Meet Seattle PD Capt. Donnie Lowe. Last week, Capt. Lowe was arrested on domestic violence charges. He also has a prior DWI, a prior investigation for using excessive force against his own son in a jail cell, and improperly entering a private home. None of those prior incidents were enough to remove him from the force. In fact, back in 2009, just a couple months after his DWI, and well after the other incidents, then-lieutenant Lowe was assigned to head up a special Seattle PD security detail for President Obama’s inauguration. He has since been promoted.
It gets better.
Lowe was one of 32 sworn and civilian members in the department assigned to carry out the so-called “20/20” plan, created after the Justice Department found in December that Seattle police too often use excessive force.
He was put in charge of a small, second-level group assigned to deal with leadership aspects of the plan, which calls for 20 initiatives in 20 months. It also includes measures to deal with evidence of biased policing cited by the Justice Department. In addition to Lowe’s group, others include operations, community relations and values.
So a guy with a history of reprimands for misconduct was given a leadership spot on a committee designed to address allegations of misconduct and misuse of force at Seattle PD.
Since the domestic violence arrest, he has at least been taken off the committee. So there’s that.
One more thing. You may be wondering why the Seattle Police Department was working a security detail at President Obama’s inauguration. So was I. That has something to do with Seattle’s police chief at the time, the same Seattle police chief who presided over all of this mess, and who has since been shown to have been lax with punishment of a number of officers other than (but including) Lowe. All of which spurred this federal civil rights investigation in the first place.
That chief’s name is Gil Kerlikowske. And he was at the inauguration because he was widely expected to be named Obama’s first drug czar.
And so he was. And that’s where he is today.