Earlier this week, the DOJ Civil Rights Division announced that it was launching a formal investigation into use of force policies in the Seattle Police Department. The DOJ did not identify specific incidents that prompted their investigation, but said their investigation would be focused on excessive use of force and racial profiling.

This investigation follows a series of violent incidents last year that resulted in injury or death to minority suspects. In April of 2010, a Seattle Police officer was videotaped stomping on and cursing at a Latino man detained during a robbery investigation. A jaywalking stop led to a Seattle Police officer punching a teenage African-American girl in the face in June, 2010. In August, a Native American carrying a closed carving knife was fatally shot by Seattle Police, and the city declined to press charges against the officer despite a police internal investigation determining the shooting was unjustified.