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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Frustration Of Missed Opportunities For Change

I got a really disturbing report today that I'm working on about a frustrating and utterly appalling case of yet more brutal detainee abuse in the King County Jail . It's occurring at the same damn time that the Department of Justice is still wrangling with the King County government over the deadly constitutional violations it found when it investigated that jail. That the jail is brazen enough to abuse people there in the midsts of negotiations plus a looming class action lawsuit over it's past abuses is appalling and intolerable!

This happened while the Seattle Times and Seattle Post Intelligencer touted the latest contract as fixing Seattle's police oversight problems today while they're still mistakenly reporting that all 29 recommendations have been implemented when they haven't, and they continue to misreport this even when the police guild admitted that they weren't all approved. In the face of the final OPARB report that sites the one recommendation that wasn't approved as a major concern in the disciplinary process just as they are disbanded and the entirety of the citizen's panel report is withheld from the public... they still proclaim the changes as fixing the problems when they don't. They talk about the system needing transparency while the civilian oversight board is being relegated to PR work instead of investigating and reporting on the disciplinary process!

Am I the only one that sees this as a problem? Is the mainstream media going to just keep regurgitating flawed press releases as fact without investigating the claims to ensure they are accurate and truthful? I'd prefer that this site wasn't necessary, it's depressing having to write these articles about the failures in our justice system, but since others won't look into these problems in an honest and earnest way, I'm left to do it alone.

...and it's frustrating to see the chance to improve the system and improve relations between the police and the public get thrown down the drain like this. To pretend that the problem has been fixed when it's just been thrown under the rug in the hopes that nobody notices it until the next time the public is outraged when misconduct goes unanswered because of the loopholes that were left untouched.

Indeed... it's frustrating beyond belief that all these chances for redemption, these wonderful opportunities for positive change, are all being thrown asunder and wasted... and nobody at all seems to notice or care one bit!

So much for any faith in government that I had... and I wonder, am I really the only person in Seattle that cares about justice and the constitution? Damn it all, damn it all to hell!

All this while other cities are taking steps to stop the public from using it's own voice to speak out about misconduct and failures in oversight systems in cities like Boston , Riverside, and even in small town USA as police vow to investigate bloggers who report on alleged instances of police misconduct... all while police here have made it clear they hope to shut this site down and have me arrested for what I write. Even reporters at daily papers in Seattle have been threatened over writing stories about police misconduct here.

I suppose the answer to misconduct and abuse everywhere is the same... cover it up, punish those who report it, and then ignore it... and it certainly seems clear that there are too few of us who care enough about justice and what America was supposed to stand for to do anything to stop it. I wonder, in the end, what will be the ultimate cost for all these missed opportunities for real change?

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