Seattle mayor bypasses union talks, signs executive order implementing body cams
By Brian Seay
In an executive order issued Monday, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray sidestepped talks with the police union and ordered patrol officers to begin wearing body cameras.
Citing fewer civilian complaints and use-of-force incidents when the cameras are worn, Murray’s order mandated bike patrol officers to start using body cameras by July 22 in one of the city’s five police precincts. By Sept. 30, all patrol officers are to be outfitted with the cameras in the West Precinct, and other precincts will slowly phase in the program in the months to come.
The executive order comes a month after two Seattle officers shot and killed Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old black woman and mother of four, in her apartment on June 18. Officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew said Lyles attacked them with knives after she called police to report a burglary. The officers in the incident were wearing microphones, but no body cameras. That fact spurred anger amongst the African American community.
“The prompt implementation of body-worn cameras is necessary to ensure that no further significant uses of force by police officers will be undocumented by a video record,” said the mayor’s order.
Murray said he wasn’t going to allow the city to be held hostage