Seattle, Washington, once a principal player in the defund-the-police movement, is now reeling as leaders try to address issues related to homeless camps, runaway crime and allegations of government and police corruption.
Last summer, a leading police officer sent a blistering resignation letter noting how bad policies had crippled the department.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bruce Harrell announced a new measure to reign in the common tactic of officers lying to the public and to those they are questioning or trying to apprehend.
Fox News reported the new policy follows two high-profile cases in the last five years that led to public backlash.
In one case, police lied to the accused driver in a hit-and-run accident, telling him the crash left a woman in “critical condition.” The truth was it was a minor accident and there were no injuries, but the police statement so impacted the driver that he committed suicide.
In 2020, Seattle police issued a false statement to the public — stating that “armed Proud Boys” had “occupied” sections of Capitol Hill. The announcement caused panic, and some in the area armed themselves, which created a potentially volatile environment.
Multiple reports indicate that officers routinely lie to those they want to apprehend or question.
The new rule establishes new integrity standards for police officers — limiting misdirection and the giving of false statements to certain scenarios. The scenarios include:
- Attempts to de-escalate a potentially harmful situation.
- To calm or provide comfort to a person or to promote the safety of any person.
- Scene management (to bring potentially violent situations to a peaceful resolution).
- The new rule also prohibits officers from broadcasting false information over “radio, social media, or any other mass media format.”
Further, officers are now prohibited from making or implying false promises or making statements designed to “shock the conscience.”
Harrel stated the new guidelines will go into effect this week.
The mayor stated the policy was developed after a three-year study. “Effective public safety requires community buy-in, and this new policy is an important step to build understanding with the public,” Harrel said. “Demonstrating that for Seattle Police Department operations to be successful, they must be paired with a commitment to unbiased, constitutional policing.”
Police Chief Adrian Diaz reportedly welcomed the new rules.
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