- - Thursday, March 29, 2012

WASHINGTON

SEATTLE Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn on Thursday proposed a series of police reforms in response to a damning federal report that came after several high-profile incidents involving minorities.

Mr. McGinn and police Chief John Diaz said among the 20 initiatives to be implemented over 20 months were training for all officers on use of force standards, the development of protocol to make sure encounters don’t escalate and steps to address biased policing.

“As mayor, I will be holding police leadership accountable to achieve these changes,” Mr. McGinn said at a City Hall press conference.


In December, the U.S. Justice Department said inadequate supervision and training had led officers to grab weapons such as batons and flashlights too quickly, intensifying confrontations even when arresting people for minor offenses.

The department launched an investigation following the fatal shooting of a homeless Native American woodcarver and other reported uses of force against minorities.

Federal investigators determined Seattle police engaged in excessive force that violated federal law and the Constitution.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and other community groups called for the inquiry after a Seattle officer shot and killed the woodcarver, John T. Williams, in 2010.

Video from Officer Ian Birk’s patrol car showed Williams crossing the street holding a piece of wood and a small knife, and the officer exiting the vehicle. Off-camera, the officer quickly shouted three times for Williams to drop the knife, then fired five shots. The knife was found folded at the scene, but the officer later maintained Williams had threatened him.

IDAHO

White supremacist running for sheriff in panhandle

SANDPOINT He has been an Aryan Nations member and Ku Klux Klan leader, and now Shaun Winkler wants to be the sheriff in a rural Idaho county near the Canadian border.

The white power activist is running as a Republican in the May 15 Bonner County primary to become the top law enforcement officer. Mr. Winkler said despite the white supremacist beliefs he holds as a KKK imperial wizard, his brand of justice would be colorblind.

“In the event I was elected sheriff, I would not act on racial profiling,” Mr. Winkler said. “Being in the white power movement, I know how it feels to be profiled by law enforcement.”

Rather, Mr. Winkler is running on a platform that includes coming down hard on sex offenders and meth manufacturers, and reducing the impact of federal law enforcement at the county level.

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