SEATTLE — This week the streets of Seattle have seen both peaceful demonstrations and violent protests following the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri. Mayor Ed Murray has said that the SPD is readier than ever to deal with the crowds. And more of them are expected before the week is through.
Ed Murray sat down with Q13 FOX for an interview about the current situation.
C.R. Douglas: You have said that “Seattle is not Ferguson”. And yet we did have an incident not too dissimilar. About four years ago a white cops kills a minority suspect in questionable circumstances. We’re under a consent decree even to root out excessive force in the Department. Are we more like Ferguson maybe than we want to admit?
Ed Murray: In some ways all of America is like Ferguson when it comes to the issue of race. On the other hand in the last year we’ve hired a new chief of police. The justice department and the courts have acknowledged that we are moving forward with police reform. We have a very diverse police Department. Ferguson, a city that is mostly African-American had only three African-American police officers. We’ve got a long ways to go before we’re perfect and before we get this right.
Douglas: How do you rebuild the trust with minority communities, because they feel disenfranchised?
Murray: What we saw over the last few days were communities of color and the police sitting down and talking. We saw organized and peaceful protests on the part of the African-American ministers in this city. And so I think there are ways to move forward and have that conversation.
Douglas: Police accountability has led some to suggest that we need body cameras….Do we now have a way forward for body cameras?
Murray: We need to figure out the technology . We need to deal with the issues of privacy. I’m not talking on the part of the police, but on the part of the public. You know sometimes if someone is a victim of a horrible crime, and I won’t mention, but you can only imagine, there may be reasons that information is not released to the public.
Douglas: Is the worst over on these Ferguson riots here?
Murray: I don't know. You know, we haven't seen what I would call riots in Seattle. We have seen disturbances, and some unfortunately behavior. But mostly it's been people exercising their First Amendment rights.