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Seattle Officers Sue Over Use-of-Force Reforms

May 29, 2014  | 

More than 100 Seattle police officers filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a federal judge to block what they called “mechanical” and unrealistic use-of-force policies imposed on them under a court-ordered consent decree.

The 43-page suit alleges policies stemming from an agreement between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) stoked a “bold, new disregard for police authority in the streets of Seattle,” putting officers and the public in unreasonable danger.

The civil-rights suit, filed in U.S. District Court, contends the changes have effectively created “hesitation and paralysis” among officers, stripping them of their constitutional and legal right to make reasonable, split-second judgments in the line of duty, the Seattle Times reports.

The suit, filed by 123 officers, detectives and sergeants, largely from the department’s North Precinct, was brought without an attorney, although a civil-rights attorney in Washington, D.C., assisted.

It also was filed without the approval or support of their union, the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG).

Tags: graham v. connor, Seattle PD, Use-of-Force Policies, Consent Decrees, Eric Holder


Comments (19)

Displaying 1 - 19 of 19

Mike Gardner @ 5/29/2014 4:40 PM

Good for these officers. Their new policy is full of useless terms; such as reasonable and necessary and proportionate. Reasonable force is necessary and proportionate or it wouldn't be reasonable. No oath of office gives up an officer's right to self-defense. They still have rights too.

GP Cobb @ 5/29/2014 6:06 PM

It seems to me, cops and citizens are loosing lots of rights of late. Soon the olde west should return, holster and carry should be a means of daily life. See Kenesaw GA.

KevCopAz @ 5/29/2014 6:54 PM

Its about time WE sued for the rights WE have as citizens and as police officers. If I was with the Seattle Union I would announce to the public that their safety is in danger since under these new guidelines it is recommended that Seattle Officers DO NOT use force to protect other then their own lives to effect any arrest until the guide lines are clear and common sense since the officer is placing themselves in liability if they act incorrectly according to the new rules. Perhaps this would convince the City and the public that if they want these rules then they are on their own.

TheRookie @ 5/29/2014 9:57 PM

Good for them. Not being able to perform your sworn duties is frightening and is a serious Officer Safety Issue. Just ask ICE or Border Patrol Agents. This is exactly what this AG Erik`von With-Holder @ Dept. of No-Justice has strived to do to agencies throughout the U.S. Him with Obama's blessing act like they like L.E., but take a good look at their hidden sides. They cancel laws out, blatantly disregard enforcing and/or follow laws, give pardons to convicted criminals/killers, etc. Holder was asked to not attend the OKC Police Departments Cadet Graduating Class of 2014. That alone says volumes. For Officer's safety and sake throughout America the next 2 years can't go by quick enough.

Ima Leprechaun @ 5/30/2014 9:55 AM

I read the DOJ consent decree attached to the article. Seattle Officers need to contact FOP #9 in Columbus, Ohio they are one of the few to fight a DOJ consent decree and win. They know what to do and they have the experience to help. The decree mostly attacks the lack of proper use of force training which is something that is easily remedied. Mostly, line officers do what they have to do and let the administration fight with the DOJ. CYA always!

Capt. Crunch @ 5/30/2014 10:44 AM

Good for them. It is bad enough that the police officers have to put up with the dangers that are brought upon them by the criminal community ( which we expect). But to have dangers put on you by your own department is unacceptable.

Lt.Sanders @ 5/31/2014 7:49 AM

Cops in general and Seattle cops in particular have become the most sissified panty-waist in society. These cops are whining because a deaf wood carver didn't put down the knife that he was working with so he was shot! What a bunch of cowardly losers we've become. It's no wonder society has no respect for us. We don't deserve respect! Cops want to kill people whenever they can. Citizens can deal with issues without gun play but get a cop involved and people get hurt. Why? Because cops are chickenshit pussies!

Capt. Crunch @ 5/31/2014 10:34 AM

@ Lt. Sanders, I see you used the word "we". After seeing your stupid comment, I know you are not a police officer and stop using the word we, because you don't deserve to be put in the same class as US. Have a nice day Pussy.

Capt. Crunch @ 5/31/2014 10:34 AM

@ Lt. Sanders, I see you used the word "we". After seeing your stupid comment, I know you are not a police officer and stop using the word we, because you don't deserve to be put in the same class as US. Have a nice day Pussy.

Lt.Sanders @ 5/31/2014 11:54 AM

@Capt.Crunch-LOL! Go shoot a cripple tough guy! If your pussy hurts just stay home!

Capt. Crunch @ 5/31/2014 12:36 PM

@ Lt.Sanders (aka) PUSSY, Calling a disabled person "cripple" is degrading to that person, it also shows me your lack of intelligence. Why don't you go back to your basement and have sex with your rubber doll and get off this site.

Capt. Crunch @ 5/31/2014 12:36 PM

@ Lt.Sanders (aka) PUSSY, Calling a disabled person "cripple" is degrading to that person, it also shows me your lack of intelligence. Why don't you go back to your basement and have sex with your rubber doll and get off this site.

Lt.Sanders @ 5/31/2014 1:38 PM

@Capt. Crunch- you're degrading to American citizens! Your occupation shows that your IQ is compatible with your shoe size. Come back when you aren't on the rag, you Kotex cowboy!

Lenny @ 5/31/2014 1:51 PM

@Lt. Sanders
Capn Crunch is always on the rag. He threatened me with legal action when I,
(a white person) was critical of the tactics of other white cops against minotities. He and his team of lawyers were even going to come and visit me in June. He later chickened out, he was trying to give me the online version of the threat of a night in jail and some made
up charges, usually assaulting a cop and resisting arrest. His constant double posting suggests he feels his comments important. They are usually submissive agreements with
the rest of the Hitler youth, or hate filled tirades to those who disagree that cops and anything that they do is perfect and justified.

Capt. Crunch @ 5/31/2014 3:01 PM

@ Troll & Pussy, Why don't you two guys take a long walk on a short pier. Also Troll, my attorney advised me you are not worth the effort, but if you want me to push it I will meet with you in Toronto and hand you the papers in person. I need a vacation anyway. Pussy, what happen you sound mad did you run out of petroleum jelly and can't play with your doll.

Mitch @ 6/1/2014 7:20 PM

Good for Seattle pd. After they win that one please go after the search and seizure rules They are stupid and way to restrictive I work across the border in Idaho and I listen to the Spokane guys constantly complain about what they must go through for just a simple weapons pat down.

Lenny @ 6/2/2014 12:54 PM

@ Capn.
I see your investigative skills are right up there with your wit and intelligence.
I have made it quite clear where I am from, and Toronto isn't even close. You are
only off by 2800 miles and no I don't live in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. That is
another clue, do try and pay attention.
Are you saying you are ready to proceed with your lawsuit on behalf of the state of Tennessee? That same lawsuit you feel you will personally benefit from?
Oh please keep coming.
Until that time go toss a grenade at a toddler, find no drugs, no cash, no weapons
cache, and not even a suspect. Then blame the whole thing on the mother, because
her house burned down. You know POLICE WORK.

Sgt. Mike @ 6/3/2014 10:21 AM

It's commendable that these officers feel strongly enough to take action to protect themselves. I hope the Judge takes the time to consider both sides. Clearly LE does need to be restrained sometimes, but all too often, the pendulum swings too far, too fast and fails to consider real consequences.

BTW, it’s also a shame that some posters have taken this forum to such low levels. Act like grownups gentlemen.

S.S. @ 6/9/2014 7:59 AM

lenny looks like you found another boyfriend in lt. sanders, you 2 losers deserve each other. Lt. I highly doubt that you were law enforcement, maybe a boyscout or something else like that. If by some stupid chance that you were law enforcement you were probably assigned to I.A. Get off the site please no place for you here. We've already got enough douchebags like lenny. God knows why she continues to stay on this site.

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