Seattle Police Department Won’t Comply With Constitutional Policing Without Wage Hike


U.S. District Court Judge James Robart

Federal district court judge James Robart is a President George W. Bush appointee.  He is presiding over a case involving a consent decree between the Department of Justice and the City of Seattle.  The decree was reached in 2012, and required the city to remedy unconstitutional practices including illegal stops, unreasonable and deadly use of force, and other practices.

In order to fulfill its legal obligation, Seattle attempted to reach a compromise with the police union this summer, offering a new contract that mixed the requisite reforms with wage hikes. The union overwhelmingly rejected the contract on the grounds that it did not sufficiently reward officers with more money and benefits in exchange for engaging in constitutional policing.

“The court and the citizens of Seattle will not be held hostage for increased payments and benefits … ,” U.S. District Judge James Robart said of contract talks, adding, “I’m sure the entire city of Seattle would march behind me.”

Kathleen O’Toole, Seattle’s Chief of Police, has pushed the police to adopt successful training on crisis intervention and bias-free policing.  Kevin Stuckey recently became president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG).  Guild members, which consist of officers and sergeants, voted 823 to 156 to reject a contract that one source says attributed too many giveaways without enough in return.

Judge Robarts isn’t having it, and made the statement quoted above.  The Seattle Times reports more on the consent decree and what happened in court, including how the police rejected civilian oversight.

Judge Robart ended the hearing with deeply personal remarks, in which he noted a statistic that showed, nationally, 41 percent of the shootings by police were of Blacks, when they represent 20 percent of the population.  He also said the recent shootings of police officers, including in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and of 4 Lakewood, Piercy County officers in 2009, reflected the importance of the work being done to heal police and community relations.

Judge Robart then said “Black lives matter,” drawing a startled, audible reaction in a courtroom listening to the words coming from a federal judge sitting on the bench.  However, as Mark Joseph Stern writing for Slate pointed out, although Judge Robart’s comment marks the first time a sitting federal judge has explicitly cited the civil rights movement, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has echoed its call to end police brutality and validated demands for police reform.

Posted on 08/16/2016, in Black lives matter, Cases, civil rights, Department of Justice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. This is where the Police Union Officials MUST be arrested and charged with felonies along with any Officers who refuse to comply. If they refuse to do their jobs correctly they must be fired now and arrested now. I say these things and I am pro police but I am much more pro Constitution!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Who do these idiots think they are? They WORK FOR US & DO WHAT WE SAY THEY DO.
    & if they don’t like it, they can GTFOH!!
    This attitude of “too many give aways” w/o enough money, is why it’s high time to quash this twisted, backasswards sense of entitlement FOP has been trying to remain accustomed to. and that’s only possible when the ‘public service’ is done away with.
    Any cop thinking he/she’s interests come before the will of the citizens needs to be eliminated from the payroll immediately.
    The police depts in Seattle should be getting rid of every single police officer who refused to sign up for police reform.
    There should be hundreds of applications of new cops more than happy to be part of turning a loser dept into an awesome one. Seattle could eventually become THE model for the finest, most elite of American police depts

    Liked by 5 people

    • Shannon,
      Yes, Seattle could eventually become the model for the finest, most elite American police department. Maybe now that the judge has spoken, they will take things seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Two sides to a story

    I love unions but police unions are way out of control. Police have policed themselves far too long and this is where we’ve ended up because of it.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. This is where the City needs to stand up to the Union. A pay raise should not be tied to police being required to do a better job to serve the community which pays their salaries.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. No, you do the job you were hired to do which already included Constitutional policing. These people are insane. Hopefully, this department will be made an example of to encourage police departments across the nation to do their jobs. Serve and Protect. Without impunity. WITH accountability.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. yahtzeebutterfly

    Constitutional policing is the requirement and is expected. Plain and simple.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Out of curiosity for what the DOJ found, I searched for their findings and found their letter

      It appears from their findings that the largest problem is that of use of excessive force. They found that 20 officers accounted for 18 perent of all force incidents, and they identify the lack of training and supervision as the reason. About one-third of the Seattle police department’s officers had three years or less experience.

      Page 5 lists the findings of excessive force, including that officers escalate situations and use unnecessary or excessive force when arresting individuals for minor offenses. About 70 percent of the arrests involving excessive force are of persons with mental illnesses or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They also involve multiple officers upon one person.

      Liked by 5 people

  7. Reblogged this on Quemela.


  8. Comment to David Piercy/l4wstud3nt28x

    Please stop sending off topic comments to this blog. In fact, don’t send any comments here. You have blogs of your own where you can post things that are of your interest. Stop trying to hijack and distract from the issues that interest us.

    By the way David, shouldn’t you be studying for your law school classes rather than using the college’s computers for your personal internet use?


  9. Good for the Judge for bringing some sanity to that discussion.


    • Hey Eurobrat! Yes. There’s talk on social media with some saying the judge should be removed from the bench for saying “Black lives matter,” but they fail to understand the judge is enforcing a consent decree and not litigating a case to find for either party.

      Liked by 1 person

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