The police serve and protect, but when an officer oversteps his or her authority, the consequences can be devastating. Fortunately, when this happens, there are organizations like Lead Counsel that can help you find the best Seattle police misconduct advocate to represent you. This organization independently verifies police misconduct lawyers in Washington and checks their standing with bar associations. It also reviews attorneys’ past experience and accomplishments in civil rights cases involving the police.
Civil Rights Organizations
Following the death of Freddie Gray in 2015, activists in Seattle and throughout the country began to speak out against police brutality. They sought to address the lack of repercussions against officers who committed assaults, gun violence and other forms of misconduct. The ACLU of Washington and other civil rights groups petitioned the City Council to hold a public hearing about these allegations and pushed for the creation of a civilian review board.
In 1976, it came to light that Seattle’s police Seattle police misconduct advocate for legal representation department was spying on political activists, including black construction workers, local Republican Party operatives and low-income housing advocates. The revelations triggered the American Friends Service Committee and the National Lawyers Guild to form the Coalition on Government Spying. After a long campaign, the group succeeded in getting Seattle to adopt the first municipal law of its kind that limits surveillance of political activists.
While this is a good start, many civil rights activists felt that the system still needed further reforms. One of the more effective campaigns was the “freedom patrols,” in which community members walked behind and observed beat-cops in the Central District. This non-violent strategy worked to generate a more comprehensive response from the City Council and the mayor’s office than the usual request for an inquest into the Reese case or for the formation of a police review board.
In addition to the work of individual lawyers, the ACLU of Washington and other civil rights groups support an organization called OPA (Office of Professional Accountability). This group is charged with conducting systemic oversight of SPD and investigating allegations of possible police misconduct. The organization is led by a civilian director and a staff of supervisors, along with police sergeants.
OPA is also charged with classifying each complaint and deciding whether it requires a full investigation or can be handled by a supervisor. It also examines investigations of possible police misconduct to make sure they were conducted objectively, thorough and timely.
Despite these efforts, the city’s last contract with its police union left OPA in a precarious position. The city is now in the process of bargaining for a new agreement that could significantly change OPA’s structure.
In the meantime, the city has adopted a number of policies to encourage more transparency and accountability within the police force. Some of these include: