Seattle City Council
SUBJECT: Joint statement by City Councilmembers Sally J. Clark, Bruce Harrell, Tim Burgess and Nick Licata with City Attorney Pete Holmes on selection process of the Seattle Police Department Monitor
10/17/2012 5:30:00 PM
Dana Robinson Slote (206) 615-0061
Kimberly Mills (206) 684-8602
City Attorney Pete Holmes
Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Nick Licata
Joint statement by City Councilmembers Sally J. Clark, Bruce Harrell, Tim Burgess and Nick Licata with City Attorney Pete Holmes on selection process of the Seattle Police Department Monitor
City Attorney Pete Holmes, City Council President Sally J. Clark, and Councilmembers Bruce Harrell, Nick Licata and Tim Burgess issued the following statement on the selection process of the Seattle Police Department Monitor:
“Earlier today, Mayor McGinn chose to publicly question the qualifications and integrity of one of the candidates to be appointed the monitor of the Seattle Police Department. The Mayor’s statements undermine the candidate selection process and are factually wrong.
“It has been 10 months since the Department of Justice issued its report calling for reform of our Police Department. We have been patient throughout this process, hoping that the necessary reforms could begin quickly. Unfortunately, the Mayor’s statements today reveal a continuation of the obstruction and stall tactics we have seen from the beginning. We can no longer remain silent.
“Merrick Bobb is one of our country’s preeminent police reform experts. His reputation is unblemished. His experience with police practices, accountability and rebuilding public trust and confidence in the police is extensive and highly appropriate for Seattle.
“All five of us interviewed the finalists for the monitor position. All five of us—independently and contrary to the Mayor’s conclusion—ranked Mr. Bobb as our first choice for this very important position. We intend to advance our recommendation favoring Mr. Bobb’s appointment.
“While the opinions of our Chief of Police and his top commanders deserve our attention and consideration, we do not agree that the leadership of the Police Department should have veto authority over this selection. The monitor’s selection is central to the success of the overall effort to improve SPD’s use of force policies and reduce biased policing. Above all, the people of Seattle must be confident that the selection of the monitor is objective, free from inappropriate interference, and focused on the long-term reform of policing in Seattle.
“Unfortunately, the Mayor’s statements today contribute confusion, doubt and mistrust, especially among our rank and file police officers who we believe are fully ready to embrace high-quality and professional improvements of the Police Department.
“We are at a crucial time in this process that began 10 months ago. What is required is strong, decisive leadership focused at advancing the reforms we believe are necessary.”