Thursday, September 21, 2006

I received this this morning from Councilmember Nick Licata, -which was a nice response to my original email from yesterday (included below)
"I am in receipt of your letter, relating to an incident that happened on
September 15, 2006. Thank you for writing to me about your concerns
about the Seattle Police Department's involvement in this incident.

In 1999 the City Council passed legislation to create a police
accountability mechanism for investigating charges of police misconduct.
This mechanism is called the Office of Professional Accountability
(OPA). Any person who believes that an officer has committed misconduct
may file a complaint with this office.

I have been notified by the Mayor's office that OPA will be looking into
this recent serious allegation.

The steps of the OPA's review are as follows:
1. All complaints are reviewed and documented.
2. The complaints are classified according to their nature and the
3.Complainants will be informed of the classification of the
complaint and the method by which it will be resolved or investigated.
4.The complaint(s) are investigated by police officers who work in
the investigation unit of the OPA.
5.That unit forwards its investigation and recommended findings
for review by the civilian Director of the OPA.
6.The Director may concur with the recommended findings, direct
additional investigation, or recommend a different finding to the Chief
of Police.
7.If a complaint is assigned for investigation, the OPA will send
the complainant a notice that includes a case number and the name and
telephone number of the investigator assigned.
The OPA goal is to complete the investigation within 90 days. If it
appears that the investigation will take longer, OPA will provide status
reports every 60 days.
Completed investigations receive one of seven findings:
1) "Sustained" - means the allegation of misconduct is supported by a
preponderance of the evidence.
2) "Non-sustained" - means the allegation of misconduct was neither
proved nor disproved by a preponderance of the evidence.
3) "Unfounded" - means a preponderance of evidence indicates the
alleged act did not occur as reported or classified, or is false.
4) "Exonerated" - means a preponderance of evidence indicates the
conduct alleged did occur, but that the conduct was justified, lawful
and proper.
5) "Supervisory Resolution" - means while there may have been a
violation of policy, it was not willful, and/or the violation did not
amount to misconduct. The employee's chain of command is to provide
appropriate training, counseling and/or to
review for deficient policies or inadequate training.
6) "Administratively Unfounded/Exonerated" - is a discretionary finding
which may be made prior to the completion that the complaint was
determined to be significantly flawed procedurally or legally; or
without merit, i.e., complaint is false or subject recants allegations,
preliminary investigation reveals mistaken/wrongful employee
identification, etc, or the employee's actions were found to be
justified, lawful and proper and according to training.
7) "Administratively Inactivated" - means that the investigation cannot
proceed forward, usually due to insufficient information or the pendency
of other investigations. The investigation may be reactivated upon the
discovery of new, substantive information or evidence.
I have copied the OPA Director and the Chief of Police. Thank you again
for writing to me and thank you for supporting police accountability.


Councilmember Nick Licata

CC: Sam Pailca, Director Office of Police
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