add one more name to the conversation.
Legislative Agenda Committee
Shayleen Morris and Jesse Franz discussed what might be happening at the state level legislatively. Colleen not there so will report more. Draft list of priorities, noting CPC is an independent agency:
Esther Lucero: We are instituting empathy.
Vote: 11 aye, 1 nay (Mark Mullens, who noted he tried to speak before the vote, but could not connect)
Agenda Next Week
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