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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lawfirm Urged OPA To Stop Misconduct Investigations

The Seattle Post Intelligencer ran a piece today that criticized the city for paying a private lawfirm millions of dollars to defend cops in misconduct cases on a no-bid contract. But burried in there is a startling revelation, this lawfirm told the internal investigation unit (the OPA) of the Seattle Police Department to stop investigating misconduct cases when civil rights violation lawsuits were filed because "the risks are it can create information we are not aware of that can harm our case."

Incredible, a private law firm interferes with official police business, hampers investigations, and seeks to cover up violations of federal law... just to protect bad cops?!? And we taxpayers give them MILLIONS to do this?!?

Sam Pailca, the first OPA director "noted in public reports that before the creation of her office, internal investigations of misconduct complaints were often "aborted at the request of outside counsel representing individual officers," primarily Stafford Frey."

While she stopped this practice, she's not there anymore, so we wonder if this practice has started up again?

What's more, it's clear that by paying out millions to protect officers who have committed civil rights violations, such as the case of Ally-Barnes where the city paid the lawfirm $430,000 to settle a $185,000 police brutality claim against the city, that this only encourages bad cops to abuse citizens with impunity because they will never face any real consequences for their actions, especially since the oversight and investigative departments of the SPD will never truly hold them accountable for their misdeeds.

So, not only do abusive cops not face jail time for assault, not only do they not have to worry about being fired, but they also have complete immunity from civil suits that arrise from their own actions that go against federal law and departmental policy. What are you left with if you're a victim of these unaccountable cops? Far less than what the city's lawyers made thanks to your suffering.

Do you know what the term is for a person who has unchecked power over others without any accountabilty? The answer used to be tyrant... but now it's Seattle Police Officer... and the city of Seattle pays MILLIONS of your dollars to a private lawfirm just to keep it that way!

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