Law

LAW ENFORCEMENT
9:39 am
Tue April 19, 2011

Former Seattle Police Chief Kerlikowske reportedly in line for Chicago top cop job

White House drug czar and former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske meets Afghan and American officials at a dinner held at the U.S Ambassadors residence in Afghanistan in February.
U.S. Embassy, Afghanistan

Former Seattle Police Chief and current White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske is reportedly in the running for Chicago’s police superintendent.

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Washington State Legislature
8:11 am
Fri April 15, 2011

Feds put brakes on controversial medical-pot dispensaries law

A new law that would legalize medical-marijuana dispensaries and growers in Washington has already passed both chambers of the legislature in Olympia.  But it looks like it won't ever take effect.

That's because the state's top federal prosecutors have threatened to crack down if it goes forward.

In a letter to Governor Chris Gregoire, U.S. Attorneys Jenny Durkan of Seattle and Michael Ormsby of Spokane write that the bill would undermine drug enforcement

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Law
3:12 pm
Thu April 14, 2011

Seattle may not need new jail until at least 2030

Since 2007, the inmate population at King County's jails has declined, meaning more empty cells and less revenue.
Lynn Aa'isha

It could be two decades before Seattle needs more jail beds for its misdemeanor inmates. City and King County leaders say that’s the expected result of a new agreement.

The deal extends an arrangement the city and county struck last year to house some of Seattle’s jail population in the county’s downtown facility. That brought an end to a controversial search for a new city jail site.

Mayor Mike McGinn says he’s glad that’s off the table for now:

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Living in Gangland
5:00 am
Thu April 14, 2011

Former Idaho gang member makes new life

Alfonso Santos points to one of the bullet holes left in a fence from a drive-by gang shooting he was the target of in Caldwell, Idaho.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

This week we're taking a look at what police say is a resurgence of gang activity - especially in rural areas. In part four of our series "Living In Gangland" we learned how one Idaho man got out of a gang - and stayed out.

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New citizens
11:57 am
Wed April 13, 2011

Public library hosts naturalization ceremony

Twenty-eight countries were represented at a citizenship ceremony at the downtown branch of the Seattle Public Library on April 12, 2011.
Paula Wissel

For the first time, the Seattle Public Library was the venue for a naturalization ceremony.  Eighty-six people from twenty-eight countries were sworn in as American citizens.

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State Budget
8:44 am
Wed April 13, 2011

Senate proposes pay cut for school employees

In a rare display of bipartisanship, budget Chair Ed Murray, D-Seattle (on the left) co-wrote the Senate’s budget proposal with ranking Republican Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield
Austin Jenkins N3

Teachers and other public school employees in Washington could face a 3% pay cut. That’s one of the key cost-saving measures contained in the State Senate’s two-year budget proposal. It was unveiled late Tuesday.

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Living in Gangland
4:00 am
Wed April 13, 2011

Some women don't choose gang life, but it affects them nonetheless

Anna King Northwest News Network

This week we're taking a look at what police say is a resurgence of gang activity - especially in rural areas. In part three of "Living In Gangland," we profile a mother and daughter and their struggle with gangs.

Across the nation there are an estimated 750,000 gang members. That's according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Some of them are women, but more often, women are impacted as the mothers, sisters and girlfriends of gang memgers. They may not actively choose the gang life, but its perils affect them nonetheless.

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Law
2:24 pm
Tue April 12, 2011

When to call 9-1-1

Al Pavangkanan flickr.com

The Washington State Patrol is reminding people they should call 9-1-1 only when they need police, fire, or emergency medical services. It may seem like simple common sense advice that everyone knows, but dispatchers frequently get calls asking for road conditions or driving directions. Frivolous calls like that can delay someone from getting the emergency help they need.

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Living in Gangland
4:00 am
Tue April 12, 2011

Activist in tiny Outlook, Washington wants a town where people aren't afraid

A sign promoting a community meeting in Outlook, Wash. a dairy town near Yakima.
Anna King Northwest News Network

This week we're taking a look at what police say is a resurgence of gang activity - especially in rural areas. In part two of "Living in Gangland," we bring you the story of the unincorporated town of Outlook, in Eastern Washington - and one woman who is fighting to get the town back.

When "Maria" gets off Interstate 82 and heads down the off ramp for Outlook – she starts praying -  that she’ll get home safe today.

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Living in Gangland
10:37 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Rural gangs claim public lands

Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife officer Chad McGary briefly detains a self-described gang member who was fishing with friends
Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

This week we're taking a look at what police say is a resurgence of gang activity - especially in rural areas. In part one of our series “Living In Gangland," we go on patrol with a Washington Fish and Wildlife cop. 

Gang violence is mostly a big city problem. But in parts of the rural Northwest, police are grappling with gang rivalries, graffiti and even drive-by shootings.

Just ask Darin Smith, chief of police in Royal City, Washington, population 2,000.

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Law Enforcement
7:49 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Police target Seattle's empty "Citadel" warehouse, now notorious for raves

A still from a video shot March 4, 2011 at Citadel, in South Seattle. Seattle police are cracking down on scenes such as this one.
Still image courtesy of Anzamarch (Junko) YouTube

Clean it up or close it down – that's the choice for the new owner of a vacant property in South Seattle that's become notorious for noisy raves. 

Police have declared The Citadel a chronic nuisance. The boxy warehouse building was turned into a music venue by owner Steve Rauf, who says the dance parties have brought in much-needed revenue. 

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Law & Justice
8:37 am
Wed April 6, 2011

Higher court fines imposed on Latino drug offenders in Washington state

Court fines issued to felons in Washington vary according to the criminal’s ethnicity and location. That’s the conclusion of a University of Washington study published online in American Sociological Review.

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Law
3:23 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Pierce County Prosecutor declares victory against Hilltop Crips

Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood at night. 1/11/2011
Flickr user Gexydaf flickr.com

A little more than a year after 36 members and associates of the Hilltop Crips were arrested and prosecuted, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist is declaring "a victory for the community". Lindquist says the sweep has dramatically reduced incidents of gang violence. 

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John T. Williams Shooting
6:08 am
Fri April 1, 2011

Wood carver's killing subject of federal review

Tribal members gather at the Chief Seattle Club in Pioneer Square last September to call for accountability in the police shooting death of native carver John T. Williams.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

"We have nothing to hide" – those were the words of Seattle's chief of police yesterday.  The department is under fire. 

The questions stem from a federal review of the fatal shooting of a first nation's wood carver last August, as well as what many people perceive as a prior pattern of  abusive violence against minority groups.

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Law and Justice
3:03 pm
Thu March 31, 2011

Feds launch civil rights investigation of Seattle Police

A protester named Redweezil holds up a photo of John T. Williams, a Native woodcarver killed by Seattle Police officer Ian Birk in August 2010. The killing sparked protests and was among the events prompting the ACLU to call for a federal investigation.
Ted S. Warren AP

Update 2:55 p.m.

The federal Department of Justice is launching a full-scale investigation into possible discrimination and excessive use of force in the Seattle Police Department. The probe will review the department’s policies, practices and behavior.

The investigation will look for what’s called a “pattern or practice” of civil rights violations in how the Seattle police use force, especially against minorities.

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