Features Sep 26, 2012 at 4:00 am

If You Want Public Trust in the Police Department (and Meaningful Discipline for the Cops), Don't Reappoint the Same Person You've Had Doing the Job for the Last Five Years


The corruption never ends. This woman hired personally by McGinn has made over a Million in pay and benefits to basically give the citizens the FALSE impression that we had accountability which is PROVEN not to be. Sounds like defrauding the citizens to me.

Unfortunately part of her job is to report diorectly to the Seattle City Council and the Mayor. They all knew we had no accountability and allowed us be go through a federal investigation and now have a federal judge assigned to babysit our corrupt Seattle Police depatment.

The Seattle police emasculated themselves over and over. The citizens pay millions and millions in investigations, court costs and settlements for this corrupt police department while 95% of all Seattle police officers don't even live in Seattle.

When human filth gets a badge EVERYONE pays. and pays and pays and pays.
What I find frustrating about this story is the repeated references to "the public". And not just references to them, but the entire argument hinging on the views of "the public". Do you honestly think the average voter has any idea who Kathryn Olson is?

If there's someone who actually thinks Olson isn't doing a good job, other than you and Fuller's attorney, you've failed to point them out.

I think this is a great idea for a story. We have a heavy-handed (ok, fisted) police force, and this is the office that should be advocating for the victims. And I think it's fine point that you don't think she's doing a good job at this. But I was looking for a bit more meat to the story, considering the hard line you've taken.
Ms. Olson:

You want to hear it from the public? Okay, then. Here are some lowlights from your files:

08-0456: unlawful arrest of yours truly, captured on video and investigated by Caryn Lee. The video contradicted the officer's version of events by showing that I was ruled out as a suspect before I was ever asked for ID. And what's more, the law, which Sgt. Lee was aware of, stated that I was under no duty to produce ID in any case. Yet Sgt. Lee ignored both the facts and the law to exonerate the officer, and you signed off.

08-0512: Investigation of Sgt. Seth Dietrich for threatening to put a handcuffed detainee in a holding cell contaminated with Hepatitis C. Sgt. Dietrich admitted to the investigator (-- Sgt. Lee again --) that he made the statement, yet Sgt. Lee recommended a finding of "Unfounded." You intervened and changed the finding to "Exonerated."

09-0152: unlawful arrest of a photographer who refused to identify himself after taking pictures at REI. Without a way to avoid a sustained finding, your office reclassified the complaint as a PIR, effectively dropping the matter.

08-0364: an officer was accused of an unlawful search of a woman's purse. The officer admitted that he seized her purse and refused to give it back to her unless she allowed him to search it. Your office dropped the allegation, considering the search consensual, by ignoring the fact that her "permission" was extracted under the duress of an unlawful seizure of her property.

08-0382: unlawful arrest of a dock worker and his mother, where the dock worker, being under no duty to identify himself, was forcibly pulled from a car, taken to the ground, and tased. It's all clearly captured on video, but your office exonerated both officers for the unlawful use of force.

I'm not cherry-picking here; every OPA file I've seen is troubling. They're characterized by investigators overlooking facts on video that contradict officer statements. By investigators asking the officers leading questions, obviously designed to develop evidence unfavorable to complainants. By investigators tending not to interview available civilian witnesses. By investigators going to great lengths to investigate the political attitudes of arrestees, and using those attitudes as a basis to justify officers' actions.

Taken together, the records of your office's investigations show that OPA's mindset is oriented more towards finding reasons to exonerate officers than towards performing fair and thorough investigations.


I think it's mighty rich of Ms. Olson to appeal to the public, considering how OPA's investigative files have always been kept strictly confidential.* That goes to show how genuinely interested Ms. Olson is in keeping the public in the loop.

* OPA's records only became generally obtainable after an April 2011 supreme court decision, otherwise we would still be 100% in the dark about how OPA reaches its findings.
Correction, an August 2011 supreme court decision:
I would add another voice to the chorus that Ms. Olson apparently can't hear. What does she need? A letter on official "Public" letterhead stating that the "Public" really does not have faith in her or her police?

I'll toss my hat in the ring for her job, though. Hard to imagine an easier job with, apparently, no expectations.
Great article. I'll be honest, I didn't know that this office existed before I read this article, because it seemed as if no one was responsible for police accountablility. That there's someone responsible and they're doing this bad of a job is infuriating.
I was once pulled aside for jaywalking. The cop talks to me for a while and says, "You put me in a predicament." I said, "Oh, yeah?" "Yeah," the cop says, "the SPD has a reputation for ticketing black people more frequently than white people for jaywalking." I think he realized what he had said to me, and let me go for that reason alone.
I don't know if I'm an "average" voter, but I read the news, and I've known for a long time that Olson is a hack. Her and Diaz both have to go for any confidence to be restored in SPD. At least McGinn's job has an expiration date.
Couldn't but help notice the Injustice Defartment basically turned it's horny back on the people who asked them to investigate impoLICE brutality by members of the SPD in the first place . . . .(DIShonor amongst Satanists . . . .)
Welcome to America. FreeDOOM and hypocrisy in full force for the world to laugh at. This is an overdue article, but i understand the fear of many journalists in this 'free' country. The police has unbelievable rights and powers that most people do not have and dealing with them requires a lot of money. You can pretty much lose everything you have just by suing police over some little dispute in this country. Police is just dangerous here, only the rich can deal with them. If I was this woman, i would've probably killed myself by now... I wouldn't be able to live with myself... but she is not even resigning! Wow, talking about ambitious money hungry selfish parasites! Put liens on her assets and properties and give it back to the taxpayers. Lets see her fight for it with a public defender so we can laugh at her when she will be kicked out of court like a dog. That's right, put people like this through the system that they are protecting... I am really trying to be nice here... had to choose nice words.
It's really amazing how Americans are scared of police. We are so obedient and always tell our loved ones not to talk about it and to be carefull with police as if they are predators. But when it comes to events of national significance, there is never a word about police brutality and corruption. Not a word about it in our big media or at the presidential debates.. etc.. This is so pathetic how people are scared and censored to talk about police in this country... and how quickly those who do get silenced. You can only hear about these issues on foreign media like RT or in underground outlets as this one... All corporate big media will never touch these stories. We must be the greatest hypocrisy in the history of civilization.
Annual salary of $164,000?? Fuck. That. Shit.

What would you expect to happen at that pay scale? A whole lot of rocking the boat or a whole lot of fitting in? Cut that salary by $100K and move her office to the Delridge Community Center.
Great piece, but I agree with Mike the Engineer -- what does the public think and what is the plan to get her out? You can answer both questions:

Go here: www.at10us.com -- Register; Pick "public safety"; Pick the topic that fits best or write one in, Pick solver, write a viable solution to fix the problem -- you will not see a petition, poll or "like" -- save, tell your friends and have them tell their friends.

If enough people participate, a viable strategy with popular support will emerge to fix this. It's not a petition, it's a viable alternative to the situation you have today.
Great piece, but I agree with Mike the Engineer -- what does the public think and what is the plan to get her out? You can answer both questions:

Go here: www.at10us.com -- Register; Pick "public safety"; Pick the topic that fits best or write one in, Pick solver, write a viable solution to fix the problem -- you will not see a petition, poll or "like" -- save, tell your friends and have them tell their friends.

If enough people participate, a viable strategy with popular support will emerge to fix this. It's not a petition, it's a viable alternative to the situation you have today.

Wow, you would think a transwoman like her would be a little more sympathetic to the average person on the street.

Very good article, BUT! The writing Nazis want to point out that the word "electrocuted" means "to kill by means of electricity." KILL, get it?

Appeals courts don't have juries.
Dear Mr. Holden:

Thank you for the good article. I'm glad somebody is able to at least get some of these people to say "no comment", rather than just completely ignore the questions of the public they are supposed to serve. When the news of that DOJ deal came out last July, I was a bit suspicious of the part about new civilian oversight, due to my prior knowledge of the OPA (I've attended their "Community Police Academy" events before). So I naively emailed the following open letter to the following folks (see if you recognize some names):

--- On Sat, 7/28/12, Rex Young wrote:

From: Rex Young
Subject: DOJ Agreement: Community Police Commission
To: Kathryn.Olson@seattle.gov, opareviewboard@seattle.gov, Mike.Mcginn@seattle.gov, Margaret.Olsen@seattle.gov, tim.burgess@seattle.gov, Peter.Holmes@seattle.gov, wendy.watson@seattle.gov, ethicsandelections@seattle.gov
Cc: lbyron@king5.com, cingalls@king5.com, sframe@king5.com
Date: Saturday, July 28, 2012, 8:26 PM

Good evening, fellow Seattleites:

This is an Open Letter. This Open Letter is in regards to the following statement by the Associated Press and KING 5 News regarding the DOJ Agreement:

"Police also would have to ... create a Community Police Commission, which would be a civilian oversight body."


This Open Letter is directed to whoever feels they can best answer the following questions:

How will the anticipated Community Police Commission differ from the existing 3-part Civilian Oversight of the Seattle Police Department (Office of Professional Accountability, OPA Auditor and OPA Review Board)?
How will the CPC work with and/or cross paths with the current Civilian Oversight?
How many people will be hired for the anticipated CPC?
What will be the hiring process for the CPC?
What qualifications will be looked for in candidates during the hiring process?
What "teeth" will the CPC have that the current Civilian Oversight does not?

Any feedback or thoughts are welcome from all.

Thank you for your time!


Rex Young

Unfortunately, I did not receive a response from anybody addressed in my email. Despite the large number of people (and lawyers) I addressed it to simultaneously (maybe that's why). Not even from the KING 5 folks I "cc'd", since I was quoting their report (or maybe that's why). I know that my email was at least received by Kathryn Olson, as the Mayor's attorney sent me the following email the following week (which included a comment-less forwarding of my email, from Ms. Olson to Mr. Marquardt, about an hour after my open letter went out):

--- On Fri, 8/3/12, Marquardt, Carl wrote:

From: Marquardt, Carl
Subject: FW: DOJ Agreement: Community Police Commission
To: "rex.young@yahoo.com"
Cc: "Olson, Kathryn"
Date: Friday, August 3, 2012, 4:49 PM

Mr. Young,

I can answer at least some of these questions, and would be happy to discuss the issues with you. Please feel free to give me a call, or propose some possible times to talk. Thanks.

Carl Marquardt
Legal Counsel
Office of Mayor Mike McGinn
Direct Line: 206.684.0962
POB 94749
Seattle 98124-4749

From: Olson, Kathryn
Sent: Saturday, July 28, 2012 9:38 PM
To: Marquardt, Carl
Subject: FW: DOJ Agreement: Community Police Commission

What does this single response tell me, other than attorneys do not necessarily like to have every conversation documented by email? It tells me I'm less likely to get a written response from my own local government authorities on one of society's most important issues than I am to get a written response to a letter to Santa Claus.

Sometimes it's not easy being in love with Seattle.

Please wait...

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