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Leading the Process for Systemic Policing Change

April 19, 2023

The Quattrone Center has released of the final set of recommendations from a Sentinel Event Review (SER) of incidents during protests following the murder of George Floyd.

The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School has announced the release of the final set of recommendations from a community-centered Sentinel Event Review (SER) of incidents during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd. This report covers the analysis of “Wave 4” of protest activity, which occurred between July 2 and October 7, 2020, and concludes the 2020 protest review series.

The review was conducted by the City of Seattle Office of Inspector General (OIG), a diverse group of community members, and Seattle Police Department (SPD) representatives; it was co-facilitated by the Quattrone Center and PointOneNorth Consulting, an organization specializing in peacemaking and conflict resolution.

The SER panel worked tirelessly to identify the root causes of poor policing outcomes and opportunities for systemic improvement. The panel identified 20 recommendations to improve SPD’s response to protests in the future, falling into five main areas:

  • Community Legitimacy: Addressing the gap between structural and perceived legitimacy and acknowledging the need for SPD to take accountability for its actions and the actions of individual officers when public trust is damaged;

  • Situational Awareness: Acknowledging the need for SPD to change its mindset when responding to protests, particularly where police themselves are the focus, by minimizing the prevalent belief within SPD that protesters work as a unified, oppositional group, rather than a diverse population of individuals with a diverse set of reasons for attending the protest;

  • Communication: Improving the ability of SPD to communicate with protestors, media, and legal observers to safely facilitate crowd events;

  • Tactics: Improving SPD crowd management tactics to limit force and ensure safety for protestors, officers, and others in the area; and

  • Officer Wellness: Supporting officer physical and emotional wellness during periods of extended deployment by reducing shift lengths and offering sufficient opportunities for breaks, food, and water, as well as through the provision of mental health services.

“We are honored to have co-facilitated this important review and commend the panel for their dedication to identifying opportunities for change,” said John F. Hollway C’92, MAPP’18, Executive Director of the Quattrone Center, Associate Dean, and Lecturer in Law. “This report represents the culmination of years-long efforts to build trust between SPD and the community and provides a roadmap for SPD to improve its protest response in the future.”

The panel previously released Wave 1, Wave 2, and Wave 3 reports.

Read the full report.

Learn more about the pathbreaking work of the Quattrone Center.