The federal judge overseeing Seattle police reforms has approved the Police Department’s long-awaited body-camera proposal, resolving an issue that had put the plan on hold.
In approving the overall plan, U.S. District Judge James Robart, as part of an order filed Wednesday, found that officers may watch video from body cameras before they write reports on incidents involving lower-level use of force.
Robart is presiding over a 2012 consent decree between the U.S. Department of Justice and the city, mandating Seattle police adopt reforms to address excessive force and biased policing. The decree requires all use of force be fully, fairly and accurately reported, investigated and reviewed.
Robart’s court-appointed monitor, Merrick Bobb and the city agreed that officers shouldn’t be allowed to view video before they write reports on high-level use-of-force cases investigated by the department’s Force Investigation Team, including officer-involved shootings and injuries involving broken bones.
The judge’s ruling clears the way for the city to begin negotiations with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, representing officers and sergeants, and the Seattle Police Management Association, the union for lieutenants and captains, over implementation of the body-camera program, the Seattle Times reports.