Federal judge: Seattle must fix police appeal process

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge has found that a portion of Seattle’s contract with its biggest police union threatens to undermine public confidence in a seven-year-old reform agreement between the city and the Department of Justice.

U.S. District Judge Robart said Wednesday the city must fix deficiencies in the closed-door appeal process for officers who have been fired or disciplined before it can be released from federal oversight.

While praising the department for its work at improving areas such as use of force, crisis intervention, supervision and search and services, Robart was highly critical of the accountability.

The Seattle Times reports the judge’s ruling dealt a blow to Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best, who hailed the contract with the Seattle Police Officers Guild as a key step in the city’s effort to comply with federally mandated reforms.