“For most of their lives, Eric Rachner and Phil Mocek had no strong feelings about police. Mocek, who grew up in Kansas, said he regarded police officers as honorable civil servants, like firefighters. Both chose careers as programmers: Rachner, 39, is an independent cyber-security expert, while Mocek, 40, works on administrative software used by dentists.
But through their shrewd use of Washington’s Public Records Act, the two Seattle residents are now the closest thing the city has to a civilian police-oversight board. In the last year and a half, they have acquired hundreds of reports, videos, and 911 calls related to the Seattle Police Department’s internal investigations of officer misconduct between 2010 and 2013. And though they have only combed through a small portion of the data, they say they have found several instances of officers appearing to lie, use racist language, and use excessive force—with no consequences. In fact, they believe that the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) has systematically ‘run interference’ for cops. In the aforementioned cases of alleged officer misconduct, all of the involved officers were exonerated and still remain on the force.
‘We’re trying to do OPA’s job for them because OPA was so explicitly not interested in doing their own job,’ said Rachner.
Among some of Rachner and Mocek’s findings: a total of 1,028 SPD employees (including civilian employees) were investigated between 2010 and 2013. (The current number of total SPD staff is 1,820.) Of the 11 most-investigated employees—one was investigated 18 times during the three-year period—every single one of them is still on the force, according to SPD.
In 569 allegations of excessive or inappropriate use of force (arising from 363 incidents), only seven were sustained—meaning 99 percent of cases were dismissed. Exoneration rates were only slightly smaller when looking at all the cases between 2010 and 2013—of the total 4,407 allegations, 284 were sustained.”
(Via.) The Stranger <—Read more here