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SPD Statement on Verdict in Chauvin Trial

The members of the jury in Minnesota have found Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer, guilty of all three counts in the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

The Seattle Police Department knows that Mr. Floyd’s murder was a watershed moment for this country. The eyes of the nation saw in horrible detail what so many have been fighting to change. It was soul crushing. From that pain, though, real change has begun.

The events of the past year have made clear the community’s expectations of what police work should be.

The Seattle Police Department already is making changes to move towards a more equitable model of public safety.  We have banned neck restraints, chokeholds and no-knock warrants.

The SPD also requires Department-wide implicit bias and active bystandership training to empower officers to recognize and intervene when a colleague is doing wrong.

Other more recent modifications since George Floyd’s murder, include:

  • Reducing the SPD’s visible footprint around crowd events to avoid escalation that may result from an SPD presence;
  • Clarification of the rights, roles, and identification of volunteer medics, media and legal observers;
  • A more robust statement of purpose that embraces Seattle’s approach to facilitating public assembly, over and beyond what would be required under a strict First Amendment analysis;
  • Emphasizing de-escalation and force modulation responsive to changes in crowd behavior following an order to disperse;
  • More robust emphasis on crowd intervention tactics that focus on isolating and arresting law violators within an otherwise peaceable assembly;
  • Providing consistency in required warnings around the use of less-lethal tools;

The Seattle Police Department acknowledges the future of public safety is something we need to create together. These revisions incorporate recommendations by members of the community and our accountability partners, including the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of Police Accountability and the Community Police Commission.

The SPD understands many people may be inspired to collectively voice their on-going concerns about the criminal justice system in our country. The SPD supports the First Amendment rights of everyone and requests that, when you gather, please do so peacefully while respecting the rights of others.