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Police Trust Varies Widely by Neighborhood: Capitol Hill scores 48 while Madison Park scores 72.1

Notes from the Emerald City
Police Trust Varies Widely by Neighborhood: Capitol Hill scores 48 while Madison Park scores 72.1
By Amy Sundberg • Issue #4 • View online
State legislative updates, the PBP presentation postponed, confusion reigns in the legislature over the Blake decision, the SPD continues to ignore the CPC, and an interesting interview of Nikkita Oliver.

While we all draw a breath of relief over the verdict in the Chauvin trial this afternoon, we must recognize this is only one case among so many and continue to demand more. I am grateful for all of you who are engaged in this work. Together we have the hope of achieving much more change than we could do alone.
State Legislative News
At this week’s Seattle Council Briefing, we received the last state legislative update from OIR. As of yesterday morning, bill 5051 on decertification and bill 5066 on duty to intervene were both waiting for concurrence. The House has refused to concur on Bill 1054 on tactics and bill 1310 on use of force, so those two bills have been sent to conference, where those involved hope to reach a resolution before the end of the legislative session on Sunday.
Amy Sundberg on Twitter: "Hello, it's time for this morning's Seattle Council Briefing!"
Meanwhile there is still a lot of confusion over legislation to address the Blake decision, as legislators only have until Sunday to pass a vehicle. If they don’t achieve this in time, local jurisdictions will have to deal with the decision in an inconsistent and patchwork way, although a special session of the legislature may be convened in part to deal with this open question. But if 5476 passes as currently phrased, it could initiate other problems, such as a question of jurisdiction of the City of Seattle vs King County. As David Kroman eloquently states,
First, for the city to start prosecuting people for gross misdemeanor drug possession, the Seattle City Council would have to add the offense to its municipal code. Lewis is confident there are not five votes to do that because the council is not interested in “how we are going to rearrange the deck chairs on the war on drugs.
Seattle News
Today’s Community Economic Development committee meeting, where we expected to hear a presentation of participatory budgeting, was postponed at the last minute due to the imminent delivery of the Chauvin verdict. It is supposed to be rescheduled sometime during the next week.
The CPC remains concerned that the Seattle Police Department’s use of force and crowd control policies do not do enough to keep protesters and other members of the community safe. Since 2017, we have recommended dozens of changes to these policies, including banning tear gas and blast balls, creating protections for protest medics, and instituting higher standards for when police can declare protests to be unlawful. Just this January, we gathered feedback from the community and held a town hall that helped the CPC make 15 additional, community-based recommendations in this area. Many of these recommendations remain unimplemented.
We were not aware of SPD’s press release. However, if they are interested in better protecting our community by instituting changes to their crowd management policies – we remain ready to work with them to immediately implement the CPC’s recommendations.
The 2020 Seattle Public Safety Survey results have been released. Administered by Seattle University in partnership with SPD, the survey was answered by over 11,000 Seattle residents. The Capitol Hill Seattle Blog commented on the striking disparity of police legitimacy based on neighborhood:
Similarly, the average score citywide on the police legitimacy scale was 58.4, down slightly from 59.3 the year before. But if you look at the East Precinct, that number drops to 50.4; in 2019, it was 55.5. Going even further, Capitol Hill’s score was 48 and the Central Area’s 47.1 in 2020, signaling less trust of police in these communities.
Meanwhile, a more prosperous neighborhood like Madison Park scored 72.1 on the police legitimacy scale, indicating that residents there feel police to be more fair and trustworthy.
As we continue to move further into election season, it’s important to remember one of the deciding factors of the Seattle primaries will be who and how many turn out to vote on August 3.
Nathalie Graham wrote an insightful piece about Nikkita Oliver, one of the candidates for City Council Seat 9. About policing in Seattle, Oliver says, “"I think we have spent a lot of years talking about changing the culture of policing…. There is no reforming policing as we know it. There is dismantling and building the public health and public safety system.” They go onto discuss how their platform about housing, transportation, health care, and child care creates their vision of what public safety can be.
If you’re interested in hearing Nikkita Oliver speak, they have a Town Hall conversation coming up with Danielle Sered, who wrote the book Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair. The event will be livestreamed on Sunday, May 2 at 2pm and costs $5 to attend.
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Amy Sundberg

This newsletter covers Seattle politics and policy with a particular focus on police accountability and criminal legal reform, while also referencing relevant news in Washington State and beyond.

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