The U.S. Department of Justice is now joining the city in saying that the SPD is now compliant with court-ordered reforms.
U.S. attorney Annette Hayes on Friday wrote in a court report that the SPD has “eliminated" the patterns of unconstitutional policing that initially led to the U.S. DOJ lawsuit against the city in 2012, when the federal administration found SPD with patterns of excessive force and biased policing.
"This conclusion does not mean the police department is perfect, nor does it end the hard work required under the decree," Hayes said in a statement Friday. "There is more to do and issues that need to be addressed. Rather, this milestone represents the end of one chapter and the beginning of another."
The city attorney's office last month asked U.S. District Judge James Robart to determine that Seattle has met the DOJ's requirements on police reform—the first time the city explicitly asked for the determination since the process began five years ago. That puts the city in conflict with federal monitor Merrick Bobb, who in an earlier report said the city made "great progress" but fell short of saying it was in full compliance.
Hayes said she concluded the city met its obligations based on 10 assessments conducted by the monitor and the DOJ's own independent review. If Robart sides with the city, SPD would then need to prove it remains compliant with the consent decree for two years. Bobb's response to the city's motion is due October 20.
"As we continue our work together to create a 21st century police service, I look forward to an ever-increasing relationship of trust between the people of Seattle and our officers," Mayor Tim Burgess said in a statement Friday, crediting SPD officers for what he and Hayes called a milestone in the city's police reform efforts. "We all look forward to the monitor's filing next week."