News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington


March 31, 2011

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it has opened a pattern
or practice investigation into allegations of use of excessive force and discriminatory policing by
members of the Seattle Police Department (SPD), pursuant to the pattern or practice provision of
the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the anti-discrimination provisions
of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964.

The Justice Department will seek to determine whether there are systemic violations of
the Constitution or federal law by officers of the SPD. During the course of our investigation, the
Justice Department will consider all relevant information, particularly the efforts that Seattle has
undertaken to ensure compliance with federal law. The Justice Department has taken similar
steps in a variety of state and local law enforcement agencies, both large and small, in
jurisdictions such as New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and

Today’s announcement is separate from any ongoing federal criminal investigation
involving the Seattle Police Department.

This matter is being investigated jointly by attorneys from the Civil Rights Division’s
Special Litigation Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of
Washington. The Department welcomes any information from the community. If you have any
comments or concerns, please feel free to contact us at or 855-

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