The Seattle King County NAACP opposes the City of Seattle and Justice Department’s motion to release the Seattle Police Department from remaining Consent Decree oversight. We join with other community organizations and the office of Councilmember Kshama Sawant and ask that the Court DENY the motion.
In May 2019 the Court sharply criticized the city’s “longstanding inability to address officer accountability”. The Court ordered that before the City could be released from federal oversight, it had to respond to those deficiencies, including the closed-door appeal process for officers who have been fired or disciplined.
The Police Department Chief asserts, “We’ve come a long way from where we’ve started with the federal Consent Decree,” touting the Department’s body-worn cameras, “full and unfettered access to all records”, a review board that reviews use of force; and remarking use of force is down to less than 2 percent of overall calls. Even if what the Chief says is true, there have been no significant strides made to engage community—especially those communities most negatively impacted by police accountability issues. It should be noted, the City did not engage members of the community in making its’ assessment, or even to develop the promised framework.
Instead of engaging members of the community to develop the framework, the City has engaged with the Department of Justice in a motion to be released from the Decree. It cannot be overlooked that the current Department of Justice under the Trump Administration has significantly withdrawn support for consent decrees nationally. In this regard, the role of the Court, as a part of the checks and balance of our government, is essential in ensuring that all accountability measures are effectively put in place regardless of who is in the Executive Office.
Additionally, the City makes the motion during the Covid-19 global pandemic health crisis, when most of the City and Washington state are closed, our communities are under the Governor’s Order to stay at home, and our most vulnerable communities, if not all communities, are struggling through devastating economic, mental, and physical health stresses caused by the crisis—with communities of color impacted by disproportionate infection and death rates. The City’s motion is truly an insult to the Community and flouts the Court’s order to address the deficiencies in officer accountability. Upon this premise, the City expects the Court and Community to trust it will make “top priority” reform in the area of disciplinary appeals and public transparency in the next round of collective bargaining negotiations without having federal oversight.
And, while the City’s use of force might be down, the NAACP overwhelmingly agrees with other community organizations that communities of color—most affected by the health crisis, are still experiencing police abuses including excessive use of force. For us, things have not changed. In June 2017 Charleena Lyles, pregnant, was shot by the Seattle Police while inside of her home, in front of her three young children. In December 2018 Iosia Faletogo was shot in the head by Seattle Police after a traffic stop. In May 2020, Shaun Fuhr was shot in the head running away from Seattle Police while he was holding his toddler.
The NAACP condemns the premature motion to end the Consent Decree and its’ police accountability oversight. The City’s motion fails to address the specific concerns of the Court to ensure that police accountability provisions are secured; its motion neglects its’ duty of transparency and respect to the residents it represents and is obligated to protect from unconstitutional policing. Until the City meets its obligations to address the deficiencies in police accountability it should not be released from federal oversight.
What happened to George Floyd will not be in vain. His death by the hands of the Minneapolis Police is a reflection of what’s happening all across the country. We are done dying!
A blind eye was turned to George Floyd as he gasped for breath last week. The police stood by and did nothing. The NAACP cannot allow Seattle to ignore the shooting deaths of black people happening throughout King County. We are done dying!
The NAACP will not stop fighting for true reform in Seattle until the officer-involved shooting deaths of unarmed black people cease. Our phones ring from loved ones every time a black person dies at the hands of a police officer. We wipe the tears and pray with the families. The Consent Decree must remain in place until excessive force and biased policing are a thing of the past. We are done dying!
The work continues. The NAACP will not stop until our phones stop ringing. We will keep fighting, we will keep marching as we call you to Action as I did yesterday at the Press Conference. You can make sure you:
1. Are registered to vote. Click here if you aren't.
Our WA State NAACP Chapters are rising to the occasion in the Power of 5 Challenge, asking people to tap into the concept of relational organizing. Each unit is giving each member a goal in registering 5 people to vote each week, volunteer for 5 days between now and the election, and text 5 mail-in ballot reminders to 5 voters each week.
2. Are involved. Ask questions of your elected representatives that help write policies that can make change for the greater good. Work for change. If unsure of who your representatives are, click here to find out and contact them.
3. Are being kind. Even in the midst of hatred and clashes with police.
4. Are a member of the NAACP to fight for your community. It's only $30 per year. Click here to be a part of the change.
- Carolyn Riley-Payne
President, NAACP Seattle King County
Photo by Jason Fields
The NAACP Seattle King County President, Carolyn Riley-Payne, read the below Statement on Motion to End Consent Decree to the Seattle City Council today, May 11, 2020
The Seattle King County NAACP opposes the City of Seattle and Department of Justice motion to release the police from remaining Consent Decree oversight. The NAACP-SKC will work in collaboration with the office of Councilmember Kshama Sawant and other community organizations to respond in opposition to the City of Seattle and Mayor Jenny Durkan’s collaboration with the Trump Justice Department. The SPD should not be released from oversight while its police union contract rejects accountability measures.
Accountability failings in the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) contract mean court mandated oversight is still necessary. The SPOG contract appeals’ process evidenced by the case of SPD Officer Adley Shepherd, highlight the accountability failings that are still on-going. Recall that in 2014, while the SPD was under the oversight of the Consent Decree, Officer Shepherd punched a handcuffed and defenseless woman in the back seat of his patrol car. He was rightfully terminated for use of excessive force, but his job was later reinstated through a convoluted arbitration appeal process. The City has yet to address mechanisms in the police union contract that allow for officers like Shepherd to have seemingly more rights than the citizens they are sworn to protect.
The NAACP-SKC condemns the premature motion to end the Consent Decree and its police accountability oversight.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 6, 2020
CONTACT: Carolyn Riley-Payne, President, NAACP Seattle King County via
NAACP Executive Committee members KL Shannon and Police Accountability Chair Teri Rogers Kemp
PHONE: Teri Rogers Kemp 206-518-7088
KL Shannon 206-890-4422
The NAACP Seattle King County sends its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Shaun Fuhr, the victim of the homicide death by the Seattle Police Department, committed on April 29, 2020. The NAACP-SKC demands a thorough independent criminal homicide investigation of Mr. Fuhr’s death.
Homicide is defined in Title 9A, Washington Criminal Code, of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), at 9A.32.010; as “the killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or omission of another, death occurring at any time, and is either (1) murder, (2) homicide by abuse, (3) manslaughter, (4) excusable homicide, or (5) justifiable homicide.” Each of those types of homicides are defined in the RCW. Homicide is a crime.
From the video the Seattle Police Department (SPD) provided, it appears Mr. Fuhr was being chased by police officers running after him down a narrow resident’s walkway in between the side of a building and a six-foot or taller fence, while carrying his one-year old toddler girl, when suddenly he drops, apparently shot in the head.
“Homicide or the use of deadly force is justifiable …when necessarily used by a police officer meeting the good faith standard of this section …to arrest or apprehend a person who the police officer reasonably believes has committed or is attempting to commit a felony.” In considering whether to use deadly force under such circumstances, “the officer must have probable cause to believe that if the person is not apprehended, he poses a threat of serious physical harm to the officer… or to others.” See RCW 9A.16.040.
Among the circumstances that may be considered by police officers as a “threat of serious physical harm” are the following: “the person threatens a police officer with a weapon or displays a weapon, in a manner that could reasonably be construed as threatening, or, there is probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed any crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm. Under these circumstances, deadly force may also be used if necessary to prevent escape from the officer, where, if feasible, some warning is given, provided the officer meets the good faith standard of this section.”
From the SPD video it does not appear that the deadly force used by the officer was necessary. From the video it appears that at no time did Mr. Fuhr display a weapon at the police or any other person as he was being chased and no talk of a weapon by the officers is heard on the video audio while they are chasing him down. SPD Chief Carmen Best has stated that the officers “engaged” Mr. Fuhr; however, the video shows that the police chased the victim and shot him, without apparent warning. From the video it is apparent that Mr. Fuhr did not see or hear the shot coming.
The NAACP-SKC decries the shooting and killing of this young man while his baby was in his arms. According to the Chief the child’s safety was the priority: “they were very concerned about the welfare of the baby”. That shot by the police officer belies those statements. The officer who killed Mr. Fuhr shot at him while he was holding his little girl, and while he was running. It is absolutely unacceptable that the officer demonstrated such utter disregard for the life and safety of the child.
Some homicide crimes may be excused or justified: “A police officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force in good faith, where ‘good faith’ is an objective standard which shall consider all the facts, circumstances, and information known to the officer at the time to determine whether a similarly situated reasonable officer would have believed that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious physical harm to the officer or another individual.” RCW 9A.16.040.
The NAACP recognizes that SPD officers were responding to a 911 call where information was given by an apparently distraught caller who thought that the victim had a firearm, that he had taken their child and left, and that the caller was concerned for the child’s well-being. Nevertheless, it appears that the officer who fired the shot unnecessarily used deadly force in an extreme, reckless manner that posed a threat of serious physical harm to the child in the victim’s arms and that besides his life; the victim’s civil rights too, may have been violated.
Shaun Fuhr was a 24-year-old man who was a son, a brother, a father, and a friend. No doubt, his family and friends will dearly miss him. His death is a tragedy. The NAACP-SKC demands a thorough, professional, complete, independent criminal investigation of the homicide death of Shaun Fuhr, whether or not ultimately the crime is determined to be justified or excused.
President, NAACP Seattle King County
PRESS RELEASE: NAACP National Board of Directors' Hearing and Findings of former President Sadiqa Sakin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 29, 2020
CONTACT: Carolyn Riley-Payne, President, Seattle/King County NAACP
On April 21, 2020, the NAACP National Board of Directors effectively removed former NAACP Seattle/King County President Sadiqa Sakin from our local Branch as officer and member. After a thorough investigation and hearings by the National Office and Committees, the National Board of Directors reached its conclusion and findings for Ms. Sakin by stating in part, ” In accordance with Article X, Section 4, of the Bylaws for Units, the President and CEO suspended you from office as President of the NAACP Seattle King Co. Branch on November 04, 2019, after it was determined that your activities, behavior, and conduct were detrimental and inimical to the NAACP.”
The National Board of Directors also voted to suspend Ms. Sakin’s membership for a period of five years, commencing from the original suspension date of November 04, 2019. Once the suspension time is complete, Ms. Sakin may apply to the National Board of Directors for reinstatement of her membership.”
Per NAACP Constitution and Bylaws for the Units, Article X, Sec 2.” The Board of Directors, upon satisfactory evidence that a member of the Association is guilty of conduct not in accord with the principles, aims and purposes of the Association, as set forth in this Constitution,… or is guilty of conduct inimical to the best interests of the Association, may order suspension, expulsion or other disciplinary action against such member, after a hearing in accordance with the provisions of this Article.”
Effective immediately, Carolyn Riley-Payne is the President of the local Seattle/King County NAACP Branch #1136.
We thank you, our community members, for staying with us as we continue to sort out the matter and fight for social justice in Seattle/King County. Now more than ever, we need your help and membership to further ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2020
SpokesPerson: Carolyn Riley-Payne, President, Seattle/King County NAACP
EMAIL: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
The Seattle-King County NAACP, under leadership of President Carolyn Riley-Payne, is extremely concerned about the profound effect that COVID-19 is having on the Black community in Seattle and King County, and the country. Black people are an overall disproportionately affected community in the number of cases and deaths of COVID-19. This will not be tolerated.
The Seattle-King County NAACP is working with and reaching out to State and local officials on the improper safety and protection to our community during this time. Our community lacks the proper universal measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 by employers: proper Social Distancing called for by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), personal protective equipment, and regular cleaning and sanitizing of work spaces and its equipment. This is in part due to Black Americans being more likely to be employed in jobs that are considered essential—grocery clerks, fast-food workers, transit, postal and delivery workers. Just this past week in Seattle, King County, Washington, 59-year-old Samina Hameed, a King County Metro bus driver, died after contracting the virus.
Our NAACP branch is asking our community for its stories. Did you get furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19? Were you promised restoration pay while you're laid off? Were you retaliated against for demanding a safe work environment during this global pandemic? Contact us with your story at email@example.com
The Seattle-King County NAACP recognizes that the disproportionately negative effect of COVID-19 on the Black community is an indication of ongoing structural and institutional racism in the United States Healthcare system; the response by our State and local leaders, and our community employers, is an opportunity to save Black lives and correct the systemic problems in our healthcare systems.
An update from our NAACP Health Chair, Phyllis D. Gearring-Anderson, on this current global pandemic:
Governor Inslee is reviewing the shelter in place (Stay Home/Stay Healthy) restrictions, but does not expect to make any changes before May 4, 2020.
New cases of the coronavirus (Covid -19) seem to be slowing, however with increased testing availability, it is expected to see increased cases. In King County, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders, Hispanic or Latinos, and African Americans are disproportionately impacted in this order.
Current Positive Cases:
Positive Cases Deaths
US 852, 47,750
WA 12,494 692
King 5449 379
Ethnicity and Race/100,000 (4/10/2020)
Hispanic or Latino 159.2
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 185.5
Native Indian or Alaskan 103.5
We all should continue to:
- Shelter in place
- Frequently hand wash
- Don't touch your face (eyes, nose, mouth)
- Social distance and limit gatherings to no more than 10
- Avoid sick people and don't leave your home if you are sick!
The NAACP stands with the Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs in reinforcing the reality that viruses are not ethnic-specific. The CAPAA and the NAACP reject race and location-specific labels to describe COVID-19.
Today, in Washington and nationwide, reports of hate crimes targeting Asian people are on the rise. In their best practices for naming diseases, the World Health Organization explicitly warns against naming diseases after locations, cognizant of the bigotry that could provoke. Viruses are not ethnic-specific, and people of Asian descent are no more likely than anyone else to carry or spread COVID-19. In times of uncertainty and heightened fear, all people, especially leadership, must be vigilant to not perpetuate negative stereotypes, nor promote prejudicial attitudes based upon race. For more information, please click below:
Your Seattle King County NAACP is working to keep you informed on ways/tips to combat the spread of the COVID 19 in our neighborhoods. As the weeks pass, we will continue to offer tips as well as interpretations of the policy and procedures, and how that may impact our community.
By President Trump declaring a State of Emergency for the United States, he has used his power to free up funds for free testing, paid emergency leaves, and measures to contain the Virus. Things are moving at a fast pace, and the NAACP is keeping informed on what resources are being proposed and implemented, and will be sharing them with you, our community.
Governor Inslee has mandated that all statewide schools K-12 remain closed to at least April 24, 2020. And now, they are restricting to groups of 50 people by order of the CDC and President Trump. Seattle and King County has experienced 37 deaths and 420 cases of the coronas virus. Due to these measures, and for the health of our community, the NAACP Seattle King County will suspend in-person meetings through this time period, but please keep watch of our website and online calendar, as well as follow our social media @SeattleKingCountyNAACP on Instagram, facebook, and twitter.
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Seattle King County NAACP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 31, 2019
SpokesPerson: President, Seattle/King County NAACP
The Seattle-King County NAACP, wishes to make a statement about the displacement of women business owners in SeaTac.
This is a gross injustice. The Seatac Center Mall was a deteriorating former Casino, and it was through the will and determination of immigrants, chiefly African Muslim, Latino, and Indian immigrant families to make Bokaro Mall as it’s known in the community today: the Heart of Seatac’s International District. The Seatac City Center Coalition has fought for two years to be heard by their representatives, only to be told that they don’t belong here because of their faith and the color of their skin. This is the same kind of bigotry and racism that the NAACP fought against in the Mississippi Delta in 1963, and with voter suppression in Georgia in 2018.
The Seattle-King County NAACP calls on the City of Seatac and Inland Development to do the right thing, and we formally condemn the City of Seatac for their blatant indifference and racism. This must be said: Seatac is our Selma today. Just as former Alabama Governor George Wallace stood against the activists who wanted to march for freedom, Mayor Erin Sitterley and her allies on city council have time and time again stated, demonstrated, and pronounced that these Black and Brown lives do not matter to them.
This is unacceptable. The only just resolution to this is for the City to come to a moral revival and acknowledge their responsibility to respect and appreciate their citizens here. Our citizens and proud business-owners must be protected and celebrated, not gentrified. No matter where they come from, the color of their skin, or the god that they pray to, they are Seatac, and here is where they deserve to stay.