Say Their Names

John T. Williams 8/30/2010
Eric Blaine Evans 10/23/2011
Mike Kwan-Yu Chen 09/10/2012
Henry Frankie Lee, Sr. 09/23/2012
James David Anderson 01/27/2013
Jack Sun Keewatinawin 02/26/2013
Joel Douglas Reuter 07/05/2013
Martin Anwar Duckworth 08/12/2013
Leonid G. Kalyuzhnyy 11/29/2013
Andrew Joseph Law 01/20/2014
Cody Willis Spafford 04/03/2014
Oscar Eduardo Perez-Giron 06/30/2014
Austin James Derby 07/01/2014
Larry Andrew Flynn 07/20/2014
Stephen Porter Johnston 08/30/2014
Sam Toshiro Smith 07/17/2015
Shun Ma 12/03/2015
Raymond Azevedo 12/06/2015
Che Andre Taylor 02/21/2016
Michael L. Taylor 10/11/2016
Damarius Butts 04/20/2017
Charleena Lyles 06/18/2017
Kyle Gray 12/11/2017
Jason Seavers 02/19/2018
Iosia Faletogo 12/31/2018
Danny Rodriguez 02/07/2019
Ryan Smith 05/08/2019
Elliott Yearby 12/16/2019 (died in a crash after police pursuit)
Shaun Fuhr on 4/29/2020
Unnamed 05/19/2020

These names are of local victims who have died at the hands of the Seattle Police Department (SPD). These individuals did not make national headlines. Not only must we remember them, but also realize this list is indicative that the City of Seattle faces challenges similar to that of other cities where Black Americans’ lives are ended too soon because of racist violence and brutality. Say their names.

Since 2012, SPD has been under a federal agreement, also known as the federal Consent Decree, due to officers’ use of force and discriminatory policing particularly in communities of color. Under this settlement, SPD agreed to terms that addressed specific issues around police discipline, accountability, force, and community oversight. The City fell out of compliance with the Consent Decree last year because of the lack of police accountability. The court found that “the old accountability system [was] inadequate for purposes of compliance with the Consent Decree.” The City, the Department of Justice, the Monitor, and the CPC were ordered to collaborate and create a plan by July 15, 2019 to “resolve the City’s non-compliance with the Consent Decree.” On August 15, with no collaboration with the Community Police Commission (CPC), the City asked the court to approve its methodology for assessing the current accountability regime. The court warned that the City should not use its forthcoming assessment to “justify its current accountability system.”

On May 7, the City of Seattle and the Department of Justice filed a request with the court to terminate its commitments under the Consent Decree. To this day, the City has yet to formulate a methodology for coming back into compliance with the issue of accountability, as ordered in 2019. Then, the heinous, tragic murder of George Floyd happened and widespread protests ensued across the country, including in Seattle. SPD arrived in riot gear, used tear gas on demonstrators, pepper-sprayed a little girl, and threw blast balls into peaceful crowds.

SPD’s recent militant responses to peaceful protestors and the unprecedented number of public complaints received by the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) that now exceed 15,000 make it clear that the City of Seattle is constitutionally and morally obligated to achieve full compliance on the issue of accountability. Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes announced on June 3 that he would withdraw the City from the pending motion to terminate the sustainment areas under the Federal Consent Decree before the court. This announcement was a victory for our community, yet our City still has an immense amount of work to do. Change is overdue, and the community needs your help to overhaul the policing system.

As protests about systemic injustice and violence against Black Americans continue, we as a community must hold SPD accountable for complying with its court-ordered police reforms. To that end, the Seattle Community Police Commission (CPC) shared its recommendations for the next steps with the Mayor and City Council. The CPC has also submitted its legal response to the motion.

El Centro de la Raza supports the CPC’s recommendations as outlined on June 8, 2020 in a letter from the Co-chairs addressed to the offices of the Mayor and Councilmembers and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best. The CPC recommends:

  • Immediate notification of SPD’s policy changes. The CPC can do their job more effectively if commissioners were aware of all policy changes and related memoranda issued by the City, including SPD.
  • Immediate work to address weaknesses in the police accountability system. The City’s three accountability bodies should convene to develop work plans that are comprehensive, coordinated, and compliant with the Consent Decree, starting with the development of a methodology to achieve compliance with the Consent Decree on the issue of accountability. The CPC expects the City to allocate adequate resources to oversight agencies and to ensure, at minimum, all the reforms in the 2017 Accountability Law are incorporated in the bargaining agendas with both Seattle Police Officers Guild and Seattle Police Management Association, including a mutually approved technical advisor to be at the table during bargaining. Only then can the CPC do its job.
  • Empowerment to the CPC to fulfill its mission. The CPC welcomes a meaningful, sustained partnership with City partners to collaborate on projects from start to completion regarding roles, responsibilities, expectations, and execution.
  • The City to address the role of an independent police monitor, as the federal court had ordered. The City has recently informed the Monitor that its contract is ending soon. However, the City has not yet conferred with the CPC about the Monitor’s ongoing role.
  • Support of King County’s inquest reforms. The City should not only withdraw its writ challenging the inquest process, but it should immediately work with the CPC to support the reforms.

We ask you to join us in supporting the CPC’s recommendations detailed in their letter to make meaningful, sustainable change in our policing system that has failed the general public. Yesterday we closed in solidarity with Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (BLMSKC) in support of the Statewide Silent March and General Strike. We were silent yesterday and today we resume efforts using our collective voices. Please contact elected officials by phone and email to express your support using the following script:

Dear Mayor Durkan and Seattle City Councilmembers,

I call on you to respond to the CPC’s recommendations sent on June 8 in public support of their recommendations for the next steps in healing the mistrust toward local law enforcement and setting a precedent to protect Black and Brown lives. My demand is simple: ensure a thorough, transparent, and community-centered process for strengthening our relationship with the City by investing in social service providers trained to handle crises and issues relating to education, healthcare including mental health services, employment, and affordable housing. Thank you.


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