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Seattle police union files complaint over body cameras

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SEATTLE -- The Seattle Police Officer’s Guild has filed a complaint of unfair labor practice over Mayor Ed Murray's executive order on July 17 that required officers to wear body cameras.

Some officers started wearing cameras on Saturday.

The guild called the order "unprecedented and a clear violation of state law."

The mayor's office referred any comment to the city attorney.

City Attorney Pete Holmes said he looks forward to defending the executive order.

"The legal proceedings will likely highlight the overwhelming interest that the people of Seattle have in expeditious implementation of this body-worn video program, a program that protects everyone involved when SPD officers engage in difficult and dangerous encounters leading to the use of force," Holmes said in a statement. "The city places a high value on collective bargaining, has met or exceeded its obligations regarding the executive order, and remains committed tocollective bargaining in the future.”

The guild said it is not opposed to body cameras.

" SPOG is opposed to the mayor disregarding the state bargaining laws and misleading both the public and the federal court by insinuating that this has been negotiated 'round and round.' This is simply not true," the guild said in a news release.

The union noted that it had negotiated a pilot program for body cameras from December 2016 to March 2017. It says the city acknowledged the agreement was for only a pilot program and that making officers wear the cameras permanently would be subject to collective bargaining.

"The mayor is not being truthful by insinuating that the city has been following the bargaining laws on this issue. On July 18, City Attorney Peter Holmes acknowledged that by stating, 'We’ve decided to move forward regardless of what the consequences are under labor law.' The fact that our mayor and city attorney can decide which laws they 'choose'to follow is alarming."

The union said it is willing to return to bargaining to reach an agreement on body cameras.

The complaint was filed with the State of Washington Public Employees Relations Commission


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