Across the country, millions of Americans are speaking out in support of long-overdue police reforms. Yet here in Spokane, Mayor Nadine Woodward is trying to reduce independent oversight of the police.
The City of Spokane is in the final stages of negotiating a new contract with Spokane police. This is a critical opportunity to increase accountability and independent oversight for local police, which nearly 70 percent Spokane voters supported in 2013. Specifically, the proposed contract prohibits the Police Ombudsman from publicly publishing their reports. We know that without true independent oversight police officers will maintain the cyc and violence that has harmed communities of color for generations – and we can’t let that happen.
The Spokane City Council must approve all police contracts, and they are expected to vote on Monday, June 15th. We need to demand the city council reject any contract that violates the city charter and fails to provide independent oversight of the police.
Whatever our race, background, or zip code, we all want to move through our communities without fearing for our lives or our loved ones. But time and again, we have witnessed evidence of horrors committed against Black people by police in cities and on back roads, in living rooms and on neighborhood streets, in the dark of night and the light of day. We are coming together to demand that liberty and justice be for all and that our elected officials and public servants respect our rights. The Spokane City Council has an opportunity and a responsibility to demand better from Spokane police, but we only have a few days before the vote. Will you send a message to the Spokane City Council?
Email subject line: Vote No on Police Guild contract
Dear Spokane City Councilmembers,
My name is NAME and I am a resident of NEIGHBORHOOD and CITY.
We all want our families to be whole and our communities to be vibrant. No matter our race, what is in our wallet, or whether we live on a city block or a country road, we all want to move through our communities without fearing for our lives or our loved ones.
You are holding public office at a very important moment in our country’s history. We are coming together to stand with Black leaders across the country who are calling for divestment from police and for investment in health, education, housing, arts and culture, and the environment. We know a better future is possible.
Here in Spokane, decades of calls for real oversight of police have been stymied time and again by Police Guild contracts and the failure of Mayoral administrations to produce real results that comply with the City’s own Charter which mandates Office of Police Ombudsman independence and investigations. We must strengthen, not weaken, independent oversight of police.
I am writing to call on you to vote "No" on the proposed contract because it guts the independence of the Office of Police Ombudsman and the Ombudsman Commission and violates the City Charter:
- The proposed contract prohibits public closing reports with findings and recommendations on Internal Affairs investigations of police behavior.
- This contract would give the Police Guild even more power to file a grievance against a candidate for the job of Ombudsman to stop them from being appointed. In addition, it would give the Guild the ability to attempt to have the Ombudsman or an Office of Police Ombudsman Commission Member removed.
- The proposed contract would reduce OPO participation in Use of Force review.
- The proposed contract fails to give OPO authority to mandate officer interviews.
I am calling on you to refuse to approve any contract that fails to create independent investigations and transparent public closing reports or fails to protect the full independence and authority of the Office of Police Ombudsman and Ombudsman Commission. Please respond with your position on this issue.