Military and Police

Federal Judge Who Found Police Department in Compliance with (Bogus) Consent Decree Could Change His Mind

Once again, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) finds itself ensnared in controversy. U.S. District Court Judge James Robart earlier last year found the SPD in compliance with a bogus federal consent decree. Yet’ he’s delaying the entire process. At the heart of the delay is the cops’ (already four-year-delayed) labor contract with the city and the pay raises they deserve. Why? Because he disagreed with a state arbiter’s decision to reinstate a terminated officer.

If not for political reasons, why else would this judge hold up an approved labor contract and a pay raise for some 1,300 cops over one decision about one officer made by a state arbiter during binding arbitration? The state had specifically placed the arbiter in the city-guild negotiations to make this decision. This is an arbiter who saw all the evidence and heard all the testimony. What judicial hubris and overreaction! For cops, the anti-cop sentiment leaks through.

According to The Seattle Times, the Seattle U.S. Attorney’s Office (DOJ) considers the officer’s reinstatement an “individual incident.” The SPD fired him for punching a handcuffed suspect after she kicked him in the face. The city of Seattle and U.S. attorney are urging Judge Robart “to find that the decision [to reinstate the officer] doesn’t conflict with a 2012 consent decree.” Isn’t this obvious?

Judge Robart using this single incident to continue to hold officers hostage to leftist politics is not surprising. When the cop-hunting DOJ firm of Obama, Holder, & Durkan came to town in 2011, they used erroneous “evidence” as a basis for investigating the SPD for a predetermined “pattern and practice” of use-of-force violations. In fact, they started their investigation based on a handful of high-profile incidents where all the officers except one were found to have acted properly. That officer was not criminally charged but was fired.

To show what cops are up against in Seattle, just the “news” story reporting this event tells us a lot. This was a “straight news” story. But the reporter begins his conclusion with, “Since the election of President Donald Trump, such efforts have dramatically slowed…” So far, so good. The federal government’s partisan attacks on cops should not only slow but also stop. But, unable to keep from editorializing, the reporter finished with, “… amid Justice Department hostility to police reform [emphasis added].”

A neat trick, eh? The reporter assumes that the need for “police reform” is legitimate and uncontroversial. And he convicts President Trump’s DOJ as being hostile to “police reforms.” He ignores there is a massive segment of the American population that doesn’t accept the assumption “police reforms” are necessary. This alone makes Obama-Holder-era consent decrees generally (and with the SPD, specifically) controversial and should be acknowledged as such in news reporting. Just because the left doesn’t like the way police work is done doesn’t mean it’s wrong or in need of “reform.”

This bogus consent decree, a vile vestige of the anti-cop Obama-Holder DOJ motivated by a clear leftist agenda, has done enough damage. After the better part of a decade, it’s time to stop the animosity toward the SPD that has so clearly damaged such a fine police department. If Seattle’s political anti-cop slather finally stops, the consent decree is lifted, and the cops get their well-deserved raises. Perhaps more officers might even stay with the department instead of fleeing for more hospitable communities.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at

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