Derek Quizon is a GOVERNING contributor.
Federal investigators found that officers in the Seattle Police Department routinely uses excessive physical force, reports The Seattle Times. The department could face federal lawsuits if it does not fix the problem, federal officials say.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Police Chief John Diaz, and several other high-ranking city officials met with members of the U.S. Department of Justice Thursday night. Sources inside the meeting, who spoke with the Times on the condition of anonymity, said the meeting ended with the two sides yelling at one another and making bitter accusations. One source in the meeting said the report, which will be released later today, was "astoundingly critical" of the department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Perez flew to Seattle for the meeting, coming directly from Phoenix, where he had announced similar allegations of police misconduct in Maricopa County.
According to Seattle local news blog PubliCola, the investigation began a year ago, just after the controversial shooting of a man named John T. Williams.
A witness who saw the shooting said Williams did not appear to be threatening when Officer Ian Birk shot him. It was ruled unjustified and Birk resigned. The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the incident, but no charges have been filed.