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City of Seattle
Seattle City Council

SUBJECT: Seattle City Council Confirms Pierce Murphy to serve as new Director of the Office of Professional Accountability

6/24/2013  3:20:00 PM
Vinh Tang, Councilmember Harrell's Office, 206-684-8804

Dana Robinson Slote  (206) 615-0061

Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell

Seattle City Council Confirms Pierce Murphy
Murphy to serve as new Director of the Office of Professional Accountability

Seattle - City Council unanimously confirmed Pierce Murphy as Director of the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) today. The Office of Professional Accountability receives and investigates complaints about police misconduct in the Seattle Police Department.

"Mr. Murphy must first listen and build trust with the Seattle community," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. "The new OPA Director must work toward establishing credibility with all groups, including diverse communities and must also communicate clearly and effectively with police accountability advocates and police officers. All communities should feel they have been listened to and believe that the OPA complaint process works in bringing forward police discipline and advancing police accountability measures."

Over the last eight weeks, the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee conducted a comprehensive examination of Mr. Murphy's background and ability to serve the community as its new police accountability director.

The Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee collaborated with the following organizations during the confirmation process: Mothers for Police Accountability, United Black Christian Clergy of Washington, Washington State Commission on African American Affairs, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, Columbia Legal Services, Defender Association, Community Police Commission, American Civil Liberties Union, Chief Seattle Club, Seattle King County NAACP, El Centro de la Raza, Minority Executive Directors Coalition of King County, Washington Human Rights Commission, Office of Professional Accountability Review Board, and Sea-Mar.

Chris Stearns, Chairman of the Seattle Human Rights Commission said, "OPA Director Nominee Pierce Murphy will have to work hard to earn the trust of Seattle's communities of color. Community members have watched video of police uses of force on television and, after all is said and done, have been left wondering if the Office of Professional Accountability can effectively discipline police officers. Bringing reform to the OPA will require that Murphy have a clear and powerful vision, a sensitive ear to community concerns and a willingness to work with the community, the Council, the Community Police Commission and others in making meaningful reform."

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