SEATTLE — The Department of Justice responded to a lawsuit filed by more than 120 Seattle police officers who claim the new reform policies put police and the public in danger.
Department of Justice officials held a news conference Thursday afternoon just one day after the lawsuit was filed. It alleges the new policies are confusing and prevent officers from protecting the peace.
Officers call the reforms a violation of the 4th, 5th and 14th Constitutional amendments.
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan says the Justice Department supports Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and his selection for the new police chief, Kathleen O’Toole.
Durkan says she will continue working to implement the new policy.
“Change is very difficult,” Durkan said. “There will always be folks in an organization that resist change just because it is different. There will be others that resist change because they do not understand what is expected of them, and there will be a small subset that will resist change because frankly the change means that what they did was not done in the right way.”
The city of Seattle and the Department of Justice agreed to the reforms in 2012. The new policies went into effect this year.
Durkan says she is confident the majority of Seattle police officers support reform, and she thanked police for the progress made so far.
The Seattle Police Department released this statement late Thursday, “This lawsuit, brought by 123 of the department’s 1300 sworn employees, does not represent the views of the Seattle Police Department. The department is committed to reform. SPD will continue working with the Department of Justice, elected representatives and community members to ensure our officers have the tools, training and personnel needed to provide effective, constitutional and lawful public safety services to our city.”