On May 28, 126 police officers in Seattle filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing that restrictions placed on the department by a federal court in 2012 regarding officers’ ability to use excessive force was a violation of their constitutional rights as officers.
Although the restrictions were put in place by the feds to curb the rampant unconstitutional policing the city was experiencing — especially when it came to the use of excessive and deadly force against mostly minority suspects — the officers argue that having to restrain themselves while on duty only leads to an increase in the number of citizens and officers killed.
In their 81-page filing, the officers specifically argue that they are often put in situations in which they have no choice but to overreact and use force. They also say that the current “impractical and burdensome” restrictions only “trap” officers and lead to an increase in misconduct violations.
Represented by a Washington, D.C.-based former civil rights attorney, the lawsuit reportedly reflects the “political agenda and rhetoric from the virulently anti-reform police union, the Seattle Police Officers Guild,” and not necessarily the feelings of the Seattle Police Department itself. However, Ron Smith, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, says the union does not support the lawsuit.