United States of America v. City of Seattle

Western District of Washington, wawd-2:2012-cv-01282

STIPULATION AND JOINT FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW by Judge James L. Robart.

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Cascase: 12: 19 + 81382824ER DB SUUREMPS Filep 08913H22 Pagga bref 212 The Honorable James L. Robart - - - - . UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE - - . ' . . . UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 12 - CV - 1282 - JLR - T. I4 - . lar L. Plaintiff, STIPULATION AND JOINT PROPOSEDY FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW I L. - . H. . . 1. CITY OF SEATTLE, Please Note on Motion Calendar for: . August 17, 2012. . Defendant. . . . . . . Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 52, the City of Seattle ("the City ' ') and the United States of. . . . . America ("the United States ') (collectively " the Parties") hereby stipulate to, and jointly and. . respectfully submit, the following [ Proposed ] Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. . . [ PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW 1. INTRODUCTION The Parties ' (1) Joint Motion and Eropinsed, Order for Approval of Settlement Agreement and Stipulated Order of Resolution and Entry of Judgment (Dkt. No. 3, filed July 27, 2012, " Joint Motion") and (2) Stipulation and Joint [ Proposed ] Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law (Dkt. No. 5, filed August 17, 2012) were heard in open court on August 24, 2012 before the Honorable James L, Robart, United States District Court Judge. Having considered the foregoing and all the documents in the record, including but not limited to the JOINT [ PROPOSED ] FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 1 12 - CV - 1282 - JLRRBL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Stewart Strect, Suite 5220 Seattle, WA 98101 - 1271 (206) 553 - 7970 Case 2: 12 - cv - 01282 -) Document 14 Ejled 09 / 21 / 12 _ Page 2 of 12 2 Become at the Files 09437422 Page 32 * 22 Complaint (Dkt. No. 1), and its exhibit thereto (Dkt. No. 1 - 1, adopted by reference pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 10 (c)); having heard and considered the argument of counsel at the publicly | | noticed, above - referenced hearing; having further considered the pertinent governing law; and R 4 | | having reviewed the facts and records of this action, the Court makes the following findings of E - - - - | | fact and conclusions of law, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 52 (a) (3): II. FINDINGS OF FACT - DEST = " TEX 1. On March 31, 2011, the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") publicly announced that it had begun an investigation of the Seattle Police Department ("SPD") pursuant - Tr. . to, inter alia, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42U.S. C. § 14141. TTTT ("Section 14141") . DOJ's investigative team consisted of lawyers and other staff from the Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington, . . . . . . . . working closely with policing consultants. . . . . . TH T. . . . . . 2. The City and SPD fully cooperated with the investigation. . . . . . . . . . . During this nine - month investigation, DOJ and its police experts gathered information through interviews and meetings with SPD officers, supervisors, and command staff, . . . . . representatives of the Seattle Police Officers ' Guild and Seattle Police Management Association, members of the public, City and State officials, and other community stakeholders. The. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 investigation also included on and off - site review of documents, and on - site tours in which DOJ personnel and experts accompanied SPD officers during their shifts. - - - 4. As part of the investigation, DOJ received or reviewed hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, including SPD policies and procedures, training materials, SPD's internal | | use of force reports, SPD's public reports, files from SPD's Office of Professional JOINT [ PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 2 12 - CV - 1282 - ILRRBL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Stewart Strect, Suito 5220 Seattle, WA 98101 - 1271 (206) 553 - 7970 case 2 - CV - 01282 - JLR. Document 14. Fjled Q9 / 21 / 12 Page 3 of 12 Case 2. 12 - CV - 01282 - JLR Document 5 Filed08717712 Page 3 of 12 Pesumente File 39434422 PARTS & 12 1 Accountability ("OPA"), and community and other publicly available documents, as well as video and other data generated from SPD and OPA databases. 5. The investigation also included hundreds of interviews and meetings with SPD. | officers, supervisors, command staff, its Auditors past and present, and representatives of the | Seattle Police Officers ' Guild and Seattle Police Management Association, as well as Seattle T | City officials, local community advocates and attorneys, and members of the Seattle community. LIHA 2 at large. DOJ hosted multiple full days of interviews with community members. . 0. . 6. On December 16, 2011, DOJ released its report ("DOJ Report, " Dkt. No. 1 - 1) . . announcing that it had found reasonable cause, under Section 14141, to believe that SPD had. . . . . . . . . . engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force. Specifically, the 67 - page DOJ Report. . . Il asserted that SPD had engaged in unjustified use of impact weapons, unjustified escalation of. . . minor encounters into force events particularly against individuals with mental illness or those. . . . under the influence of alcohol or drugs, unjustified use of force against persons who were. . 14 | | restrained or simply exercising their First Amendment rights, and unjustified use of force by. . . multiple officers. The DOJ Report also asserted that this pattern or practice of using unlawful. . . . . - . - . . - . - . . . . 16 | | force derived from SPD's systematic failure to implement adequate policies, procedures, training, and oversight. - - . . . . . . . . . . . on 7. Although DOJ did not make a finding that SPD engages in a pattern or practice of - - - - - - - - - discriminatory policing, the DOJ Report identified DOJ's serious concerns about certain practices that could have a disparate impact on minority communities and could support - - - allegations of discriminatory policing, including the DOJ finding that over half of the excessive force cases identified by DOJ involved minorities. The United States asserts that many of the JOINT [ PROPOSED ] FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 3 12 - CV - 1282 - JLRRBL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220 Seattle, WA 98101 - 1271 (206) 553 - 7970 2 2 1 | issues related to discriminatory policing are both aggravated by and contribute to the issues regarding the excessive use of force. 8. The City disputed the findings in the DOJ Report. The City did not admit that any complaint reviewed by DOJ was meritorious or improperly addressed by SPD. The parties agreed that nothing in the settlement agreement or the negotiations would be construed as an. . . admission of wrongdoing by the City or evidence of liability under any federal, state or. . . | | municipal law. . . . . 9. Based on its investigation, DOJ believed it was authorized, under Section 14141, . . . . . . . to file a civil action to obtain appropriate equitable and declaratory relief to eliminate the alleged. . . . . . . . pattern or practice of unlawful use of force, and did initiate a lawsuit pursuant to Section 14141 in this Court (Dkt. No. 1) . 10. Shortly after DOJ issued its Report, the Parties began negotiations to resolve the United States ' concerns without the need to resort to contested litigation. 11. In January and February 2012, DOJ met with the City's elected officials, including its Mayor, City Attorney, and City Council. During the course of approximately seven I months, the Parties conducted extensive negotiations over potential revisions to SPD's policies, - - . procedures, and supervisory practices that would prevent a pattern or practice of constitutional - . | | violations as alleged by the United States. - - - - - - - - - A 12. On March 30, 2012, the United States provided the City with its draft proposed TTAA M 20 | | Reform Plan. The City responded with its counter - proposal on May 16, 2012. The Parties 21 subsequently exchanged multiple drafts of proposals and counter - proposals and conducted numerous negotiating sessions. The parties then engaged a professional, licensed mediator who | facilitated approximately 100 hours of intense, contested negotiations, which yielded the JOINT [ PROPOSED ] FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 4 12 - CV - 1282 - JLRRBL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Sțewart Street, Suite 5220 Scattlo, WA 98101 - 1271 (206) 553 - 7970 2 Case 2. 12 - CV - 01282 - JCR Document 5 Filed08717712 Page 5 of 12 cumseting File: 0913432 pagige SP122 Settlement Agreement and Stipulated Order of Resolution ("Agreement and Stipulated Order, " | | Dkt. 2 - 1), filed in this Court on July 27, 2012. 13. During this process, both the United States and the City consulted with subject I matter experts, both internal and external, to ensure that the remedial measures in the Agreement and Stipulated Order are tailored to address the specific concerns identified by DOJ and can be reasonably implemented by SPD. SPD command staff, OPA, and other SPD personnel assisted vom SOT in crafting the Agreement and Stipulated Order and in resolving potential adverse operational - - . - impacts. . . . r ' - ' - L. ' . ' 1. 14. The Parties are sophisticated and were represented by experienced counsel. The | parties are intimately familiar with SPD's policies and practices and invested significant time negotiating the Agreement and Stipulated Order. 15. Additionally, since the beginning of 2012, DOJ conducted extensive outreach to SPD, its officers, supervisors, and command staff, the Seattle Police Officers ' Guild and Seattle. . . . - - RE - " - - ' Police Management Association, and OPA and its former and current civilian Auditors. See. " . | | Declaration of J. Michael Diaz, filed herewith. Both parties reached out to members of the. V " - - public, City and State officials, and many community stakeholders, including community advocacy organizations, and minority and ethnic community organizations. Id. The Parties received multiple detailed written recommendations from community organizations. Id. Through this outreach, the Parties sought to solicit and did incorporate, as appropriate, the input O ll of individuals and organizations into the Agreement and Stipulated Order, Id. 16. The express purpose of the Agreement and Stipulated Order was to resolve the | | litigation filed by the United States and to ensure that police services are delivered to the Seattle community in a manner that fully complies with the Constitution and laws of the United States. JOINT (PROPOSED ] FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 5 12 - CV - 1282 - JLRRBI, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220 Seattle, WA 98101 - 127 ] (206) 553 - 7970 Casę 2: 12 5V - 01282 - 2LR, Document 14 Filed 09 / 2112 Page 6. 0f 12 Case 2. 12 - cv - 01282 - JLR Document 5 Filed 08 / 17 / 12 Page 6 of 12 | Although the City denies the existence of any pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct by SPD and its officers, it entered into the Agreement and Stipulated Order with the goal of ensuring that SPD's policies, procedures, training, and oversight are sufficient to prevent SEN E practices that the United States alleges contributed to a pattern or practice of constitutional S TAR violations. The City also entered into the Agreements because it wishes to ensure that its police 73. . - - - - department is functioning at an exceptional level and that it has positive relationships with all of - - - - - | its communities. - - 17. The Agreement and Stipulated Order's substantive provisions relate directly to the - - - | | policies, procedures, training, and oversight that the United States alleges contribute to a pattern I - ' - . . . . or practice of SPD officers using excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment and. - . 11 | Section 14141. For instance, the Agreement and Stipulated Order requires the City and SPD to 12 | address policies and training related to: use of force, including use of impact weapons, escalation ' T. . - . . - . . of minor encounters, and force used against individuals with mental illness; discriminatory. 1. . . policing; and front line and supervisory review of the use of force. The Agreement and. . . Stipulated Order also includes ongoing mechanisms to solicit input from SPD officers and. . . . . members of the Seattle community. . . 18. Voluntary and mutually agreeable implementation of reforins is more likely to. . . . . . . . . - - 18 | | conserve public resources and result in beneficial change than the uncertainties of litigation or an resources I an. . 19 | | order of this Court imposed at the end of protracted litigation. . PATI E 19. On July 31, 2012, the Court published on a publicly - accessible website notice of the August 24, 2012 hearing to review the Joint Motion for Approval of the Settlement V EYTUNIMEW W Agreement and Stipulated Order of Resolution and Entry of Judgment and posted a copy of the W JOINT PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 6 | 12 - CV - 1282 - JLRRBL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Stewgut Street, Suite 5220 Scattle, WA 98101 - 1271 (206) 553 - 7970 Case 2: 12 - CV - 01282 - JLR. Document 14 Filed 09 / 21 / 12 _ Page 7 of 12 2 Complaint and Exhibit 1 (Investigation of the Seattle Police Department), and the Joint Motion | | for Approval of Settlement Agreement and Exhibit A (Settlement Agreement) . III. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW 20. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28U.S. C. $ $ 1331 and 1345. | | Venue is proper in the Western District of Washington pursuant to 28U.S. C. § 1391 (b) . Defendant is a municipal corporation located in this district, and a substantial part of the alleged m 7 | | events giving rise to this action occurred within this district in Seattle. 21. Public policy favors settlement, particularly in complex litigation such as the pattern or practice claim brought by the United States here. Officers for Justice v. Civil Service Comm ' n, 688 F. 2d 615, 625 (9th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459U.S. 1217 (1983) ("[ I ] t must not be overlooked that voluntary conciliation and settlement are the preferred means of dispute resolution ."); United States v. North Carolina, 180 F. 3d 574, 581 (4th Cir. 1999) ("In considering whether to enter a proposed consent decree, a district court should be guided by the general principle that settlements are encouraged .") . Indeed, this Court very recently has held the same. Arthur, et al. v. Sallie Mae, Inc ., et al ., No. CV10 - 198 - JLR, 2012U.S. Dist. LEXIS - 3313, at * 17 - 18 (W. D. Wash. Jan. 10, 2012) ("As a matter of express public policy, federal - courts strongly favor and encourage settlements, particularly in class actions and other complex matters. ') . 22. To assess whether to approve a proposed settlement, courts consider whether the settlement is " fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable. " United States v. Oregon, 913 F. 2d | | 576, 580 (9th Cir. 1990); see also Cemex Inc. v. Los Angeles County, 166 Fed. App ' x 306, 307 | (9th Cir. 2006) ("Review of a consent decree is limited to ensuring that the agreement is not the MO JOINT [ PROPOSED ] FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 7 12 - CV - 1282 - JLRRBL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Stewart Stroot, Suite 5220 Seattle, WA 98101 - 1271 (206) 553 - 7970 Case 2: 12 - 4V - 01282 - JLR. Document 14 Filed 09 / 21 / 12 Page 8 of 12 Căsë 2. 12 - cv - 01282 - JLR Document 5 Filed 08717712 Page 8 of 12 1 l product of fraud or overreaching by, or collusion between, the negotiating parties, and that the settlement, taken as a whole, is fair, reasonable and adequate to all concerned. ') . 23. This analysis does not require the achievement of the optimal outcome for all Y * * - - * | parties, " but rather " [ t ] he court need only be satisfied that the decree represents a reasonable - - . - - factual and legal determination. " Oregon, 913 F. 2d at 580 - 81. Indeed, the court's approval " is. - - . - + - | nothing more than an amalgam of delicate balancing, gross approximations and rough justice. " - - - - - - Officers for Justice, 688 F. 2d at 625. In addition to considering the overall scope of the - * - agreement, courts make this " gross approximation " by considering whether the agreement is - - I consistent with the law, whether it was forged by arms - length bargaining, and whether there is an. . evidentiary basis supporting its provisions. North Carolina, 180 F. 3d at 581. . 24. Congress enacted Section 14141 to forbid law enforcement officers from - engaging in a pattern or practice that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. " 42U.S. C. $ 14141 (a) . It - . 14 | contains no limitation on the nature of the constitutional or federal rights that it protects. . - . - M: | | Whenever the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that a pattern or practice of " . . . " - 16 | | constitutional or statutory violations exists, Congress granted DOJ the authority to initiate a civil - - - - .::: . - | lawsuit to eliminate the pattern or practice. 42U.S. C. & 14141 (b) . as medshed by the parties ' further shpulation and order colored this same a 25. The Agreement and Stipulated Order, is tailored to the alleged deficiencies ' . . . - - SH: a. = identified by the United States. Accordingly, and additionally, it is consistent with and furthers = V Y H EMY 20 | | the objectives of Section 1414 I because it embodies the agreement of the City and commitment - - - T T of its police department to ensure that no pattern or practice of unconstitutional police conduct exists. JOINT (PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 8 12 - CV - 1282 - JLRRBL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220 Seattle, WA 98101 - 1271 (206) 553 - 7970 Casale 12 - 12 - 2138282 ER Documentoinna Fiedo8913H22 plage 2422 ULI 1 1 1 V 1 26. The negotiations that culminated in the Agreement and Stipulated Order were M1 L arms - length, not the product of fraud or overreaching by, or collusion between, the Parties. Such negotiations underscore the reasonableness of the Agreement and Stipulated Order. S LEILI I 27. There is an evidentiary basis for the Agreement and Stipulated Order, including IYL 5 | | but not limited to the United States ' investigation, and the input of many members of the V NA community. - - 28. Through, in part, the Parties ' extensive outreach to the City and its various diverse - - - - - - - 8 Cont communities, the Agreement and Stipulated Order is fair and adequately addresses the interests - - - - - - | | of all concerned. - - - | 29. " Because of the consensual nature of (such an agreement ], voluntary compliance. - . - NI - l is rendered more likely. . . . At the same time, the parties. . . minimize costly litigation and. - . . . - - . - . adverse publicity and avoid the collateral effects of adjudicated guilt. " United States v. City of - - - - - - Jackson, Miss ., 519 F. 2d 1147, 1152 n. 9 (5th Cir. 1975) . Indeed, " the value of voluntary. - . - - - - - - . . . . - . . compliance is doubly important when it is a public employer that acts, both because of the. - example its voluntary assumption of responsibility sets and because the remediation of - - - . governmental discrimination is of unique importance. " Wygant v. Jackson Bd. of Educ ., 476 - . . - - - PZPNU.S. 267, 290 (1986) (O ' Connor, J ., concurring) . 30. " Rule 52 (c) provides the court may enter judgment after a party has been " fully 19 | | heard. ' . . . The court was not required to receive live testimony. " Granite State Ins. Co. v. Smart Modular Techs. . 76 F. 3d 1023. 1031 (9th Cir. 1996) . as medited by the Paches ' further stipulation and order entered this game day, 31. In sum, entry of the Agreement and Stipulated Order, is appropriate because, taken Il as a whole, the Agreement and Stipulated Order is fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable, resulted from arms - length negotiations by sophisticated parties, is consistent with the purpose of JOINT [ PROPOSED ] FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 9 12 - CV - 1282 - JLRRBL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220 Scattle, WA 98101 - 1271 (206) 553 - 7970 age 2: 17. Sy - 01282 - 3 Document 14 Fjled 09 / 21 / 12 Page 10 of 12 Case 2. 12 - cv - 01282 - JLR Document 5 Filed 08717712 Page 10 of 12 Postimet et Files 0913432 page and Gr2122 Section 14141, supported by an evidentiary record; and is the most effective way to address the allegations of unconstitutional policing made by the United States. nimenman TT 32. To the extent that any of the foregoing Findings of Fact are deemed to be D T | | Conclusions of Law (or vice versa), they are incorporated into these Conclusions of Law (or vice W versa) . RITT - NIRITUO So stipulated and respectfully and jointly submitted on August 17, 2012. TT MT - " ' " For the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: ' " " " ' - ERIC H. HOLDER, JR. Attorney General of the United States of America ILNP " . . . A JENNY A. DURKAN United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington THOMAS E. PEREZ Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division P T - . FI " " - - - - 774 - - . . - - - " " - L - - - - . . APA / s / J, Michael Diaz / s / Timothy D. Mygatt Kerry J. Keefe, Civil Chief Jonathan M. Smith, Chief J. Michael Diaz, Assistant United States Attorney Timothy D, Mygatt, Special Counsel Rebecca S. Cohen, Assistant United States Attorney Michelle L. Leung, Trial Attorney United States Attorney's Office Michael J. Songer, Trial Attorney Western District of Washington United States Department of Justice 700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220 Civil Rights Division - Special Lit. Section Seattle, Washington 98101 - 1271 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Phone: (206) 553 - 7970 Washington, DC 20530 Fax: (206) 553 - 4073 Phone: (202) 514 - 6255 E - mail: Michael. Diaz @ usdoj. gov E - mail: Michelle. Leung @ usdoj. gov " ' ' . ' " " . . ' - . . . For the CITY OF SEATTLE: - - - PETER S. HOLMES Seattle City Attorney. - . - - - - - - As / Peter S. Holmes PETER S. HOLMES, Seattle City Attorney JEAN BOLER, Civil Chief SARAH K. MOREHEAD Seattle City Attorney's Office PO Box 94769 JOINT [ PROPOSED ] FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 10 12 - CV - 1282 - JLRRBI. UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220 Scattlo, WA 98101 - 1271 (206) 553 - 7970 Casasė 12: 1377012833247 Document 14 Ejled 09 / 21 / 12 Page 11 of 12 Document 5 Filed 08717712 Page 11 of 12 - R O Seattle, WA 98124 - 4769 Phone: (206) 684 - 8200 Fax: (206) 684 - 8284 E - mail: jean. boler @ seattle. gov peter. holmes @ seattle. gov sarah. morehead @ seattle. gov WL HTML E TTILLFLU - O .: 23 ITICS SC: -: - 13 - .: . NET F E RMI - - IS " = " . . RI P. P. - - - - - JOINT [ PROPOSED ] FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 11 12 - CV - 1282 - JLRRBL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Stewart Street, Suito 5220 Scattle, WA 98101 - 1271 (206) 553 - 7970 Casas 12: 12 / 201322324 gcument 14 Filed 09121 / 12 Page 12 of 12 Document 5 Filed 087177. 12 Page 12 of 12 PROPOSED ORDER APPROVING THE JOINT FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW per AND NOW, this 21 * day of Sept. 2012, upon consideration of the foregoing, the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law are APPROVED and ENTERED in this Preliminary approval Stipulated Order est Resolution matter in the above - agreed form, Approval of the Settlement Agreement and Entry - of - Judgment A modified ANG shall be set out in a separate document. - - - - - - - - - - elet - - - - - - M. I. . . - Hon. James L. Robart United States District Court Judge - J - - . . . 2. - r r - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - i m Y. - T H - - 24 ' . - . - . - - . - . . - . - - - . . . - " - ' I. - . - E. - - . - TI. . . . . .: - C. F LI G H T. " JOINT [ PROPOSEDJ FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW - 12 12 - CV - 1282 - JLRRBL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY 700 Stewart Street, Suite 5220 Seattle, WA 98101 - 1271 (206) 553 - 7970