Mayor addresses disciplinary action within Seattle Police Department

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 21, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 22 at 12:10 AM

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Friday spoke out about disciplinary action within the Seattle Police Department.

Murray is defending Interim Police Chief Harry Bailey, who reduced the penalty of Seattle Police Officer John Marion. Marion originally got a one-day suspension for threatening to harass Dominic Holden, who is a reporter and news editor for The Stranger newspaper.  The punishment was changed to Marion being required to get more training.

"While this could be perceived as a lesser punishment under the current legal framework, Chief Bailey believes, and I support him, that the framework for this process is reflective of what is most constructive," said the mayor.  "Training.  Changing behavior."

The one-day suspension, Murray says, would not be as effective because Marion, or any other officer who is suspended, could use vacation pay to make up the hours and income he would've lost.

Holden says Marion was let off too easy, and argues that the officer could have been ordered to go through more training, in addition to the one-day suspension.

"Training is not a punishment," said Holden.  "Training is what we should be doing no matter what.  What police officers do is punish people who do wrong, and we need the same standards for them as they give us."

Holden also says the interim chief mis-led city officials, including the mayor, by trying to pretend he had not reduced the officer's punishment.

"The letter you sent to the mayor and city council says you concurred with the finding of misconduct," Holden challenged Bailey during Friday's press conference. 

Then he turned his attention to the mayor.

"If you want to reform a police department, don't you want a chief who is honest with you?"  he asked.

Mayor Murray immediately responded.

"First of all, I disagree with you," said Murray.  "I believe we have a chief who is honest and taking action against individuals who need to have action taken against them."

Holden isn't so sure.

"The police chief has let him off the hook and that sends a message to all cops that you can commit acts of misconduct and you can simply wait it out and political forces will free you later," he said.

If was also disclosed Friday that Bailey changed the discipline of several more officers, in unrelated cases.

Mayor Ed Murray has asked for a review of the entire grievance process.  He hopes that re-evaluating the process will help both the public and the police department.
 

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