A Seattle Police Department sergeant will not face punishment after lying about the actions of a KIRO 7 reporter and photographer. She will get to keep a higher salary and promotion that came after the lie because of her union’s agreement with the City of Seattle.
To briefly recap: On February 27, 2013, a driver led police on a chase, then abandoned the car in downtown Seattle and ran. Officer Lora Alcantara was called to the scene.
KIRO reporter Essex Porter and his crew also arrived on scene.
Alcantara told her supervisor, as recorded by a dashcam video, "The news crew was here going through the car... Yes, they opened up that door.”
That was completely false—a lie that Alcantara has now admitted.
According to a report released today by the Office of Accountability (OPA), she told investigators she made the statement because she was caught up in the "heat of the moment.”
(Alcantara originally came to the OPA's attention because the dashcam video showed her complaining about a "fucking negro" while checking out the abandoned car. She was suspended for five days.)
Lying is grounds for termination from the Seattle police department. However, as the OPA report explains, Chief Kathleen O'Toole is barred from imposing any discipline on Alcantara because of the city's contract with the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG).
On page 12 of the 76-page contract, the contract specifies that "no disciplinary action will result" if a complaint comes in more than three years after the incident.
OPA began investigating whether Alcantara lied about the KIRO crew back in March—three years and one month after the incident.
The city is still negotiating a new contract with SPOG. In its last offer to the union, leaked to The Stranger by a whistleblower in June, the city tried to change this rule to "allow sustained findings and discipline for conduct over 3 years old when allegations could result in termination."
Alcantara has been with the SPD since 1993.