SEATTLE, WA – With months’ worth of protests and riots that the city of Seattle has faced, the entity which is tasked with investigating complaints regarding police misconduct has been overwhelmed with cases to the point where it almost unmanageable.
Of course, the agency that handles that task might have likely done it to themselves, since they no longer require that someone be an actual witness to police misconduct in order to report police misconduct.
Seattle police oversight agency struggles to handle avalanche of complaints https://t.co/R8rXxdLIe2
— Debi Lattimer #cancer warrior (@DebiLattimer) September 1, 2020
Andrew Myerberg is the director of the Office of Police Accountability, which is commonly referred to as the OPA. He says that there are currently 87 ongoing investigations linked police misconduct that have stemmed merely from this summer’s protests and riots.
According to Myerberg, somewhere between 80% to 90% of those investigations allege excessive force from officers.
Initally, Myerberg promised that the OPA would be able to resolve any investigations linked to the protests and riots within a 60-day timeframe. However, that promise is one that isn’t sustainable, after seeing the complexity of many of these cases that allege police misconduct and excessive force.
About 80 to 90 percent of the complaints allege excessive use of force by police. The Office of Police Accountability initially planned to resolve protest-related complaints within 60 days, but that hasn’t been possible given the high number of complaints and their complexity. https://t.co/fpn2n0L2ki
— Kari Plog (@KariPlog) September 1, 2020
One aspect that Myerberg noted is that they may get a complaint of someone getting hit with an impact round or pepper spray but can’t clearly identify which officer used said less-lethal force.
Even when video accompanies an allegation, Myerberg stated that often times even the video doesn’t give much context or identifying information:
“It may be the case that we can identify misconduct and make a finding based on that 20 seconds of video on Twitter. But in most cases there’s a substantial amount of body-worn video and recordings by community members we need to also review before we can reach a conclusion.”
In Myerberg’s role with the OPA, he and the agency is tasked with reviewing the complaints, gathering the evidence and delivering their findings and recommendations to the active police chief.
With the advent of things like Twitter videos causing people to phone in to the OPA with complaints, Myerberg explained that it has created a lot of multiple complaints over one singular incidents.
The OPA is said to have received roughly 19,000 complaints recently, and about 14,000 of them were linked to images and video from May 30th where a young girl had been exposed to pepper spray. Myerberg stated that about 99% of the complaints filed have come from people who were not direct witnesses to the incident.
— Recall Durkan (@recall_durkan) September 1, 2020
The rationale for amending the requirement for a complainant to be a physical witness, according to Myerberg, was because the agency didn’t want to disregard possible misconduct cases captured on video:
“We wanted to make sure that we were able to act if we saw evidence of police misconduct on a video posted to Twitter.”
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to ensure that accountability in policing is being monitored and investigated, one also cannot be surprised that a police accountability agency would be flooded with complaints in a period where anti-police sentiments are at an all-time high.
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In other news surrounding the riots that impacted Seattle, the father of a slain teen that was murdered in the CHAZ/CHOP area is now pursuing a lawsuit regarding the death of his son.
Politicians allowed a group of violent anarchists to take over a 6-block area of Seattle.
Some called it the CHOP, others, the CHAZ. Whatever they called it, the area was a haven for lawlessness.
The leaders blocked off the streets. They prevented people from walking through the area if they didn’t want them there.
Father of teen killed near protest zone files $3B claims https://t.co/xGe46fnFGB
— Debi Lattimer #cancer warrior (@DebiLattimer) August 28, 2020
They extorted business owners for “safety”. The terrorized residents. People were brutally attacked.
Some lost their lives. One of those people was Lorenzo Anderson, a 19-year-old black man.
And the politician’s allowed it to happen. Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, said that the zone was patriotic. She said that “it could be the summer of love.”
Tell that to Horace Anderson. He is Lorenzo’s father.
Mr. Anderson is suing the city of Seattle, King County, and the state of Washington for $1B each. He is seeking $3B total. His attorney has filed wrongful death claims against each of the entities.
“We don’t exactly know where blame lies so we’re putting all the entities on notice and will begin the discovery process and flush out justice,” attorney Evan M. Oshan, told The Seattle Times.
The Associated Press reported that Anderson’s mother, Donnitta Sinclair Martin is also filing a suit against the city for an undisclosed amount.
Her claim was based on the belief that officials allowed the zone to be created and that police and fire officials failed to protect or medically assist her son.
Keep in mind, responding officers were prevented from entering the area by the crowds of people.
Horace Lorenzo Anderson, Jr. left behind his father, Horace Lorenzo Anderson, Sr. Remember his sleepless face, his tears, and his pleas that PEACE replace anger, division, and violence. No father should have to bury his son. 🙏Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images pic.twitter.com/EJ0d6FwYnA
— Kyrie Remark (@KyrieRemark) July 1, 2020
Some told officers that Anderson had already been transported to the hospital, where he died. After the 911 call, paramedics were staged nearby, but also could not enter the dangerous area until police had it secured.
The city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Service, along with the county Department of Executive Services have acknowledged receipt of the claims filed by Horace Anderson, but refused to comment, citing policies regarding comments on pending claims.
Washington’s Department of Enterprise Services said they have not received anything as of yet.
This is absolutely heartbreaking and one of the most powerful interviews I’ve seen. I’ll not forget Horace Lorenzo Anderson Sr. and his son, Jr. This man didn’t get a briefing. He has to bury his son who died in the streets of America as a civilian in Seattle. Life is treasure.🙏 pic.twitter.com/BrHLULXS9M
— Bonnie Chambers (@BonnieC919) July 2, 2020
The autonomous zone where Lorenzo was killed was founded as part of the Black Lives Matter protests that started after the death of George Floyd. Two of the central themes of those protests have been “defunding the police” and “Democrats love us, Trump is evil.”
Ironically, Anderson received a call from the President.
“Incredibly, Donald Trump called me. The President of the United States called me and talked to me today. He gave his condolences, and me, I’m not a political guy. I told him, ‘Nobody likes you.’ I’m real. But I will tell you on this camera, Donald Trump called me and he didn’t have to call me.”
He had not heard from the mayor or the governor after his son’s death.
“It’s like they didn’t care, it didn’t matter. I haven’t heard from the mayor, from the police department. No city. Nobody.”
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