Councilmember Herbold statement following release of audio in which SPD officer uses racial slur 

Seattle City Councilmember Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1 – West Seattle and South Park), Chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, released the following statement. It comes after The Stranger reported that Seattle Police Officer Burton Hill and his wife harassed a Chinese-American woman, using racial slurs and sexist language.

“This act of anti-Asian hate from a Seattle officer is disgusting and undermines the Seattle Police Department’s ability to provide basic public safety.

How can our APIDA communities feel safe calling the police? How can they depend on SPD to respond to anti-Asian hate crime or home invasion robberies targeting Asian elders when an SPD officer has engaged in vile anti-Asian hate himself?

This comes less than two weeks after we learned of vile comments by Daniel Auderer, the Vice President of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild, devaluing the life of Jaahnavi Kandula.

I support the Seattle Community Police Commission’s call, and those of my Council colleagues, for Chief Diaz to develop an action plan to address issues of racism in the department and to meet with the police accountability organizations to discuss urgent concerns over SPD culture.

I am also calling on the department to release more information about the termination of its contract with Truleo, a technology that can flag unprofessional comments made on police body camera. According to new reports, SPD was pressured by the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild to stop using that technology days after Auderer made his comments on body camera. SPD needs to provide a full accounting of what happened and why.

It is not enough for us to call to Stop Asian Hate. We must actively support and protect APIDA communities, and that includes accountability for individual officers, as well as acting to rout out racism in the SPD.” 

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