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Court Appoints Independent Monitor For Seattle Police

Seattle police patrol cars.
Flickr Photo/Brittney Bollay

A federal judge has appointed Merrick Bobb as the independent monitor to oversee reforms to the Seattle Police Department. Bobb’s appointment follows disagreement between the Seattle city council, the police department,  and the mayor over whether he was the best choice.

Bobb was one of four finalists. As monitor he will assess the City’s compliance with a settlement agreement between the police and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Last winter afederal auditof the Seattle police department found officers engaged in excessive force, often against minorities and the mentally ill.

Bobb is a nationally recognized expert on police accountability. He is currently involved in overseeing reforms at the Los Angeles police department. He is also an associate of one of the authors of the federal audit of the Seattle police department.

Seattle mayor Mike McGinn, Seattle police chief John Diaz, and Seattle police guild president Rich O'Neill all questioned Bobb’s ability to be impartial. The city council overrode those concerns in an 8-1 vote. Last week, McGinn said in a statement that he disagreed with the council decision, but would respect it.

Bobb’s appointment was finalized by U.S. District Judge James Robart, who is overseeing the police department reforms.