Seattle City Council to consider bias-free policing law

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Seattle City Council to consider bias-free policing law



“Because I was black, that’s why they stopped me,” Sims told KIRO 7 last week.

Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell wants to know how often that happens.

“Let’s look at the data, let’s
look at it to see what’s trending, let’s have the officer explain why
they stopped (someone),” Harrell said.          

SPD is under a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice, which includes practices to monitor and prevent racial bias.

That consent decree will end after
the city fully complies for a year so Harrell wants to put bias-free
policing standards into city code so that practices continue after the

He also wants to expand on
anti-bias practice by collecting and analyzing demographic data on
police stops, and creating a system for people to easily file legal
claims against the city if they’ve been racially profiled.

In some cases, officers might be called before a hearing examiner to explain why they made a stop.

Payouts for cases before a hearing examiner would be capped at $5,000.

“Most people aren’t looking for
money in this situation. They’re looking for a rational and plausible
explanation for why they were stopped,” Harrell said.

Harrell addressed a question from
KIRO 7 about whether his proposal would contribute to what’s known as
“de-policing,” a hesitation to pull people over.

“That’s always a concern. If a
police officer isn’t willing to do their job and do their job
effectively, perhaps this isn’t a good line of work for them,” Harrell
said, adding that he expected officers would embrace the idea.

KIRO 7 reached out to the Seattle Police Officers Guild but received no response.

Harrell said he would wait to
formally introduce legislation until after an August meeting about SPD’s
compliance with the consent decree, and until after the outcome of a
police guild contract vote is known.