DOJ asks for more time on SPD contract case because of government shutdown
Another casualty of the partial government shutdown: progress on the contract between the City of Seattle and its police officers.
Department of Justice attorneys are asking a federal judge overseeing the Seattle Police Department consent decree for a stay on all pending deadlines in the case, citing the shutdown as the reason. It could push out a decision on the recently-approved contract for Seattle police officers.
The DOJ originally had until January 9, 2019 to respond to orders from Judge James Robart regarding the City of Seattle’s contract with its police officers. But with no end in sight for the federal shutdown, the DOJ has asked for a delay until the government reopens.
Judge Robart ordered SPD and the DOJ to file briefings in January, showing why he should not find SPD out of compliance with a 2012 consent decree.
Robart has concerns. He is wary of an arbitrator’s decision to reinstate an officer who was fired for punching a woman in handcuffs in the back of his patrol car in 2014. Judge Robart also said he is concerned about parts of the new police contract which the City Council approved in November.
The city responded to such concerns earlier this month, arguing that a single incident involving one police officer should not impact all the reforms they’ve put in place. Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office pointed out they are appealing the controversial decision to reinstate the offending officer.