Make our intention clear: Bring Diaz Down! marching to East Precinct (1519 12th Avenue), Seattle.
Join us for a speakout and rally at 23rd and Union on January 14th. Speak about your experiences with police brutality, inappropriate force, and harassment. We light the torches in honor of our dead, killed by the police. We’ll march to the East Precinct make clear our intention: Chief Diaz’s resignation and the prosecution of all officers who are repeatedly engaged in misconduct and excessive use of force. Bring signs, your passion, and determination.
The Occupy Seattle General Assembly has passed the following resolution, here in part: “In consideration of the Seattle Police Department’s systematic use of excess force on the citizens of Seattle, its violent and unnecessary repression of nonviolent protesters and its disproportionate targeting of the most disenfranchised members of society, whether they be people of color or simply people without houses, Occupy Seattle hereby calls for the resignation of John Diaz, Chief of the Seattle Police Department and the prosecution of all officers found to be repeatedly engaged in misconduct…”
Check out the Occupy Seattle Calendar for more info.
Full proposal below:
In consideration of the Seattle Police Department’s systematic use of excess force on the citizens of Seattle, its violent and unnecessary repression of nonviolent protesters and its disproportionate targeting of the most disenfranchised members of society, whether they be people of color or simply people without houses, Occupy Seattle hereby calls for the resignation of John Diaz, Chief of the Seattle Police Department and the prosecution of all officers found to be repeatedly engaged in misconduct.
John Diaz has been Chief of Police since August of 2010. Shortly after his inauguration, the city was thrown into uproar over the vicious murder of native woodcarver John T. Williams by a Seattle Police officer. The officer, though resigned, has never been charged for the crime. This murder brought to the surface many of the long-standing forms of repression that exist in the city of Seattle, all of which are directly facilitated by SPD, especially those officers who engage in repeated acts of excessive force.
The SPD disproportionately targets the homeless, who, through the passage of so-called “civility laws” have been deemed an effectively illegal population of economic refugees, constantly harassed, told to “move along” and, if they do not comply, violently beaten, arrested and even murdered. The department also disproportionately targets communities of color, whether by enforcing foreclosure evictions on behalf of the big banks, maintaining enormous Stay Out of Drug Areas which ban those with certain charges from entire regions of the city, or simply through direct racial bias.
The Department of Justice has clearly found SPD to be engaged in a pattern of excessive use of force, in which officers tend to escalate rather than de-escalate conflicts by verbally and physically abusing suspects. In addition, the DOJ has criticized the complete lack of oversight within the department, which very rarely brings repeat offenders up for administrative review. These practices have continued under Diaz, whose initial response to the findings was that they were simply wrong. He claimed that “the department is not broken” and is stubbornly refusing to make even the relatively mild changes in protocol suggested by the DOJ. Additionally, those officers outlined in the report as repeat offenders have yet to be held accountable for their actions.
Moreover, under Diaz, the city of Seattle has seen one of the most concerted, militant and violent repressions of a non-violent protest movement since the WTO protests. SPD has engaged in a systematic attack on Seattle’s Occupation, earning the city international infamy as news got out about the pepper-spraying of 84-year old Dorli Rainey, as well as the pregnant Jennifer Fox, who was pepper sprayed, kicked in the stomach and soon after miscarried. The department sent in a SWAT team with automatic rifles drawn in order to arrest protesters who had occupied a community center slated for demolition in Capitol Hill, to be replaced now by high-income condominiums. They threw percussion grenades at occupiers demonstrating for workers’ rights in the Seattle Port Shutdown, where police horses spooked by these very grenades then proceeded to trample protestors. Early on in our Occupation they sent in the special Gang Unit to dismantle our encampment at Westlake, taking down tents, tarps and even umbrellas and arresting those who resisted.
Diaz, as Chief of Police, is not only responsible for continuing SPD’s regular practice of escalation, racial profiling and excessive force, he is also directly responsible for giving the orders to crush the most vital, hopeful protest movement in the world’s recent history. This police department enforces the rule of the 1%, an untenable, unjust dominion which will not be allowed to continue.
For all of these reasons, we call for the immediate resignation of John Diaz, Chief of the Seattle Police Department and the prosecution of all officers found to be repeatedly engaged in misconduct.