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Seattle, DOJ Reach Settlement On Police Reform

Amy Radil

The city of Seattle and the US Justice Department have reached an agreement on police reform. It will be overseen by an independent monitor and could last up to five years.


After months of tumultuous negotiations, officials for the Justice Department (DOJ) and the city of Seattle have announced a framework for police reform. Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said it will benefit the police department and the city.

Holmes: "This agreement is about improving our police department, not tying its hands."

The agreement averts a lawsuit from DOJ and will implement that agency's suggestions for new standards governing the use of force.

US Attorney Jenny Durkan says the centerpiece of the agreement requires the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to develop policies around the use of every weapon they carry. And officers will now report every time they point a gun at someone.

Durkan: "There will be a much more robust system that captures every use of force, so I would say that's probably one of the most significant changes."

Those provisions are enshrined in a consent decree, to be overseen by a monitor and a federal judge.

SPD Chief John Diaz pronounced his department ready and willing to implement changes. Meanwhile a statement from the Seattle Police Officers Guild said it still disputes DOJ's findings that Seattle police officers have a "pattern or practice" of using excessive force. But the union also claimed victory, saying the final agreement adheres more closely to Seattle's negotiating positions. It noted that the settlement can end early if SPD is in compliance for two years.

I'm Amy Radil, KUOW News.

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