Feds to seek court order for Seattle police reforms

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 30, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 30 at 6:36 PM

 SEATTLE -- U.S. Justice Department officials on Friday said they were pleased with the city's new 20-point police department reform plan, but  they still plan to seek a court order to ensure SPD adopts changes outlined in a DOJ report released in December.

The Justice Department recommendations, released in December, focused on SPD officers' responsibilities when filing use-of-force reports, improving internal controls and investigating public complaints about police behavior.

U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said the SPD 20/20 plan unveiled Thursday by Mayor Mike McGinn and SPD Chief John Diaz is a positive development.

That plan's provisions fall under five broad categories: protecting the rights of citizens, improving training and education for SPD officers that reflect Seattle's values, earning public trust, embracing data-driven practices, and partnering with the public.

The Justice Department investigation that prompted the SPD 20/20 plan was launched following the fatal shooting of a homeless Native American woodcarver in 2010 and other reported uses of force against minority suspects. The probe was aimed at determining whether Seattle police have a "pattern or practice" of violating civil rights or discriminatory policing, and if so, what they should do to improve.

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