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Originally published October 18, 2012 at 5:16 PM | Page modified October 19, 2012 at 7:41 AM

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Editorial: Mayor Mike McGinn’s clumsy move on choosing a police monitor

Mayor Mike McGinn’s public opposition to a candidate to monitor remedial changes in the Seattle Police Department inspired proper indignation.

Seattle Times Editorial

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The Seattle Police Department is under a federal mandate from the U.S. Department of Justice to clean up its act. Public safety and reform must not be infected by politics.

That last sentiment is from Mayor Mike McGinn who, moments away from another round of mediated negotiations to select a monitor, denigrated a candidate he and the police do not want.

Well, the Police Department does not get a vote in the matter. McGinn is listening to the wrong voices if he sides with anxious police officials.

Four City Council members and the city attorney responded to the mayor’s remarks with dismay and thinly veiled anger: “The Mayor’s statements undermine the candidate process and are factually wrong.”

They said his comments “revealed a continuation of the obstruction and stall tactics we have seen from the beginning. We can no longer remain silent.”

The statement was signed by City Councilmembers Sally J. Clark, Bruce Harrell, Tim Burgess and Nick Licata, and City Attorney Pete Holmes.

The community is approaching a one-year interval from the release of the DOJ’s findings to a possible response from the city.

There is a pattern here that is alarming. At the same time nothing is happening with the DOJ findings, the Office of Professional Accountability in the police department is looking for a new director.

The credibility of the OPA was about nil. Few believed there was an ounce of independence or potential for true accountability.

McGinn’s little dance and finger wag before more talks to select a monitor fit the pattern. The public has every right to be impatient for substantive reforms, and to be deeply suspicious of their likelihood.

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