More than 100 Police Sue Over Use of Force Policy
By Derek Wang
Dozens of Seattle police officers have filed a legal complaint against city and federal officials. The officers say a new policy that dictates how police can use force restricts their constitutional rights to protect themselves. Lisa Battalia is a spokeswoman for the officers.
Battalia: "It's incredibly complicated, it's over 70 pages long. It has 25 different situations in which an officer should figure out whether the situation is applicable and respond in a different way than what they've been trained to do, than what they expect to do. These are split second decisions in really dangerous, threatening, fast paced situations."
Two years ago, Seattle officials agreed to an independent monitor and court oversight of the city's police department. It's part of a deal with the Justice Department, following a report that found officers routinely used excessive force.
In the complaint, the officers' say the use-of-force policies, "unreasonably restrict and burden their right to protect themselves and others."
Among those named in the lawsuit are Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, City Attorney Pete Holmes and the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Mayor Murray's office released a statement last night saying it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the lawsuit as he hadn't had a chance to review it. However, the statement went on to say that the police department will comply with the terms of the court order to reform.
In his words, "The City of Seattle will not fight the Civil Rights Divison of the U.S. Department of Justice. -- This is not the 1960's."