A "shocked" Mayor Ed Murray is involving the FBI and threatening to hire a private investigator to uncover the source for our story on contract negotiations between the city and the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG).
Murray—endorsed and backed heavily by SPOG as a candidate—also insists the city's latest offer to the police union represents an "excellent deal" for both the guild and the city.
In a statement issued this afternoon, Murray said:
The collective bargaining process is a sacrosanct part of both our democratic system and the progressive movement. I’m shocked to learn that some who call themselves progressives in our city are willing to sacrifice the integrity of this process for a perceived political gain. I would expect this from the far right in Wisconsin, not the left in Seattle... The City is exploring several law enforcement options, including hiring an independent investigator to identify the responsible party... The City is also in discussions about the investigation with the FBI.
SPOG took to Twitter, calling the story an "outrageous breach of a confidentiality agreement."
You can read more about the details of the new contract in this week's paper. Sam Sinyangwe, a Black Lives Matter organizer with Campaign Zero who has analyzed police contracts around the country, disagreed with Murray's optimistic view of the deal. Sinyangwe reviewed the documents we obtained and called the new deal "mediocre at best."
Last time the mayor yelled at me, it was over this same issue. Contract negotiations with SPOG were beginning to ramp up behind closed doors, back in early 2015, and I asked Murray why he had ignored a recommendation from the Community Police Commission to use technical advisers during the bargaining process.
"I haven’t said it’s my way or the highway [to SPOG]," the mayor fumed over the phone. He raised his voice. "I’m a Democrat who supports the collective bargaining process. You’re asking me to do a Scott Walker move."
Murray claimed using the advisors would violate the confidentiality of the process—not a view that all pro-union liberals share.
The Obama administration Department of Justice and most police accountability officials in Seattle say contract negotiations with the police guild should not be kept secret.
This post has been updated.