SEATTLE -- The Department of Justice will meet with City of Seattle leaders Friday to negotiate their court ordered changes for the city's police department.
Former DOJ employee criticizes investigation into Seattle's Police Department
The Department of Justice (DOJ) launched an investigation last spring following the fatal shooting of a homeless Native American woodcarver and other reported uses of force against minority suspects. The probe found Seattle police have engaged in excessive force that violated federal law and the Constitution.
Hickman, who has made his voice heard in editorials, was previously a statistician with the Bureau of Justice before leaving for a his current job at the university.
In the initial report from the DOJ, investigators found that when Seattle police officers used force, they did so in an unconstitutional manner nearly 20 percent of the time saying officers were too quickly to resort to use of weapons (such as batons and flashlights). Investigators also said officers escalated situations by usingunnecessary or excessive force when arresting individuals for minor offenses.
What the now assistant professor doesn't know is how the DOJ came up with their percentages.
There's no definition of excessive force or what a pattern is, it's whatever the DOJ says it is and I would like to see that change, said Hickman.
Hickman isn't saying there's no room for improvement in the Seattle Police Department, but is saying the city should fight for its officers in Friday's meeting.
Those quantitative findings of use of force, I want Seattle to push back on those and DOJ should retract them because, unless this matter goes to court, they're not required to produce their methodology and they have not yet done so, said Hickman.
Whatever changes are agreed on between the DOJ and the city, they will come at the cost of taxpayers because the city will foot the bill.
As far as how much that will be is still in question.
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