NEWS GLEAMS | Black Officers Allege Discrimination at UW Police Department; Tech Hubs Designated in WA State


A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

by Vee Hua 華婷婷


✨ Gleaming This Week ✨

JUMP TO:


Trial Underway for Black Officers Alleging Discrimination at UW Police Department

Jury selection began this week for a trial filed in 2021, where five Black police officers alleged dozens of incidents of racial discrimination from the University of Washington Police Department. In a claim that totals over $8 million and filed through the King County Superior Court, the officers cited the use of “racial slurs, racist stereotypes, physical intimidation, and the preferential treatment of white officers,” according to KUOW. Four of the five officers have since left the force.

Shortly after the suit was filed, University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce expressed surprise and a lack of knowledge, stating that the incidents “were not reported through union representatives, and they did not surface during an independent review of the department in 2019. This review, conducted by an outside consultant to assess problematic dynamics within the department, described a ‘culture of fear,’ characterized by a top-down leadership style, which led to changes in management at UWPD. But at no point in the investigation did racism emerge as a concern.”

Notably, the officers have said that the incidents increased following the death of George Floyd in 2020. In the court filings, Officer Damien Taylor shared that he overheard a white officer saying, “His Black ass got what he deserved,” with reference to Floyd.


Two New Tech Hubs Designated in Washington State Through CHIPS and Science Act

Two new tech hubs have been designated in Washington State through the federally mandated Tech Hubs program — a program which was authorized through the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden in August 2022. According to a press release from the office of Gov. Jay Inslee, the Tech Hubs program is “an economic development initiative designed to drive regional innovation and job creation by strengthening a region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy technology that will advance American competitiveness. The program invests directly in burgeoning, high-potential U.S. regions and aims to transform them into globally competitive innovation centers.”

Thirty-one tech hubs have been designated across the country and Puerto Rico, with two in Washington State. The first, American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Tech Hub, will be overseen by Gonzaga University in Spokane and will manufacture aerospace materials in Washington and Idaho, with the goal of building on relationships between the private sector and research institutions to meet materials demands and increase the sustainability of air travel. The second, the Pacific Northwest Mass Timber Tech Hub, will be overseen by Oregon State University and will manufacture and design mass timber in Washington and Oregon, incorporating research and development expertise to “invest in advanced materials science to position mass timber as a viable and sustainable construction alternative.”

The goal of the CHIPS and Science Act is to create more “industrial strategy to revitalize domestic manufacturing, create good-paying American jobs, strengthen American supply chains, and accelerate the industries of the future,” according to the White House. It also explicitly intends to counter manufacturing in China, upon which the United States is strongly reliant on.


Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, SeaTac, Washington, as seen from the air. Photo is attributed to Joe Mabel (under a Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 license).

The Port of Seattle’s Sound Insulation Program Offers Support to Reduce Airport Noise

Some residences on the flight path for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) may be eligible for noise insulation through the Port of Seattle’s Sound Insulation Program (SIP). The program, which began in 1985, has installed sound insulation in over 9,400 single-family homes, with funds from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and SEA Airport revenues.

According to a blog post from the Port of Seattle, most eligible single-family homes already have sound insulation installed. The Port of Seattle is now focusing on “apartments, places of worship, completion of current condominium projects, remaining interested single-family homes, and buildings and residential units in construction or design phases.”

Eligible projects must undertake a multistep process, and to be eligible for SIP, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Be located within the noise remedy boundary, which was established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
  • Be built before 1986 or 1987; exact year is dependent on location.
  • Have an average interior noise level that is 45 dB DNL or greater in habitable rooms, when the windows and doors are closed; dB level will be determined by acoustic testing.

The Port’s Sound Insulation Program also publishes noise exposure maps by identifying noise levels within the FAA-approved noise remedy boundary.

More information about SIP can be found on the Port of Seattle’s website.


Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the editor-in-chief of REDEFINE, a co-chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, and a film educator at the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they previously served as executive director and played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences. After a recent stint as the interim managing editor at South Seattle Emerald, they are moving into production on their feature film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multilingual POC buddy comedy. Learn more about them at linktr.ee/hellomynameisvee.

The South Seattle Emerald website contains information and content supplied by third parties and community members. Information contained herein regarding any specific person, commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the South Seattle Emerald, its directors, editors, or staff members.

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