Mayor Durkan vows to meet with Seattle protest organizers
After speaking to protesters on the steps of the Emergency Management Office in downtown Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan promised to address a handful of concerns voiced by them in recent days.
“Trust between law enforcement and community is earned,” Mayor Durkan said Tuesday. “Every single action with a police officer either adds to or takes away community trust. Right now in Seattle, and in cities across America, we don’t have that trust. But in Seattle we’re committed to rebuilding it.”
To that end, the city’s civilian-led Office of Police Accountability and the Office of the Inspector General will be “reviewing and auditing SPD’s response to the demonstrations” in Seattle.
Durkan also vowed to change the Seattle Police Department’s strategy regarding “mourning bands,” after concerns were raised over officer badge numbers being concealed by black electrical tape.
The mourning band is used as a symbol to honor officers lost in the line of duty, allowing a black band not exceeding a half-inch placed around an officer’s badge. Seattle officers have been seen wearing them in recent days in memory of fellow police lost to COVID-19, and more recently, for a retired St. Louis cop who was killed by looters.
“Because of your voice, we are going to make a change. We are going to make sure that the badge number – it won’t be able to start tonight – but we are going to find a way that a badge number can be shown every time,” Durkan told the crowd gathered downtown on Tuesday.
Eventually, the hope will be to allow officers to mourn their fallen while still allowing badge numbers to be prominently displayed.
In response to community feedback, we’re working to update policies to ensure we are displaying both the officers name and badge number at all times. I believe that we can allow officers to mourn the fallen while also ensuring community can easily identify officers.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) June 3, 2020
Durkan also said the city would be looking at its policy regarding body cameras being turned off during protests, a measure that was initially enacted over concerns related to civil liberties and allowing law enforcement to identify peaceful protesters.
The mayor will be meeting with the Seattle Community Police Commission and protest organizers on Wednesday, who have requested that people submit ideas and questions to [email protected]
“We’ll make sure the broader public have visibility into ongoing discussions,” Durkan said.