Granderson: City council members’ recording isn’t just offensive. It’s also illuminating on important issues surrounding police reform
If anyone has ever wanted to make a point, it’s been the City of Seattle police chief. There’s a reason why Chief Kathleen O’Toole is the most honored public official in the state, and that reason is because she has been so transparent.
In a campaign video released on May 13, two months prior to the chief’s last day on the job, O’Toole took a moment to address “public perceptions” about the Seattle Police Department, acknowledging that there is “a lot of misinformation” and that police officers “need to be better understood.”
While that video has been widely discussed, the City Council Public Safety Committee has sat on the issue and failed to hear O’Toole speak.
“A video that is very emotional and very raw, but it’s also reflective of her desire to make sure [police reform] really begins from that point of view and really starts from a willingness and a commitment from our leadership,” said Councilwoman Lisa Herbold, the committee chair, following the recording.
However, in a recording that was made public on Wednesday, O’Toole addresses the City Council during its second meeting of the new year, addressing the city’s most controversial issues: reform and accountability for officers, police brutality, and the culture of officer-involved shootings.
“There is a lot of misinformation with respect to the Seattle Police Department,” she told the Council. “I’m talking about a lot of misinformation that comes out of this committee and this council. It’s all about perception. And perception is hard to fix.”
In the recording, O’Toole acknowledges there are “a lot of different versions and a lot of different narratives,” but that the chief wants to change it so that “it reflects the truth of what’s really happening, what our officers face every day.” She also addressed the