Seattle council approves sweeping police accountability legislation

Seattle City Council approved sweeping legislation Monday on police accountability. It still needs approval from the police union and a federal judge. Already, some are celebrating while others raise concerns.

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On Monday, the Seattle City Council passed a hefty piece of legislation designed to push for more transparency, and issue a reform of the checks and balances at the Seattle Police Department.

The legislation will include a civilian-led Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) and civilian Office of Inspector General, which will be an independent auditor and monitor of the police department. The OPA would have a chance to investigate individual complaints about the police.

The legislation also creates a Community Police Commission.

Seattle's Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes have both expressed concerns about creating more government process in the department. 

Kevin Stuckey, president of Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, said he does not want to impede anything.

“If this is what the community wants, they have a say-so in how they are being policed," Stuckey said. "I’m just here to say let’s play by the rules. As long as we play by the rules, by the state law, I’m in like I’ve always been because this is my community too.”

Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez said she's been working for 12 years on police reform, "ever since graduating from law school."

Gonzalez hopes the legislation can be implemented and people hired by the end of this year.

However, it's unclear how the legislation will be fit into current collective bargaining with the Seattle Police Guild. A federal judge also still needs to approve it.

Gonzalez said the ordinance has already included nine total committee meetings and two public hearings.

© 2017 KING-TV


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