SPREAD THE WORD! BRING HELLA PEOPLE!================================================================
The civilians on the OPA Review Board have written a report (available on the Seattle Times web site) that is sharply critical of Chief Kerlikowske's role in exonerating Officers Greg Neubert & Michael Teitjen on charges of planting drugs, using excessive force and lying to OPA investigators regarding the arrest of George Patterson on drug charges in January.
The Mayor, the Chief and at least one Councilmember (Jan Drago) have now gone on the offensive attacking the Board and Council President Nick Licata for trying to pursue these issues. Nick Licata had planned to have the Review Board brief the full Council in public on the report next week, but Councilmembers appear to be backing away from the issue in light of the offensive from the Mayor & the Chief against Licata & the Board.
City Councilmembers need to hear immediately from community members to step forward and draw the line on proven police misconduct. There will not soon, if ever, be another case like Mr. Patterson's: one where the victim of the misconduct was brave enough and hopeful enough to actually make a complaint; where the events at issue were fully captured on videotape; where the videotape was preserved; where city, county & federal prosecutors did the right thing & notified defense lawyers of serious credibility problems about the officers involved; where a highly respected forensic video analyst analyzed the video & concluded that virtually no part of the officers' story could be true.
If we cannot repudiate what happened here, we may as well give up on any pretense that we have police accountability in Seattle. A culture of impunity will be reaffirmed within SPD that it simply doesn't matter what you do as an officer -- you can be caught on videotape in flagrant untruths, and as long as the only person harmed is a criminal suspect, no one will care.
Please immediately call and/or email Councilmembers, especially CMs Richard McIver, Peter Steinbrueck, David Della, Sally Clark, Tom Rasmussen, Richard Conlin & Jean Godden, and ask them to stand with Nick Licata to demand answers from the Mayor and the Chief. Below are a few core talking points. Please also take a moment to email or call Nick Licata to thank him for going out on what must seem like a rather long limb right now for these very important values.
It cannot seriously be disputed that Officers Neubert & Tietjen fabricated their stories about the arrest of Mr. Patterson. They claimed they found drugs on Mr. Patterson when they arrested him.
Forensic video expert Grant Fredericks (a former narcotics police officer, an FBI instructor, and frequent expert witness for prosecutors around the country) viewed the video frame by frame (report available on the Times website) and concludes that at no point does either officer recover any evidence from Mr. Patterson.
Wherever the drugs came from that the officers checked into evidence (the drugs were destroyed on April 19, 10 days after the Chief exonerated the officers), they did not come from Mr. Patterson. When the officers were shown the videotape during the complaint investigation, they could not point out when in the course of the 18 minute period they recovered any drugs.
Officers Neubert & Tietjen choked Mr. Patterson and used a pain compliance hold on him for almost four minutes, never disclosed this in their reports, and denied it to the SPD internal investigators. The force used is clear in the expert video analysis. They told investigators they used a jaw hold for about 4 seconds. Mr. Patterson told the truth as verified by the video. The officers did not.
Chief Kerkilowske personally guided the exoneration of the officers on charges of fabricating evidence, excessive force and dishonesty during the investigation. As the Review Board report shows, this is not a case where the Chief relied on those below him and deferred to them. Championing them was his decision.
Instead of addressing the total contradiction between the video and the officers' written reports & statements to investigators, the Chief has lashed out at any elected official or reporter who has taken this case seriously, the volunteer civilian review board, and even Mr. Patterson. From the beginning Chief Kerlikowske has used spin to attack those raising questions. He falsely stated in his April 9 press release exonerating the officers that Mr. Patterson had engaged in witness tampering, and he insinuated that officers had recovered a weapon, which was untrue. He is now launching personal attacks against Peter Holmes, the volunteer head of the review board, and has put pressure on reporters covering the story to back off. This is completely inappropriate and tends to chill civilian reporting of future police misconduct.
Finally -- rally on City Hall steps at 12:15pm next Thursday, June 28 with the NAACP.
The Seattle NAACP will hold a rally on the steps of City Hall NEXT Thursday June 28 at 12:15 on these issues. It needs to be massive and single-minded. Please make every effort to be there & show your support for change at the top. DV One is scheduled to speak.
Also, the anti-immigrant fascists are marching this Saturday 6/23/07 at the Seattle Center at 1pm .