Seattle NAACP branch continues push for resignations of Kerlikowske, two officers
The NAACP today renewed its call for the resignation of Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske and two officers involved in the controversial...
Seattle Times staff reporter
The NAACP today renewed its call for the resignation of Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske and two officers involved in the controversial arrest of a drug dealer.
Speaking at a news conference, James Bible, president of the Seattle-King County Branch NAACP, urged Kerlikowske and officers Greg Neubert and Michael Tietjen to resign for violating the civil rights of George "Troy" Patterson during his arrest Jan 2. The arrest is at the center of a brewing controversy over the chief's intervention in the recommended punishment of the two officers.
"We have a leadership problem in Seattle. A crisis of character," said Bible.
Neubert and Tietjen arrested Patterson, 26, a convicted drug dealer, for allegedly possessing drugs. The arrest was caught on videotape, and the tape conflicted with the officers' written reports of the incident and raised questions about their honesty and credibility.
Patterson claimed the officers roughed him up and then planted drugs on him. Kerlikowske exonerated the officers on those charges but disciplined them for a relatively minor policy violation for not documenting the arrest and release of another suspect at the scene.
In reviewing the case, the department's Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB) accused Kerlikowske of taking extraordinary measures to protect the officers.
During the news conference, Bible asserted the "chief himself got in the way of a proper investigation."
"Our review system, our OPA needs to be stronger," Bible argued.
Kerlikowske criticized the report's co-author, review-board chairman Peter Holmes, accusing him of playing politics with the Police Department. The chief has said it's his job to monitor investigations.
On Wednesday, Mayor Greg Nickels asked new OPA leader, Kathryn Olson, to review the case, including the chief's role. Holmes criticized Nickels' decision, saying that Olson's role presents conflicts of interest: She would be reviewing the work of her own department; the role of Kerlikowske; and she would be looking at the work of the review board that oversees her office.
Olson said she sees no conflict in her role. Last month, the NAACP demanded the resignations of Kerlikowske and the two officers. NAACP leaders also met with the FBI to ask if they would investigate the case on the basis of civil-rights violations.
When the FBI completes its investigation, the findings will be forwarded to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle and to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office of Western Washington.
The Civil Rights Division will decide whether a full investigation by the FBI into the allegations of wrongdoing is warranted.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.