L.A. lawyer helping with Seattle police relations

SEATTLE — A civil-rights attorney who has spent years working on police reform in Los Angeles was in Seattle this week to consider advising Mayor Mike McGinn on repairing the police department’s relations with minority communities.

The Seattle Times reported that Connie Rice met with the mayor and Seattle Police Department brass to get a handle on the work needed to be done.

In Los Angeles, Rice engaged in face-to-face negotiations with some of the city’s toughest street gangs in the 1990s, a time when the city was a virtual war zone. She won lawsuits against the city over police abuse, transportation, housing and schooling, and in 2003 she was chosen to complete the investigation into the LAPD’s famously corrupt Rampart Division.

McGinn selected Rice last month to advise him as the city moves forward with the recent settlement agreement with the Department of Justice over findings that Seattle officers routinely use excessive force. Rice says she wants to see how she can help before committing to the job.

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