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Week in Review: Boeing, police, and primary ballots

caption: Collage of Seattle Police car against textured background. Photo courtesy of Seattle Police Department.
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Collage of Seattle Police car against textured background. Photo courtesy of Seattle Police Department.

Bill Radke discusses the week’s news with Seattle Times investigative reporter Patrick Malone, and KUOW’s Amy Radil and Dyer Oxley.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday that it will take immediate action to increase its oversight of manufacturing at Boeing. A fuselage panel broke away in midair on an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 last Friday shortly after takeoff from Portland, Oregon. The plane's pressurization warning light came on during three different flights in recent weeks, and Alaska Airlines' response was to stop using the plane for long flights over water, but to keep using it on routes like Portland to California.We don't know whether that warning light was related to the blown door plug. What was your reaction when you heard about the incident?

Three Tacoma police officers were acquitted last month on charges of murdering Manual Ellis, a 33-year-old Black man. We were expecting to hear results this week from an internal investigation by the Tacoma Police Department, but the department has delayed that release until next week. Three years ago, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards called for the firing of all three officers. Ellis, who died in police custody, was punched and tased by officers, handcuffed while repeatedly placed face down on the pavement, and hogtied with a spit hood placed over his head. The Pierce County medical examiner ruled Ellis’ death was a homicide caused by oxygen deprivation, but the defense argued at trial that methamphetamine in his system and a heart irregularity were to blame. Why were they all acquitted?

The trail of those three Tacoma police officers has gotten us talking about police culture, which can be both aggressive and defensive, and a culture of callousness that might lead to abuses. In Seattle’s relatively recent past, that's meant deaths of suspects, videos of combative officers, belligerent crowd control tactics, a union official laughing while discussing an officer-caused death and a police breakroom with a fake tombstone of a Black teenager killed by police. The Seattle Police Department says that’s not a fair picture. So, what is police culture?

Last weekend, I-5 was shut down for almost five hours by a protest against Israeli strikes on Gaza. A group of cars slowed down and stopped on northbound I-5 and blocked all the lanes near Pine Street. Protesters walked onto the freeway through a cut in a fence. Some of the protesters chained their arms together inside plastic piping so it would be dangerous to cut through that. The State Patrol had trouble getting enough officers there, and protesters left before they could be arrested and they left behind their empty cars, which took a long time to clear. How did you want law enforcement to respond, and why?

This week, the Washington state Democratic Party submitted three candidates for the presidential primary in March. They are Joseph R. Biden Jr., Dean Phillips, and Marianne Williamson. The State Republican Party submitted five names: Chris Christie, who has since dropped out, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Donald Trump. A group of Kitsap County voters has sued to remove Trump from that ballot, and there's a proposal in the Washington state Legislature to keep Trump off the ballot. How would that work?

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