Saturday, July 7, 2007

The Civil and Human Rights of People in Seattle must be Protected


Imagine witnessing a defenseless individual in handcuffs being beaten with a club and fists by law enforcement. Imagine a police officer jumping on person who is laying on his stomach waiting for law enforcement to place him in hand cuffs (this person suffered a popped lung and cracked ribs). Imagine a law enforcement officer spanking your child. In each of these cases the Office of Professional Accountability found that the officers had committed acts of misconduct. To the shock of the people of Seattle, Police Chief Kerlikowske overturned the decision of the Office of Professional Accountability and exonerated these officers of any wrong doing.

These horrific incidents of injustice are just three of the twenty-two cases that Chief Kerlikowske has overturned in the past couple of years. We are concerned that the Chief is seeking to cover up acts of injustice that are committed by Seattle Police Officers at the expense of the public. We are concerned that the Chief is failing to put his reasons for disagreeing with the Office of Professional Accountability in writing.

The Chief has repeatedly demonstrated that he is willing to ignore the depth and reasoning of the Seattle Office of Professional Accountability in favor of officers. George T. Pattersons case is particularly disturbing. In the Patterson case, there was a 600 page investigation, a video tape, a forensic experts findings, warnings from the City Auditor and a ruling by a judge which suggested that the officers in the Patterson case had committed acts of misconduct. In spite of this evidence, the Chief chose to exonerate these officers. Even worse, he chose to misrepresent the issues to the public. He chose to slander Mr. Patterson and tried to infer that a weapon was involved in this case when everyone is well aware that there were no weapons present.

We need a chief who is willing to tell the public the truth and sanction those few officers who choose to violate civil and human rights.

Recently the Minority Executive Director's Coalition (MEDC) Joined the Seattle King County NAACP in calling for the Resignation of Chief Kerlikowske. People of color and the poor can no longer have confidence in the chiefs ability to protect their civil and human rights.

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