Blue Flu as a Negotiation Tactic

Seattle News:

There’s been a lot of speculation this week about a potential wave of Blue Flu that hit SPD last weekend, when several big events, including Taylor Swift concerts, Capitol Hill Block Party, and a Mariners game took place. The President of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) took to his podcast to say that on Saturday night, about half of patrol operations didn’t show up to work and 40% didn’t show for special events. He went on to say 600 cops have left in three years in Seattle because of the “defunding nonsense.” He is lobbying in DC right now and says that a couple other unions he’s with have similar attrition numbers. 

In response to this podcast, Divest SPD tweeted, “SPOG is telegraphing that it’s did an illegal labor action while denying that it did an illegal labor action. It wants to communicate the power of its membership and intent of the clearly coordinated action without accepting the legal responsibility.”

At this week’s Public Safety and Human Services committee meeting, the Seattle Community Responses to Domestic Violence Workgroup delivered their recommendations to expand community response to domestic violence. CM Herbold said data from the City Attorney’s Office shows domestic violence referrals have higher decline rates than anything else the office does–a 65% decline rate–and that many of these declines are related to the victim’s wishes. 

As an alternate path to addressing domestic violence and providing accountability, the work group recommends establishing durable public funding streams for community response that reach people who are being abusive, independent from the criminal legal system, to start with a 3-year pilot. These community efforts would work to prevent violence before it escalates, provide pathways for healing and accountable relationships, and motivate personal and social transformation.

Other recent Seattle news of note:

  • Publicola received video from the body-worn camera of Officer Dave, who struck and killed student Jaahnavi Kandula earlier this year. The video shows Officer Dave accelerated from 4 to 74mph in just 12 seconds and briefly chirping his siren a few times but not running it consistently.
  • SPD released the video from when they shot a man downtown last week, which appears to show the deployment of the new Bolawrap tool, which makes a sharp gunshot type sound, followed immediately by two shots fired by a different officer, who made no warning that he was going to shoot.
  • Last December, SPD officers took 23 minutes to respond to a shooting that was only a mile away from where they were hanging out at the SPOG office. An investigation is underway into the delayed response and to the possibility the officers tried to cover it up. Evidence also indicates the officers might have driven at dangerously high speeds when they finally did decide to respond. Two of the three officers involved made $211k and $315k in 2022.

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