Today BLMSKC sent a letter to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), demanding an investigation into the actions of officers of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and the Office of Police Accountability (OPA).
Events involving SPD took place during the #BLM and #Defund protests this summer that should be investigated, including:
- Police using “less-lethal” and chemical weapons on protestors after a judge told them to stop. This needs to be investigated.
- Cops in Seattle allegedly using personal cell phones to take or share pictures of members of the public (personal devices are harder to scrutinize than SPD equipment), and accessing records of the individuals to target them. This, too, needs to be investigated.
- Seattle officers assigned to the East Precinct abandoning the building two days after an email was sent to every officer by an Assistant Chief pledging it would not be abandoned. The decision to leave was seemingly made by cops on the ground, coordinating with each other, and further jeopardizing public safety. That’s a problem, and it needs to be investigated.
Why we didn’t go to the Office for Police Accountability (OPA)
Our demand for an investigation includes an investigation of OPA, which may have unlawfully or unethically shared information with officers or reporters. The OPA can’t investigate itself. That means it’s up to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). OIG’s job is to ensure the fairness and integrity of SPD and OPA by reviewing their actions.
The big picture
Earlier this week we demanded the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission investigate actions by City Council connected to the summer protests.
Now we’re calling the OIG to look into the police.
Why all the investigations?
Because people who carry a badge and a gun have rules and laws to follow, too. When they don’t, our community is hurt the most. We have all seen that happen, time and time again, and what we are concerned about, is that these things are connected.
Holding police and elected officials accountable is part of how we show them that we’re paying attention. It’s how we show that we demand answers and accountability.
That said, filing for investigations doesn’t necessarily mean we have faith that the system will ultimately do the right thing. It means we have faith in our community to point out where the system is failing, and demand better.
What you can do
Systemic racism has long kept Black and other communities of color from exercising the oversight that is our right—not everyone has the time or resources or experience to demand an investigation, even when one is needed. BLMSKC has started the process, and you can make the demand for transparency and accountability louder and stronger by taking direct action now.
Tell the OIG you want to see an immediate and thorough investigation of SPD’s actions during recent protests. We deserve to know what happened and why.
If the link above does not open in your email app, copy the content below and send in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inspector General Lisa Judge,
I am joining Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County in demanding we see an immediate and thorough investigation of SPD’s actions during recent protests, and of the OPA, which may have unlawfully or unethically shared information with officers or reporters.
We deserve to know what happened and why.