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August 10, 2016     West Seattle Herald
34th District Democrats host discourse on police and racial profiling
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August 10, 2016
 

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34th District Democrats host discourse on police and racial profiling | West Seattle Herald / White Center News Skip to Main Content Area Wednesday, August 10, 2016 | Scattered clouds, 69.8 °F search Letters Sign in Subscribe Contact Us Front Page News Features Sports Opinion Police Blotter Lower Southwest Spokane Street will be repaved over the next two weeks information from SDOT Contractors working for the Seattle ... Westside-O-Rama West Seattle Entertainment Guide Admiral Theater 2343 California Ave. S.W. 938-3456 Movie ... Redmond North blanks West Seattle By Tim Clinton SPORTS EDITOR West Seattle's state title hopes ... Amanda's View: Moving out, moving on By Amanda Knox   By my weary, vacant look, you wouldn’t guess ... Police Blotter week of 8-8-16 Car thief arrested in Highland Park A K9 team worked alongside ... News 34th District Democrats host discourse on police and racial profiling Delridge P-Patch Farmstand is open every Thursday from 4-7pm Preserving iconic neighborhood business forum slated for Thursday Aug. 11 Lower Southwest Spokane Street will be repaved over the next two weeks 'Blood Wedding' play to be performed in local parks Highline Medical Center Foundation To Your Health! 20th Annual Gala & Auction is Sept. 20 Council Adopts Tenant Protection Legislation, Bans Discrimination Based on Income Source Man hit by car as he runs for the bus on Delridge Way SW On the Go Week of 8-8-16 Juvenile Humpback Whale strands and dies in West Seattle Beach Drive to be saw cut as part of Murray Basin CSO project City of Seattle asking for your input on how to engage with you Seattle Department of Transportation presents: Seattle Summer Parkways West Seattle Neighborhood Sept. 25 Arts in Nature returns to Camp Long Aug. 20 & 21; Big World Breaks will headline musical acts Seal pup dies after apparent dog attack Car thief tracked by dogs arrested in Highland Park WingStop opens in Westwood Village Hairspray the musical is coming to WSHS via Twelfth Night Productions Mayor Murray announced $417,000 in matching fund awards for neighborhood projects Historic Riverside Walking Tour set for Aug. 13; Frank Zuvela will present the history of the neighborhood Pramila pushes ahead; McDermott and Walkinshaw trail Ride to Seafair with Metro and Sound Transit Pramila pushes ahead; McDermott and Walkinshaw trail SLIDESHOW: Night Out proves again the strength of West Seattle's neighborhoods Living Care Lifestyles held groundbreaking of 'Quail Park' memory care community in West Seattle Lindsay PeytonSpeakers on a panel discussion on police and communities of color, hosted by the 34th District Democrats, included (from left) King Country Sheriff John Urquhart, activist Bobby Alexander, retired judge Anne Levinson, who serves as auditor of the Office of Professional Accountability, Fe Lopez, executive director of the Community Police Association, and Sili Savusa, executive director of the White Center Community Development Association. Chris Porter, right, served as moderator. 34th District Democrats host discourse on police and racial profiling 08/10/2016 updated 1 minute ago By Lindsay Peyton Fe Lopez, executive director of the Community Police Association, warned attendees at the 34th District Democrats’ regular meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 10. “We can’t change things if you’re not willing to be uncomfortable,” she said. “And if you’re not uncomfortable today, we’re not doing our job.” Lopez kicked off a panel discussion on police and racism. Guest speakers also included King Country Sheriff John Urquhart, retired judge Anne Levinson, who serves as auditor of the Office of Professional Accountability, Sili Savusa, executive director of the White Center Community Development Association and activist Bobby Alexander. Chris Porter served as moderator. He shared his own experiences facing racism in the city. Lopez said the topic is nothing new. What is different, however, is the ability of the public to capture incidents involving police and racial profiling with their cell phones, she explained. “That changes what people see going on and how people are feeling in an easy, fast way,” she said. “That’s the shift we’re seeing.” She said in 2010 a number of incidents were caught on video, which launched an effort in the city to address the problem. A task force of 30 to 40 organizations worked together weekly to address policing issues in a nine-month period. “What they did find was there was excessive use of force by police department,” Lopez said. She said that the group did not report on discrimination in the way police addressed the community – but not because it wasn’t happening. “The data didn’t exist,” she said. The city of Seattle established the Community Police Commission to reach out, engage the community and make recommended changes to police policies and practices. Levinson said while the city has taken steps in the right direction, more work remains. “We were ahead of the curve in Seattle in setting up accountability mechanisms,” she said. “We owe it to ourselves to constantly improve the system we have.” Levinson said the system should be fairer, as well as more transparent, open and accessible. “It’s time for us to move from community-oriented policing to community-led policing,” she said. Levinson added that law enforcement agencies have not traditionally been flexible, fluid or innovative – and outlined ideas to spark their evolution. She advocated for the establishment of independent accountability systems. “You want civilian oversight over criminal investigations,” she said. “You want a system that holds all individuals regardless of rank.” Sherriff Urquhart admitted that a number of changes should be made in the police force. “It’s the fault of the police largely that we are still having this discussion,” he said. “My force and the Seattle Police Department are too white and too male. Until we fix that, we will not have success in the community. There’s much more to do than that – but that’s where we have to start.” Alexander said that when equality is not present in the police system, everyone is threatened. “We know that the principal of justice has been eroded,” he said. “If I’m more likely to be detained, you’re not free either.” Savusa said that citizens have to become more involved in decision-making “One of the challenges we have is: are we bold enough to do something different,” she said. “The conversation has to shift. Let’s do something different. We get stuck in the system, because we don’t know anything else.” Savusa said reaching out to members of the community is key to addressing the issue. “You can’t go wrong if you make space at the table for the community voice,” she said. We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed. View the discussion thread. 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