Posted on November 29, 2012 at 11:38 PM
SEATTLE -- Seattle University Assistant Professor Dr. Matt Hickman is working on a research project that closely examines use of forceby the Seattle Police Department. Dr. Hickman said he wants police reform to move forward in a rational way, and right now he is not convinced that is happening. Even though Seattle Police and the Department of Justice have reached a settlement, Hickman continues to investigate.
Dr. Matt Hickman and a former graduate student are combing through more 1200 use of force police records after an earlier Justice Department report found 20 percent of uses of force by Seattle Police were excessive or unconstitutional.
"I do doubt it," said Hickman about the DOJ's findings.
Hickman said he worked as a statistician for the Department of Justice from 2000-2007. From 2007 to present day, he has worked as an Assistant Professor teaching Criminal Justice at Seattle University. He has never held a job in law enforcement, and does not have a legal background. Hickman admitted that that means his approach to analyzing the past reports will be different than the Department of Justice.
"They are approaching this from a legal framework. They are constructing a legal reality. I'm approaching it from a social science framework," said Hickman.
DOJ had no comment about Hickman's research project.
Hickman said he was not hired by the police department or any other city departments. The city is not paying him. Hickman said he started the research on his own in late March and as soon as he is done he plans to make his findings public.