New use-of-force policy tested by Seattle shootings
Policy calls for civilian-led internal affairs unit to be dispatched to the scene of every officer-involved shooting
By Jennifer Sullivan
SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department’s new use-of-force policy, in effect for less than a month, is already being tested after two police shootings — one of them fatal — since Sunday.
The policy, negotiated between the Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), was crafted in response to the findings of a 2011 DOJ investigation that concluded Seattle police resort to force too quickly and routinely use too much when they do. The DOJ also found disturbing but inconclusive evidence of biased policing.
The policy calls for a representative from the department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), its civilian-led internal-investigations unit, to be dispatched to the scene of every police shooting. The policy went into place Jan. 1. After each of the two recent shootings, OPA Director Pierce Murphy was notified within minutes, and he responded to the scenes, he said.