Charleena Lyles

Charleena Lyles Inquest Provides “Peek Behind the Curtain”

Charleena Lyles Inquest Case

The big news this past week has been the jury’s findings in the Charleena Lyles inquest case that the two SPD officers used reasonable force when shooting Lyles back in 2017. You can read more about the verdict herehere, and here. As Erica C. Barnett from Publicola reported:
After the ruling, the attorney for Lyles’ family, Karen Koehler, said in a statement that the family “does not blame the jury” for finding that SPD followed its policies, because “SPD’s policies practices and procedures are designed specifically to allow an officer to shoot and kill a person in mental crisis with a paring knife.”
And on last week’s Hacks and Wonks podcast, EJ Juarez said:
I think what happened here is we got to peek behind the curtain, where this process actually showed that the policies and procedures of that department, which is charged with upholding the law and protecting people, is not actually designed to do that. And so this inquest found that despite all these numerous things that could have been done differently, all of these steps – which weren’t taken and which were – resulted in, largely, law enforcement officers following procedure and it still resulting in the death of a person. And I think that’s probably the most damning and heartbreaking piece of this – if the policy and procedures for law enforcement are truly designed to be followed the way that they were and it still results in the death of a person struggling with mental health, are those policies and procedures valid? Are they necessary? Are they the right policies and procedures?

Seattle News

Some quick news items:
  • SPD and the City filed a petition in King County Superior Court asking the Court to reverse an arbitration decision that gave a parking enforcement officer his job back after he was fired for wishing we could “bring back lynching.”
  • The members of the search committee for the new SPD Chief have been announced.
  • A deal between the city and the county was finalized to fund JustCare, although it will be continuing in a new form. Seattle has promised up to $4.4m to continue to support a diversion-based program that will provide 80 beds of hotel shelter through the end of the year. The County will be using state money that was allocated to clear homeless encampments located along state highway rights of way and to provide shelter and wraparound services to the people living there to continue funding some hotel beds.
  • Seattle’s Redistricting Commission will begin creating their final proposal soon. They are scheduled to solicit public comment on their proposal beginning in August and continuing through September and October. They must submit their final redistricting plan to the County by November 15 at the latest. This plan could have a substantial impact on the City Council elections in November 2023.

King County News

The King County Sheriff’s Office has announced a new community advisory board, as well as two new divisions: a community programs division and a special operations division. Details about the community advisory board are still thin on the ground.

Recent Headlines

Judge orders Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer to post $100,000 bail, finds him ‘a substantial danger’ after anti-harassment order | The Seattle Times

Seattle police watchdog investigating leak of memo detailing sexual assault staffing crisis | The Seattle Times

Reports show King County Sheriff’s deputies disproportionately target communities of color | June 29-July 5, 2022 | Real Change

Council Could Place Ranked-Choice Voting On Ballot; Ballard Commons Still on Slow Track to Reopening - PubliCola

Charleena Lyles Inquest Provides “Peek Behind the Curtain” Read More »

The JumpStart Tax Stands

Seattle News

The City of Seattle won its most recent legal battle over the JumpStart tax this week, which means they can continue to levy it. This is particularly crucial given the City’s $117m projected revenue shortfall for 2023, as Seattle Times‘s Sarah Grace Taylor recently reported:
But another large part of making 2023 work will likely be asking the council to free up money earmarked for specific causes — like the Jumpstart tax — to cover general expenditures.
You may recall that JumpStart tax revenue expenditures were a major source of conflict in last year’s budget, with then-Mayor Durkan allocating them away from the Council’s spending plan, and the Council yanking the money back to be spent as originally intended. With such a large revenue shortfall, however, we could see a different outcome in this budget season.
The public inquest into the wrongful death of Charleena Lyles has begun and will run through July 6. In spite of attempted opposition, this inquest is available for the public to watch via streaming.
Carolyn Bick continues their excellent reporting into problems at Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG):
The Emerald has obtained multiple documents that show that former Office of Police Accountability (OPA) Dir. Andrew Myerberg appears to have withheld key information from the Office of Inspector General — the OPA’s accountability partner agency tasked with certifying OPA investigations — by submitting a case for certification and later adding information to the case report. In doing so, and in drawing conclusions from said information, Myerberg appears to have subverted not only the OPA’s own rules and procedures but also the City’s 2017 Accountability Ordinance.

Washington State News

It sounds like the $1.5m settlement paid out to the Nazi-sympathizing police officer in Kent might be drawing attention to the realities of some of the problems with police accountability in Washington State. Depending on how elections go this fall, we could see a renewed effort during the next session of the state legislature to address some of the problems with officer discipline. One potential vehicle for this, SB 5677, which you may remember me discussing at the beginning of the year, “would require municipalities to establish procedures that meet a set of minimum standards for receiving complaints and conducting investigations regarding “serious misconduct” by police officers.”

Recent Headlines

The Washington post - by Alec Karakatsanis

Seattle protester critically hurt by driver during BLM demonstration sues state, city, suspected driver | The Seattle Times

WA attorney general seeks to require Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer to post $10,000 bail | The Seattle Times

The JumpStart Tax Stands Read More »