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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Police Misconduct in Seattle

That justice is a blind goddess is a fact to which we Blacks are wise,
her bandages hide two festering sores that once perhapse were eyes.

Langston Hughes


At the time that Langston Hughes authored this poem, African Americans were experiencing the injustice of segregation. While separate but equal policies have been deemed unconstitutional, it is apparent that we still have a separate system of justice for people of color and the poor. This separate system is most pronounced when people of color and the poor interact with law enforcement. Even when people of color have concrete evidence that a law enforcement officer violated their constitutional rigthts, little to nothing is done. To add insult to injury, people who file complaints often find that the department will exonerate the officers and demonize the person who was brave enough to walk through the doors of the police department and ask for justice.

The Seattle King County NAACP has taken the lead in protecting the civil and human rights of those that have encounters with law enforcement in our jurisdiction. We receive and investigate hundreds of cases each year. Because the Seattle Chief of Police and the Seattle Office of Professional Accountability have failed to adequately protect people of color and the poor, we will be sharing many of our completed investigation with the public. It is our hope that the public will stand and demand a stronger system of accountability and greater protections for people of color and the poor.