Timeline 1955-2020

The following is a chronology of selected legislation and events regarding police accountability in Seattle through 2020.

1955-1956 Mayor's Advisory Committee on Police Practices meets and formulates recommendations.
1964 November 13 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) files petition requesting police review panel because of allegations of police brutality.
1965 January 22 City Council holds hearing regarding ACLU request for police review panel.
1965 February 19 Second hearing regarding ACLU request.
1965 February 20 The Committee of the Whole votes not to recommend police review panel.
1965 March 15 Full Council votes unanimously not to establish police review board.
1965 June 20 Robert Reese (40) killed by an off-duty policeman in Seattle's International District as he was fleeing as a passenger in a car. His death was found to be an "excusable homicide."
1965 July "Freedom Patrols" organized by the Central Area Committee on Civil Rights after little action was taken by the City to change policies or remove or transfer the officers involved in Reese’s death. The patrols were "walking civilian review boards" involving teams of two to three people following policemen on their beat in the Central Area ensuring unwarranted force was not used.
1965 August 25 Mayor Dorm Braman meets with the Central Area Youth Action Council (CAYAC) after they sat outside his office for several days requesting a meeting. The mayor denied their requests for a trial for the police officers involved in Reese's death and for a police review board to be established.
1966 November 30 Eddie Ray Lincoln (19) fatally shot while fleeing Seattle police.
1967 January Freshman State Representative Edward Heavey introduces legislation in the House to establish a Police Commission in Seattle to oversee operations of the police force. It does not pass.
1967 January Mayor Braman appoints a three-person committee to investigate reports of payoffs in SPD and recommend any needed changes in police procedures.
1967 April The Seattle Urban League assessed race relations for the previous year at their annual meeting, stating "tensions in the community will continue to grow toward explosive proportions unless genuine progress is made to improve police-community relations and provide fair housing, employment and educational opportunities for the nonwhite citizens of the community."
1967 August 14 Five members of WE of the Grass Roots Committee meet with Mayor Braman on August 14, 1967, to ask for an information center in the Central Area, upgrading of Garfield playground and a police review board.
1968 Central Area Mothers for Peace and Integration (CAMPI) is founded with 275 members.
1968 February 15 Councilmember Sam Smith writes to Chief of Police Frank Ramon and Mayor Braman with a suggestion of creating Dialog Sessions which he stated would be "...to improve relationship [sic] with the Police Department of our City, Civil Rights Activists, Militants, Black Power Advocates and the General Community...[and] to open Communication Channels between the Police who serve in the Minority or Disadvantaged Area and representatives of the Groups mentioned above."
1968 April The Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party is established. It was the first chapter outside of California.
1968 April 19 Seattle City Council passes legislation prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of houses. The legislation was amended in 1975 to include prohibitions against discrimination based on sex, marital status, sexual orientation, and political ideology; and in 1979 to include age and parental status. In 1986, creed and disability were added as prohibitions on discrimination, and in 1999 gender identity was added. Seattle did not pass legislation regarding employment discrimination based on age, sex, race, creed, color or national origin until 1972.
1968 June The International Association of Chiefs of Police completes its report on the Seattle Police Department after a six-month study.
1968 July Police Liaison Committee is formed. Its purpose was to improve relations between the Police Department and area residents as well as receive complaints about police actions.
1968 July 29 Protest rally at Garfield Playfield on behalf of the arrest of two Black Panther members in Seattle marked by fire bombs and tear gas.
1968 July 30 About 30 people come to the police chief's office to protest police action in the Central District on the previous day, including use of tear gas.
1968 October 5 Welton "Butch" Armstead (17), a member of the Black Panthers, was shot and killed by police at 1706 Melrose Avenue. A coroner’s jury ruled the shooting was justifiable on October 16.
1969 January 14 Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Commission is established.
1969 June 19
Concerned Central Area Citizens meet with City officials at Mount Zion Baptist Church. They make ten demands, including an external review system that could handle complaints against the Police Department. The City was represented by Deputy Mayor Ed Devine, City Councilmembers Don Wright, Tim Hill, Phyllis Lamphere and Charles Carroll and three assistant police chiefs, including Tony Gustin.
1970 January The Seattle Police Officers Guild charges the Human Rights Commission with attempting to set itself up as a police review board.
1970 February 17 Violence breaks out at a demonstration led by the Seattle Liberation Front at the Federal Courthouse in Seattle protesting citations against the "Chicago Seven" who were charged with conspiring to plan a riot during the August 1968 Democratic Party in Chicago.
1970 May 5 A protest of the Vietnam War including over 6,000 University of Washington students march onto the freeway and head to the federal courthouse after four students were shot by National Guard troops at Kent State University.
1970 May 15 Larry Ward (22) shot and killed by police after fleeing Hardcastle Real Estate Co. (24th Ave and E Union) where he attempted to set off a bomb.
1970 May 29 Silent Majority demonstration at Public Safety Building in support of Seattle police.
1971 March 21 Leslie Allen Black (21) killed by police after he was stopped for a missing front license plate.
1971 March 29 Black United Clergy for Action write Police Chief Tielsch about the shooting of Leslie Allen Black. "It appears that no crime was committed by Mr. Black. However, if there was a crime perpetrated, the punishment was far more extreme than the crime and the officers involved should not only be dismissed, but charges filed against them as well."
1971 April 16 Louis Alton Jones (27) killed by police after he ran a stop sign.
1971 April 20 Demonstrators march from Garfield High School to the Municipal Building to occupy City Council chambers.
1971 April Seattle Human Rights Commission recommends City Council establish a Citizens Review Board; the Central Seattle Community Council writes in support of their recommendation.
1973 January 1 Seize the Time for Oppressed People (STOP) forms to fight against the cutbacks in social and health services.
1974 March Jon Bisha accuses an officer of beating him in the police garage and files a $100,000 damage suit against the City. The president of the Police Guild stated that the police backed the officer and that if he was disciplined, the officers were prepared to "walk out." The officer was fired, rehired on the recommendation of the Police Disciplinary Review Board, and then successfully defended himself against Bisha's allegations. The episode led indirectly to the departure of Police Chief Tielsch.
1974 August 1 STOP files petition with over 1500 signatures for creation of civilian police review unit and cessation of intelligence files on those who had not committed a crime.
1974 October Police Department policy changes to allow citizen observers on the Disciplinary Hearing Panel (later the Complaint Advisory Board).
1975 February 15 Joseph L Hebert, Jr. (23) shot and killed by police officer after being stopped for a suspected stolen car and fleeing on foot in the Central Area. The family filed a $1.25 damage claim against the City.
1975 Group "Justice for Joe" forms, represented by Larry Gossett.
1975 August 12 John Newell Baker (25) shot and killed by the same officer who shot Joseph Hebert after robbing a Black Angus Restaurant on Aurora and 12th.
1975 November Chief Hanson appoints a committee to review police intelligence activities.
1977 August 22 Manual Medina (26) shot and killed after he robbed a Rainier Valley Safeway store. He had been hiding in blackberry bushes for almost an hour after the robbery; he was shot at least twelve times.
1977 August 30 Protests outside City Hall include Roberto Maestas and members of the ACLU and the Coalition to Stop Police Abuses.
1977 September 25 Gary Krueger (29) shot and killed by police on Queen Anne Hill; holding a knife, he was questioned as a suspected prowler.
1978 August 19 John Alfred Rodney (26) shot and killed as he was fleeing over a fence from a burglary, unarmed.
1978 November Initiative 15 passes, sponsored by the Seattle Police Officers Guild. Its passage overturned City Council policy regarding use of force.
1981 July 19 William Jonathan Bensen (25) shot and killed on 3400 block of Beach Dr SW; he was armed with a gun and suffered from mental illness.
1981 October 26 Martin William McCune (28) shot and killed by police at 2410 Third Avenue. McCune had a history of mental illness and was holding a knife, having wounded his mother with the knife hours earlier. An inquest jury ruled the shooting was justified.
1984 January Allen LeRoy Raymond (40) shot and killed by police while robbing a Georgetown restaurant; he was armed.
1984 March 28 Robert Baldwin (42) kills a King County officer who served him an eviction notice for being $110 overdue on his rent. After a 17-hour stand-off with the Seattle police, he is shot 21 times in the back at his Yesler Terrace housing project apartment.
1985 January 5 Roland B. Clayton killed by a Seattle police officer after robbing mini-mart on Aurora in North Seattle.
1988 February 2 William M. Tucker (44) shot and killed when an officer serving a search warrant at his Central Area house on 23rd Avenue tripped and his gun went off accidentally.
1988 February 16 Johnny Lee McElroy (41) shot and killed in the Wedgwood neighborhood after an attempted bank robbery. An inquest jury ruled the police acted properly and the King County prosecutor did not file charges against the officer.
1988 February 17 Erdman Bascomb (41) shot and killed during a drug raid on his apartment in Rainier Valley on 36th Ave South. He pointed a remote control at police after they opened his door with a battering ram. The inquest jury ruled in April that the police were justified.
1988 July 10 Shawn Robert McDowell (29) shot and killed at a grocery store at 15th Ave NE and NE 145th St after an attempted robbery. An inquest jury ruled the shooting was justified.
1988 November 21 Lynn Brooks (34) shot and killed in Ballard after he pulled a weapon on a police officer issuing a traffic citation to the woman driving the vehicle in which he was a passenger.
1990 Mothers Against Police Harassment is formed by Harriett Walden.
1991 March 28 After the beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles was videotaped and shown on national television, public focus on the police intensified. Over 250 people attended a hearing on police accountability. The mayor was reluctant to endorse any kind of civilian review.
1991 Puget Sound Coalition for Police Accountability is formed.
1991 Human Rights Commission study finds "a deep and disturbing lack of trust of the police," particularly among minority groups.
1991 December 17 Internal Investigations Auditor position authorized with Ordinance 115975.
1992 January Coalition to Demand Civil Justice forms.
1992 January 25 400-person protest march against fascism, racism and sexism results in confrontation by police.
1992 February 21 Two police officers stake out a frequently robbed mini-mart at 1701 E. Madison in the Central Area and shoot and kill Anthony Miggale Lyons (24) when he attempted to rob the store. Lyons had a pistol.
1992 February 25 100 protesters at the Public Safety Building ask for an investigation into police actions at the January 25th protest march.
1992 February 28 John Bernard McDonald (70) shot and killed by police at his Seattle Housing Authority apartment located at 4544 Seventh Ave NE after confronting police with a knife.
1992 March 16 Terrence Carroll, a former King County Judge, is confirmed by City Council as Police Auditor to review the way Seattle police handle individual complaints of excessive force against officers. The Auditor had the authority to recommend further investigations.
1992 March 20 75 people rally on the anniversary of the beating of Rodney King.
1992 July ACLU urges creation of civilian review board for police conduct.
1992 December 14 City Council approves (6-3) federal Weed and Seed program to finance law enforcement and social programs in Central Area.
1995 April 22 Antonio Dunsmore (31) shot and killed at Garfield Community Center after police respond to calls about a man with threatening behavior; what police thought was a gun was a clear plastic squirt gun. Dunsmore had more than 19 bullets fired at him; his mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 1998 in the U.S. District Court in Seattle.
1996 January 15 Edward Anderson shot and killed by police responding to a domestic violence call.
1996 October 1 Bodegard Mitchell (84) shot and killed by police after barricading himself in his South Seattle apartment. One of the police officers on the scene was later accused of stealing $10,000 from Mitchell's apartment.
1997 February 3 Citizen Observer ordinance passes, allowing a Citizen Observer to observe and make recommendations regarding the Firearms Review Board.
1998 December 29 Michael Ealy (35) dies while being restrained by Seattle police and paramedics.
1999 April 200 people attend a National Day of Protest Against Police Violence in Denny Park.
1999 Citizens Review Panel convened by Mayor Paul Schell to study SPD's policies and procedures relating to accountability and the reporting of police misconduct.
1999 November-December The World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Seattle inspired one of the largest political protests to date in Seattle. A civil emergency was declared and many protesters were arrested. Months of analysis followed, exploring issues surrounding the rights of free speech and assembly, abuse by law enforcement officers, and mistreatment of individuals taken into custody.
2000 April 12 David John Walker (40) shot and killed in lower Queen Anne after he shoplifted from a local supermarket and left with a gun and a knife. He had a history of mental illness. His family files a $5 million claim for damages with the City.
2001 May 31 Aaron Roberts (36) stopped and killed by the police after he drove away from a traffic stop at 23rd Avenue and East Union Street in the Central District. The SPD Firearms Review Board and the internal review board found the shooting justified. The King County prosecutor did not pursue charges against the police officers.
2001 June 1 Protesters march from 23rd Avenue and East Union to Westlake Center to protest Roberts' death.
2001 August 14 Devon Jackson (20) killed by police after he fatally shot a friend in South Seattle and beat a 2-year-old boy to death. 
2001 November 28 Anthony James Shuster (23) shot and killed in Lake City after police responded to a call that he was attempting suicide with a knife.
2002 Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) is formed within the Police Department to receive and review complaints of misconduct by Seattle Police Department personnel.
2002 Three-member OPA Review Board is created to review quality of complaint-handling process and advise on policies and practices.
2007 OPA Review Board membership expands to seven; OPA Auditor role expanded.
2007 The Mayor and City Council each convene police accountability review panels.
2008 January 29 Police Accountability Review Panel Final Report submitted.
2008 July 7 City Council Police Accountability Panel Final Report submitted.
2010 August 30 John T. Williams (50), Native American wood carver, shot four times by a police officer because he was carrying a penknife. The shooting was ruled "unjustified" by the Firearms Review Board. No charges were filed against the officer in Williams' death.
2010 December 3 35 civil rights and community-based organizations request the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Attorney to investigate whether SPD had engaged in a pattern or practice of violations of civil rights.
2011 December 16 DOJ completes investigation finding a pattern and practice of excessive force and concerns about biased policing; based on its findings DOJ initiates a lawsuit against the City of Seattle.
2012 July 27 City of Seattle enters settlement agreement or "consent decree" with DOJ that includes federal court oversight.
2012 October 29 Community Police Commission is created.
2014 Black Lives Matter Seattle chapter is founded by Marissa Johnson and Mara Willaford.
2016 February 21 Che Taylor (47) shot and killed in Wedgwood when Seattle police were conducting an undercover drug operation. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed.
2017 June 1 New legislation passes overhauling Seattle's police accountability system. It implements a new Office of Inspector General for Public Safety and a permanent Community Police Commission.
2017 June 18 Charleena Lyles (30) shot and killed by Seattle police at her transitional housing apartment in Sand Point after she called to report a burglary. She had a knife and suffered from mental health issues.
2018 January 31 Iosia Faletogo (36) shot and killed near Aurora and Northgate after a traffic stop. The police internal investigation section concluded that the officer involved acted reasonably and within training and policy.
2019 June 11 An estimated 60,000 people participated in a 1.8-mile March of Silence organized by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County.
2020 May 7 City files motion to terminate all independent monitoring of compliance with the consent decree.
2020 May 19 Terry J. Caver (57) shot and killed by police at the intersection of West Harrison Street and Elliott Avenue West after 911 calls stated he was carrying a knife. Caver suffered from mental health issues.
2020 May 25 Killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis triggers national movement for accountability and restructuring of police departments.
2020 June 3 City withdraws motion to terminate independent monitoring of compliance with the consent decree.

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