Seattle police response to protests last summer made things worse: report

SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department needs to find a better way to interact with anti-police demonstrators, including allowing officers to express solidarity with protesters marching against police brutality and racism, according to the first in a series of detailed critiques of the department’s response to Black Lives Matter protests in downtown Seattle. At the same time, the city’s Office of Inspector General for Public Safety, in the first of its “Sentinel Event Review” reports on local demonstrations that arose after the May 25, 2020, murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, said t...

Amazon to end COVID-19 testing program in its facilities

Amazon will start phasing out on-site COVID-19 tests at its warehouses by the end of the month, a company spokesperson confirmed Monday. The Information tech news website first reported that Amazon planned to end its coronavirus testing program, which during the brunt of the pandemic last fall aimed to process 50,000 tests from 650 facilities per day. Amazon decided to end its testing program because of “the progress we have made and improvements in public health conditions we are observing across the country,” spokesperson Kim Lafleur said in an email. “The health and safety of our employees ...

Uninvited to serve on Christian group's board after coming out, Seattle man starts nonprofit for queer youth of faith

SEATTLE — It was Alex Churchman's mother who found Beloved Arise first. She was searching for a way to help her 13-year-old, who had been questioning his gender identity and hospitalized after an attempt to harm himself. Ashley Churchman, who lives in Arkansas with Alex, saw an Instagram post by the Seattle-based organization, started last year to support queer youth of faith. She reached out to thank Beloved Arise for its work and ask for prayers. "They just wrapped us up in their arms," Ashley said. A Beloved Arise volunteer posted about Alex and asked people to send him encouraging messages...

'Jaw-dropping' forecast is warning sign of climate change's future impact in Washington, scientists say

SEATTLE — It's a forecast so hot that it left some seasoned meteorologists initially in disbelief. Weekend temperatures are expected to approach 100 degrees in Seattle, top 109 in Portland and reach 115 in Eastern Washington — threatening to topple historical records and upend people's lives. "Is this just the models being wonky, or is this a real deal?" said Joe Boomgard-Zagrodnik, a postdoctoral researcher in agricultural meteorology at Washington State University, describing his reaction to initial temperature readouts. When he assessed the data himself, "it was jaw-dropping." Climate scien...

A Seattle man became self-radicalized and planned to fight and die for ISIS, federal attorneys say

Before he could board a flight to Egypt, where he planned to attend an ISIS training camp in the Sinai desert, a 20-year-old Seattle man was arrested by federal agents at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday and charged with providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, according to court records. Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams, who goes by Hunter, made his first court appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Tuesday, the same day the 36-page complaint against him was unsealed. Williams' appearance via video before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kate Vaughn la...

In Portland, shootings and homicides soar, and activists take to the streets to protest the violence

PORTLAND, Oregon — Walking through the streets of northeast Portland, the marchers cried, “No justice, no peace.” They numbered a few hundred compared with the thousands who took a knee on a Portland bridge last June to mark the death of George Floyd under the choking restraints of a Minneapolis policeman. This May 22 event was called a “March Against Murder,” and some wore T-shirts that declared “Black Lives Matter.” But they were not focused on police killings. They were protesting the lives lost in a huge escalation of gun violence in Oregon’s largest city. “Everybody wants to burn the city...

How Seattle's storied rock scene is shattering the genre's white male image

SEATTLE — Rock ‘n’ Roll has a complicated history. Like nearly every form of American music, it was created by Black artists. Yet, Black artists have often been made to feel unwelcome in the genre or had their contributions erased. White men in particular have been overrepresented (to put it mildly) in almost every corner of what was the world’s most popular genre for generations. For years, it was — and in many circles, still is — all too common to attend a rock show and see three bands, each made up of white dudes with guitars. Seattle, historically, is no exception. But even a casual glance...

Amazon data showed big jump in diversity among senior leaders — after definition of 'executive' was loosened

In 2016, Amazon didn't employ a single Black, Native American or multiracial executive and just one Hispanic or Latino executive among its 105 senior leaders in the United States, 78 of whom were white men. One year later, it was a different picture. In federal government reporting, Amazon said it employed 22 Black executives, 51 Hispanic and Latino executives, 22 multiracial executives and 380 female executives, out of a total of 1,767 executives. Amid a hiring spree that boosted Amazon's total employee head count by 71%, the company in 2017 loosened its definition of executive to include eve...

Proud Boy charged with assault following Jan. 6 Capitol breach is released on $25,000 bond

SEATTLE — A former Arlington man identified as a prominent member of the Proud Boys extremist group has been charged in Washington, D.C., federal court with breaking into the U.S. Capitol during the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection, obstructing Congress and assaulting a federal officer. Daniel Lyons Scott, 27, was arrested on Thursday in Florida, where he made an appearance before a magistrate judge in Tampa. He was released on a $25,000 bond and ordered to appear in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to answer six felony charges, including assault, obstruction of Congress, obstruc...

Voting rights battle in Washington state raises allegations of diluting Latino votes

SEATTLE — Ana Ruiz Peralta, a 44-year-old Pasco resident and Mexican immigrant, ran last year for the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, talking about improving roads and mental health services, and being a careful steward of public money. But those were not the only things motivating the Democrat's campaign in a part of the state stretching north from the Columbia River through rapidly growing Pasco and across expanses of arid and irrigated farmland. It is an area long dominated politically by white conservatives and agricultural interests. "We're now the majority," Ruiz Peralta said of ...

Racist restrictions in old home deeds across Washington state will get expanded scrutiny

Marlene Smick remembers sitting in the back seat of her parents' car in 1958 as the family spotted an open house sign in Seward Park. Smick's father, a second-generation Japanese-American who had been incarcerated during World War II, rolled down the window to ask about the property. "The guy, a builder, said, 'You're welcome to come look, but I'm sorry I can't sell to you,'" Smick said. "It was whites only." For many families across the region and the state, memories of housing discrimination and segregation are still clear. In some cases, that racism is still part of the public record. Racia...

A proposed $1.7 billion wind and solar project generates hopes and fears in Washington state

KENNEWICK, Benton County — Back in March, Chris Wiley passed a long day in his tractor sowing wheat. He had the controls set to automatic steering and scanned social media. He did not like what he found. In post after post, people raged about a renewable energy project that would put wind turbines and solar development in the Horse Heaven Hills where he farms. Critics from Pasco, Kennewick and Richland attacked the plan as an outrage that would blemish cherished vistas to the profit of an out-of-state developer looking to export power to Western Washington, Oregon or California. The project un...

Washington governor directs AG to open criminal investigation into Pierce County sheriff

SEATTLE — Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday directed Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office to open a criminal investigation into Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer's January confrontation with a newspaper carrier. In a letter to John Hillman, who heads the criminal division of the Attorney General's Office, Inslee asked for a probe of whether Troyer made a false report on Jan. 27, when the sheriff called a police dispatcher, repeatedly claiming that 24-year-old Sedrick Altheimer was threatening to kill him. Troyer already faces a separate, noncriminal investigation commissioned by the Pierce County Coun...

Amazon internet program Project Kuiper will launch first satellites with Boeing joint venture

Amazon's secretive $10 billion satellite internet program, Project Kuiper, will send its first satellites into space on nine rockets owned by United Launch Alliance, a joint Boeing-Lockheed Martin venture, Amazon announced Monday. Questions remain as to when the rockets bearing Kuiper satellites will get off the ground. Redmond-headquartered Project Kuiper has yet to launch a test satellite, and Amazon declined to say when the ULA launch could occur. It's also unclear when Kuiper's internet network could be operational. The ULA launches are likely to lift fewer than 500 Kuiper satellites into ...

Amazon and Microsoft team up to defend against facial recognition lawsuits

Cloud-computing and crosstown rivals Amazon and Microsoft have teamed up to defend themselves against twin lawsuits challenging how the companies built their facial recognition software. Illinois residents Steven Vance and Tim Janecyk uploaded images of themselves to the photo-sharing website Flickr in the mid-2000s. Without their knowledge, IBM included their faces in a data set of 1 million images, called Diversity in Faces, intended to help train facial-recognition algorithms to better distinguish between people of color — something facial recognition tools are notoriously bad at doing. A s...

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