Seattle Police

Paula Wissel / knkx

Two Seattle police officers recently filed a lawsuit against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant for defamation of character.

They say she defamed them when, shortly after it happened, she referred to the police killing of Che Taylor, an African American man, as a “brutal murder.” They point out they were eventually cleared of wrongdoing in the killing by an inquest jury. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The shooting death of Charleena Lyles by Seattle police has once again brought the use of deadly force into the spotlight. Friends and family of Lyles have asked why other less-lethal force wasn’t used when two officers responded to an attempted burglary report at Lyles’ apartment Sunday morning.

A state senator from Seattle is renewing his call to rewrite Washington’s police deadly force law. Democrat David Frockt represents the legislative district where Seattle police shot and killed Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of four on Sunday.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle police officer involved in a fatal shooting asked his partner to use a stun gun on the woman authorities say was brandishing a knife, but police audio transcripts show the other officer said: "I don't have a taser."

Authorities say 30-year-old Charleena Lyles confronted the two officers Sunday when they responded to a burglary call at her apartment. Family members have questioned why police didn't use non-lethal options when they knew Lyles had been struggling with mental health issues.

On Monday, Seattle officials released dash cam audio of a Sunday morning police shooting that left Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of three, dead. The two Seattle police officers had been called to Lyles' apartment so she could report a burglary.

The shooting is under investigation by the Seattle Police Department's Force Investigation Team, and also SPD's Office of Professional Accountability, but here's what we know now:

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle police are investigating the fatal shooting of a woman by two officers who responded to a burglary report at her apartment.

Police say the officers went to the apartment Sunday morning, and, at some point, were confronted by a woman armed with a knife. Both officers fired their weapons, killing her.

Police say children inside the apartment were not injured.

SEATTLE (AP) — Authorities say the reason Seattle has seen a recent uptick in shootings is because personal disputes between gang members have been triggering a cycle of violence.

The Seattle Times reports 35 people have been shot in mid-May, three of which had been fatalities.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The Seattle City Council approved an ordinance Monday to increase civilian oversight of the police department in a unanimous vote.

"There really is unity around this," Councilmember Sally Bagshaw said. "When we do get together and we do listen to each other, we can come up with this kind of solution."

The legislation calls for additional civilian staff for the Office of Professional Accountability, the agency responsible for investigating individual cases of officer misconduct.  

Elaine Thompson / AP

Updated at 10:22 p.m. PST

SEATTLE (AP) — Three Seattle police officers were shot and injured during an exchange of gunfire with a suspect, who later died, after a robbery at a downtown convenience store.

Three people are suspected in the Thursday robbery at a 7-Eleven store near Pioneer Square, the city's oldest neighborhood, said Deputy Police Chief Carmen Best.

Officers chased two suspects, a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl, who ran from the store, police said.

SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington state prosecutor says he will not file criminal charges against two Seattle police officers who fatally shot a 46-year-old African-American man last year.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said at a news conference Tuesday that the officers, who are white, reasonably believed their lives were in danger when they shot Che Taylor in February 2016. He says "their use of deadly force at that moment was authorized by law."

Michael Dwyer / AP

Seattle police are warning heroin users about dangerous purity levels after several recent overdoses.

Police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb says three people died and a fourth person was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment.

The Seattle Times reports bicycle officers were canvassing the Aurora Avenue North corridor Saturday to warn users of the danger.

PBS 'Frontline'

Seattle’s heroin epidemic is the focus of tonight's episode [February 23] of the PBS series "Frontline".

“Chasing Heroin” airs at 9 p.m. on KCTS-TV. The documentary looks at  King County’s LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program, calling it a “radical new approach” to fighting the epidemic.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

Every time a cop goes out on a call, chances are good that the encounter will be with someone suffering from mental illness. It’s the reason the Seattle Police Department has trained officers in crisis intervention and teamed them up with mental health professionals.

Manuel Valdes / AP

The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded the Seattle Police Department $600,000 to expand its body camera program. The Seattle Times reports that the DOJ announced the funding Monday as part of a federal campaign to improve law-enforcement transparency.

Seattle police finished a small pilot program this summer in which a dozen officers used body cameras. Department officials say they hope to have all patrol officers wearing cameras next year. The federal funding will go toward purchasing equipment and training officers.

John Froschauer / AP Photo

It’s illegal to set off fireworks in Tacoma, Seattle and most other cities in the region. But, every 4th of July, so many people ignore the law there’s little police can do. They say calling 911 about violations just overwhelms the emergency system.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Seattle police could have been much more effective in how they handled May Day protesters when violence erupted on Capitol Hill Friday night, said the head of the Seattle City Council Public Safety Committee.

It was during a debrief before the Public Safety Committee that chair Bruce Harrell laid into incident commander Captain Chris Fowler.

Harrell went so far as to say it seemed like police provoked the riot. He referred to a video, that’s gone viral, of a cop on a bike ramming a protester from behind and knocking him down.

Natalie Wilkie / Flickr

The federal monitor charged with overseeing reform of the Seattle Police Department says there’s finally reason for optimism.

“The glass is now looking half full to me rather than half empty,” Merrick Bobb said during a briefing before the Seattle City Council Public Safety Committee Wednesday.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he plans to call an emergency meeting of the Seattle City Council to discuss the “epidemic of gun violence” in the wake of two shootings that claimed three lives in the city in the past week.

“This city and this nation must address this sense of violence,” said the mayor at a Friday news conference with dozens of community leaders standing by his side. “We have to find a way to move forward.”

More than 100 Seattle police officers have filed a federal civil rights complaint against city and federal authorities.

They allege the agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Seattle restricting police  use of force has put both police and the public in danger.

Paula Wissel

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.  

Of the nine candidates running for mayor of Seattle, only Mike McGinn has first-hand experience. Leading up to next Tuesday’s primary, KPLU has been asking all the candidates to talk about a time when their leadership was tested.

You could say Mayor Mike McGinn’s leadership skills have been put to the test every day for the past 4 years. How he’s dealt with it has a lot to do with a personal change he made shortly after taking office.

By state law, bars in Washington have to stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. And when bars close down, people who’ve been drinking hit the streets all at once. In Seattle last weekend, that phenomenon became extreme in the Belltown neighborhood, reviving a public policy debate.

Justin Steyer

Seattle police insist they’re ready for whatever happens on May Day, that they are better staffed, better organized and better trained than last year.

“We’re as prepared as we can be, given our resources,” said Captain Chris Fowler, the designated commander for police May Day response.

Last year on May Day, there was widespread confusion among officers on duty about how to respond to black-clad vandals smashing windows downtown.

What’s different this time?

You can expect to see more police in Seattle soon.  The 2013 city budget includes money to hire additional cops with an emphasis on fighting violent crime.

(For complete story, click on Listen button.)

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

A 34-foot totem pole honoring slain First Nations woodcarver John T. Williams was carried from the Seattle Waterfront to Seattle Center and raised by some 90 people on Sunday. The pole was carried to its final destination with traditional singing, drumming, and dancing. 

Associated Press

Police used pepper spray to break up fights among pushing and shoving customers waiting outside a Seattle area mall to buy the first Nike retro Air Jordan basketball shoes that went on sale early Friday.

Seattle Police Department

Have you ever wondered what a Seattle police officer does all day? You’re not alone.

The department says it typically has long waiting lists of people who want to ride along on patrols. Now it’s offering a way to virtually give everyone a chance to see the action.   

Erin Hennessey

Seattle homicide detectives on Sunday afternoon fatally shot a man who was a suspect in the stabbing death of an 84-year-old employee at a self-storage facility in the city's Interbay neighborhood. The suspect had been using the victim's credit cards.

Detectives used photos to track him down in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, at the bustling corner of 4th Avenue and Cedar Street. Seattle Police spokesman Mark Jamieson told KPLU the murder suspect attacked detectives, forcing them to fire their weapons.

Police, fire and all other departments in Seattle have been asked to find budget cuts for next year. Mayor Mike McGinn has instructed every office to look for trims because of lagging city revenues.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

"We have nothing to hide" – those were the words of Seattle's chief of police yesterday.  The department is under fire. 

The questions stem from a federal review of the fatal shooting of a first nation's wood carver last August, as well as what many people perceive as a prior pattern of  abusive violence against minority groups.

Gary Davis / KPLU News

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Did Seattle Police Violate DUI Procedures?
  • Reforms at Monroe Prison After Guard's Killing
  • Electronic Billboard Fight Brews in Tacoma

DUI Prosecutions in Seattle on Hold

Some drunk driving cases have been suspended by City Attorney Pete Holmes while Seattle Police investigate how its DUI squad handled procedures.

On Monday, SPD admitted it is reviewing allegations procedures in the unit were not properly handled. according to The Seattle Times:

The investigation has forced the department to pull all but one member of its five-member DUI Squad from the street and assign them to desk duties, according to police.

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