Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle) and Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide) issued the following statement following the Gender Equity, Safe Communities and New Americans Committee’s approval of a bias-free policing law in Seattle:
“This legislation sends a strong message that the City is committed to ensuring constitutional policing now and in the future. Even after the police department is no longer under the scrutiny of a monitor or federal judge, the City is committed to providing bias-free policing to all residents.
“Seattle will be one of the first major cities to, and will for the first time, codify the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) policies on bias-free policing and create a private right of action for persons alleging that they are a victim of biased policing. It won’t just be an SPD policy, but a permanent part of the City of Seattle’s code.
“By background, the new SPD bias-free policing policy has been in place since January 1, 2015, approved by both the DOJ settlement federal monitor and the federal judge. All officers have received training on this policy. The policy was the result of findings by DOJ investigators stating it was concerned about discriminatory policing, and that this undermined the trust between the police and the community. SPD’s old unbiased policing policy was lacking and failed to collect or maintain adequate data regarding issues of bias policing.”
Full Council is scheduled to consider the legislation on Monday, July 17.