A local attorney hopes to find out by testing the department with a new request for police dash-cam videos.
KOMO News first broke the story last week when the city sued James Egan. The attorney now says he is giving the city a chance to prove its good intentions about police transparency. But it's a test he expects the city to fail.
When Egan released dash cam videos last month, he said the footage showed police misconduct and the department treats misbehavior too lightly.
Now he wants another 36 police videos of the same officers to see if a pattern of behavior exists. Egan has filed a public records request, and he says the way the city treats this request will show whether officials are serious about shining a light on police work in Seattle.
"As long as they maintain their cloak of secrecy around what happened in the police department, there's not going to be any real change," he said.
When Egan first asked for the 36 videos, the city responded last week by suing him. At the time, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said the city is caught between two conflicting laws and needs a judge's guidance on when and how videos should be released.
"There's a plain conflict in the laws between the Public Records Act (and) the Privacy Act. The city will pay dearly if it makes the wrong choice," said Holmes.
This time, Egan is asking only for the video, not the audio.
"It's a test to see if they're so concerned about privacy rights of people," he said. "The Privacy Act was actually drafted to protect chiefly oral communications."
KOMO News has filed a suit to gain access to the Seattle police video database, which could uncover problematic trends within the department.