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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Statement of U.S. Attorney on Court’s Decision to Grant City of Seattle’s Motion for Full and Effective Compliance with the Consent Decree

SEATTLE –  Today, U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart granted the City of Seattle’s “Motion for Full and Effective Compliance with the Consent Decree.”  The City entered into the Consent Decree with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2012 to address findings that DOJ made with respect to use of force and related constitutional issues.  Both the DOJ and the Community Police Commission filed responses in support of the City’s Motion in October, and responded to further questions from the Court in December. 


The Court ruled today that the City is in “full and effective compliance” with all requirements and obligations under the Consent Decree.  The Court’s ruling is based on ten assessments that cover all of the requirements of the Consent Decree and were conducted by the Monitor and DOJ.  The ruling now triggers a two-year period in which the Seattle Police Department (SPD) must hold compliance with those requirements. 


The following is a statement from Annette L. Hayes, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington:


Today, the Court recognized that the SPD has met a major milestone in the reform process – by putting in place new policies, critical training, and systems of oversight and accountability it has met all of the obligations contained in the Consent Decree.  This is a credit to the hard work of SPD and City leadership, engaged community members including the Community Police Commission, and SPD officers whose dedication to the mission is essential to reform.  We know that constitutional policing and effective policing go hand in hand, and that the safety of our City and the officers that serve us is enhanced when the civil rights of all are protected. 


The Court’s ruling is based on rigorous assessments that examined SPD’s compliance with all aspects of the Consent Decree.  As the Court pointed out, those data driven assessments demonstrate that SPD has eliminated the pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing that led to the Department of Justice’s investigation and findings in 2011.    


Today’s ruling does not end the City’s hard work.  SPD must sustain compliance for at least two years, and demonstrate that compliance to the Court and DOJ.  The Court has indicated that it will continue to closely monitor SPD over the next two years before deciding whether termination of all or part the Consent Decree is warranted.  We all must continue to hold SPD accountable to its commitments in the Consent Decree – to de-escalation, new and better approaches to people in crisis, and the internal supervision and independent civilian-led accountability systems that address problems when they arise. 


We look forward to the continued engagement of the entire community in this next phase of the Consent Decree to ensure that reform in Seattle is real and lasting.  There is no question that there remain parts of our City that expect more from their police department.  Their engagement will continue to be important as we move forward.  I know the new Mayor, City Attorney and City Council have made police reform a top priority, and I have full confidence that with that commitment, and the continued work by rank and file officers and command staff alike, SPD will continue its success under the Consent Decree



Civil Rights
Office and Personnel Updates
The press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for this matter is Thomas Bates, at (917) 304-2460.
Updated January 10, 2018