Last summer there was a tragic killing of a Native American carver by a Seattle police officer in Seattle. The tension between the police and the community has been running very high. The Seattle Times published a story today about the Restorative Justice Circle convened by Andrea Brenneke and Susan Partnow founding members of our Compassion Response Team that took place just a few weeks after the shooting.
Seattle Times article From the article: "The meeting with John T. Williams relatives occurred after the departments initial dealings with the family proved unproductive as emotions were running high after the shooting, said Andrea Brenneke an attorney for the family who proposed the idea of a "restorative circle," a concept developed in Brazil in the mid-1990s to resolve community conflicts.
Then later in the article it says: Department officials showed a "willingness to restore trust however they could" and recognized "they were going to have to earn it now because it was broken" Brenneke said.
This is tangible on the ground meaningful outcomes and results from us having a Compassionate Action Network in place and the city declaring itself a Compassionate City.
The Seattle Times also published the Restorative Circle memo from the meeting. In the memo it states:
"Expressions of Empathy
The Department, together with Susan Partnow and Andrea Brenneke and others, will evaluate how the department expresses empathy and compassion at times of tragedy and recommend improvements in how the community will hear it." Here is the Restorative Circle memo
The chief of police John Diaz deserves our recognition and appreciation for being open to this and participating. Perhaps our acknowledgment will also encourage him to keep moving in this direction and to follow through on promises outlined in the memo. Susan told him at the meeting that Seattle is a Compassionate City!
The chief's office can be reached at (206) 684-5577
His webpage is here: http://www.seattle.gov/police/leadership/chief.htm
We also need to be there for the Johnson family and their tribe and officer Birk and his family as we all heal from this tragic event. Thank you again to Andrea and Susan, co-founding members of our Compassion Response Network, for putting compassion into action and leading the way!