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Chokeholds: King County Sheriff John Urquhart

King County Courthouse
516 Third Ave
Room W-150
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 296-4155
sheriff@kingcounty.gov

Attention: King County Sheriff John Urquhart

With the disturbing and unsettling recent announcement on August 4 by the Seattle Times article entitled “King County deputies restart neck-restraint training” and a report from KOMO TV 4: King Co. Sheriff’s deputies now allowed to use ‘chokeholds.

This letter is in regards to your department’s announcing continued training in the use of what is basically known as a “chokehold”.

A recent case in Staten Island New York on July 17 where a nypd officer’s use of the chokehold resulted in the death of Eric Garner could in fact, and will in fact happen here. The chokehold, ruled by a county coroner as the direct cause of death with Mr. Garner has been prohibited by New York City Police Department policy since 1993. And in the past there have been countless other deaths resulting from this apprehension technique.

If your department’s choke hold training is in fact implemented, its a matter of time before it results in fatalities. King County, the City of Seattle, nor the State of Washington are prepared to deal with the class-action lawsuits, or any other action directed straight at the king county sheriffs department, including civil unrest and any inflamed notoriety directed at this city or state.

While new ‘use of force’ decisions have to be made, whats even more important is that the ‘right’ decision is made, and not one that will result in future fatalities at the hands of king county deputies.

Ron Williams / Executive Director
Government Policies Enforcement / LEATF
Law Enforcement Accountability Task Force
http://www.gpenforcement.wordpress.com

employment

Connie Rice: Advancement Project – Leadership

Advancement Project

In her legal work, Connie has led multi-racial coalitions of lawyers and clients to win more than $10 billion in damages and policy changes, through traditional class action civil rights cases redressing police misconduct, race and sex discrimination and unfair public policy in transportation, probation and public housing.

She filed a landmark case on behalf of low-income bus riders that resulted in a mandate that more than 2 billion dollars be spent to improve the bus system. Together with Co-Directors Molly Munger and Steve English, Connie launched a coalition lawsuit, Godinez v. Davis, that won approximately $1 billion for new school construction in Los Angeles and other urban areas – money previously slated for less crowded, more affluent suburban school districts.

With these funds the Los Angeles Unified School District began its nationally recognized program to build over 66 new schools since 2001.

After the court in Godinez required California to develop a new system for funding schools construction, Advancement Project was instrumental in assessing the need for adequate schools to serve all children in California and in crafting and shepherding three school construction bond initiatives that raised $25 billion for new and renovated facilities throughout the state, including $5 billion earmarked to relieve overcrowding in urban schools. This funding enabled California to build or renovate over 1 million school spaces since 2000. Connie then chaired the Independent Prop. BB Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee that monitored and evaluated how Los Angeles Unified School District used its allocation of school construction funds.

At the invitation of LAPD Chief William Bratton, Connie investigated the biggest police corruption scandal in Los Angeles history and obtained the commitment of the Chief to reform LAPD’s training and incentives system through an internal commission that she co-chairs. Connie also conducted a landmark 18-month assessment of the City of Los Angeles’ anti-gang programs and drew the blueprint to reduce gang violence through a regional, multi-jurisdictional comprehensive strategy to right the balance between suppression and prevention.

Prior to co-founding Advancement Project, Connie was Co-Director of the Los Angeles office of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, an associate at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster; and a clerk to the Honorable Damon J. Keith, judge of the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit. Connie is a graduate of Harvard College and the New York University School of Law.

In 2006, Los Angeles Times West Magazine named Connie one of the 100 most powerful people in Southern California, and California Law Business twice been named her one of the top 10 most influential lawyers in California. Connie serves on the boards of the Public Policy Institute of California and public radio station KPCC.