Feds tell Seattle PD to let officers speak freely

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SEATTLE (AP) -- The U.S. Justice Department has admonished the Seattle Police Department for reportedly retaliating against an officer who criticized command staff while he was being questioned by a Justice Department consultant.

In a letter obtained by The Seattle Times (http://bit.ly/sMxIiY), federal attorneys in June told police officials that officers should not fear reprisals for speaking candidly when interviewed in the investigation. The department launched a civil-rights investigation of Seattle police in March.

The DOJ letter came after a patrol officer went on a ride-along with a DOJ consultant and later wrote a memo criticizing police command staff. A Seattle police official ordered the officer to produce a slide presentation on leadership.

Seattle police responded to the Justice Department's letter by advising officers they could speak freely and confidentially with the federal agency.