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US-USA-SEATTLE-POLICE:Judge approves Seattle police reform agreement with U.S.
OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday tentatively approved a sweeping agreement between the city of Seattle and the U.S. Department of Justice that will overhaul police rules on the use of force and install an independent monitor to oversee the department.
U.S. District Judge James Robart's ruling was provisional. He wants the agreement amended to give him a greater role in picking the monitor and more information on how the department is implementing the reforms.
In a joint statement, Seattle officials and the Justice Department said they would address the judge's concerns quickly.
"Both parties look forward to working together with the monitor and the community to ensure effective and constitutional policing in Seattle," the statement said.
The ruling is the culmination of months of negotiations between the city and the DOJ, which had demanded far-reaching changes and had threatened to file a civil rights lawsuit against the city.
It was spurred by a federal investigation into the Seattle Police Department, which was involved in a series of incidents since 2009 in which officers appeared to engage in excessive force, particularly against minorities.
In one high-profile case, officers in 2010 shot and killed an inebriated American Indian woodcarver in downtown Seattle, although he appeared to pose no threat.
The city and DOJ said in their statement they would work "expeditiously" to address the judge's final concerns and finalize the deal.
(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Peter Cooney)