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Seattle Human Rights Commission votes to pursue amicus status

Press release shared by the Seattle Office for Civil Rights on behalf of the Seattle Human Rights Commission.

The Seattle Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has agreed to pursue amicus status in the Federal Consent decree, entered in 2012, where the Seattle Police Department was investigated by the Department of Justice and was found in violation of the constitution due to use of excessive and unnecessary force and biases in policing.

For the past few months, the Criminal Legal Reform Taskforce of the Seattle Human Rights Commission has been consulting with community members and organizations to assess the need to pursue amicus status. Following these consultative meetings with Seattle residents who have been negatively impacted by the Seattle Police Department’s actions, it was felt that there was a gap where critical information was not getting to the court. The Task Force felt that the Commission could help fill this gap; by consulting widely with the community and relaying this information back to the court. With this in mind, the Taskforce scheduled the issue to be voted on by the full Commission.

On April 7, 2022, the Seattle Human Rights Commission voted 6-0 (with 2 abstentions) to pursue amicus curiae status on recommendation from our Criminal Legal Reform Taskforce. The Seattle Human Rights Commission was established in 1963 to advocate for justice and equal opportunity, to advise the City of Seattle on human rights issues, and to collaborate with public and private sectors in order to educate them on methods to prevent and eliminate discrimination city-wide. Given the role and responsibility of the Commission, it is our intention that the court gets to hear the stories and solutions of our residents and community stakeholders most affected to ensure the continuous accountability of our police force.

In simple terms, the amicus status will enable the Commission to be a “friend of the court” and have the ability to petition the court for permission to submit a brief in support of our need for continuous police accountability.

We appreciate and encourage community participation and would like to hear from community members and stakeholders by attending our meetings. The Taskforce will be holding regular meetings every second and fourth Monday of the month from 6:30-7:30pm.

If you are a community member or organization that wants to contribute to this initiative or to tell your story, please send your request in an email with the subject line “SHRC CLRTF Amicus.” Please feel free to visit our website for more information.