Approaches to Handling Demonstrations and Protests
This webinar will feature how two civilian oversight agencies, based in Seattle and Washington, D.C., where demonstrations are common, approach protests and handle the complaints that result from them. The webinar will explore whether and/or how the Seattle Office of Police Accountability and the D.C. Office of Police Complaints reach out to protest leaders in advance of planned demonstrations; whether their staff observe demonstrations; the role, if any, these observers play, and how the agency addresses issues that might arise from staff witnessing incidents leading to complaints. Finally, the webinar will examine the investigative challenges complaints stemming from demonstrations pose for these two investigative agencies and how these agencies handle these challenges. The speakers will also discuss some of the specific challenges their agency faced as a result of the demonstrations that took place this summer, following George Floyd’s death.
Join us for this webinar on October 20, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. ET, featuring Mark Grba, the deputy director of investigations at the Seattle Office of Police Accountability (OPA) Dean Ikei, a Seattle Police Department sergeant and OPA investigator, Chelsea Whittler, an attorney and OPA civilian investigator, Rochelle Howard, deputy executive director of the D.C. Office of Police Complaints (OPC), and Anthony Lawrence, senior investigator with the OPC.
Mark Grba, Deputy Director of Investigations, Seattle Office of Police Accountability
Mark Grba joined Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability (“OPA”) in December 2018, and serves as OPA’s deputy director of investigations, a civilian leadership role established as part of Seattle’s 2017 Police Accountability Ordinance, (a role previously held by a Seattle Police Department captain). Prior to joining OPA, Mark served as deputy chief administrator with Chicago’s Office of Police Accountability, investigation supervisor with Chicago Public Schools’ Office of the Inspector General, forensic audit investigator with the City of Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General, and as a senior investigator with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards. Mark obtained a B.A. from the University of South Florida and a Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations Degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana.
Rochelle Howard, Esq., Deputy Executive Director, Washington, D.C. Office of Police Complaints
Rochelle M. Howard, Esq., has served as deputy executive director for the District of Columbia Office of Police Complaints since February 2016. Ms. Howard’s civilian government service includes serving as the deputy assistant inspector general for the Inspections and Evaluations Division at the District of Columbia Office of the Inspector General; she also worked at the Department of Commerce Office of the Inspector General’s Investigation Division, and the Office of Personnel Management Office of the Inspector General’s Evaluation and Inspection Division. Rochelle began her professional career serving in the United States Army JAG Corps for eight years, in six combat missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa. She held positions such as prosecutor, family law attorney, civil tort attorney, and criminal defense attorney. Rochelle was the first full-time and female NATO anti-corruption advisor to the Afghan Police Inspector General, helped build an anti-corruption system within the Afghan Ministry of Interior, and created an anti-corruption training curricula and programs for Afghan police leadership. Rochelle earned her law degree from the Widener University School of Law, her master’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland University College, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, with a concentration in criminology and a minor in Spanish, from Louisiana State University. Rochelle is also a National Association of Civilian Oversight for Law Enforcement certified practitioner of oversight.
Dean Ikei, Sergeant and Investigator, Seattle Office of Police Accountability
Dean Ikei is a sergeant with the Seattle Police Department (“SPD”) and joined the Office of Police Accountability (“OPA”) in March 2020. Sergeant Ikei fills one of the OPA’s nine sworn investigator positions. Sergeant Ikei has been a law enforcement officer for the last 20 years. During his career, Sergeant Ikei worked as a motorcycle officer, a member of an anti-crime team, and as a field training officer. He began his career with the Honolulu Police Department and joined the SPD in 2006. He was promoted to sergeant in 2016.
Anthony (Doug) Lawrence, Senior Investigator, District of Columbia Office of Police Complaints
For nearly 19 years, Anthony Lawrence, known as Doug, has served as a senior investigator with the District of Columbia’s Office of Police Complaints (“OPC”). In addition to his investigative responsibilities, Doug helps train the agency’s new investigators, serves as the coordinator for the OPC internship program, and helps lead and develop content for the OPC’s student interactive trainings, an outreach program that educates youth on their rights and appropriate behavior when in contact with police. Prior to joining the OPC, Doug was the lead investigator at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and worked for the Public Defender’s Office in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Doug played a key role in establishing OPC’s statutory role in monitoring First Amendment assemblies and monitoring and evaluating the Metropolitan Police Department’s interactions with individuals engaged in such assemblies, enshrined in the D.C. First Amendment Rights and Police Standards Act of 2004. The OPC was the first civilian oversight of law enforcement agency to possess such legal authority. Doug graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s in arts degree in criminal justice; he was also as a three-year letterman on the University of Maryland’s NCAA Division I football team.
Chelsea Whittler, Esq., Investigator, Seattle Office of Police Accountability
Chelsea Whittler joined Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability in July 2020 as its second civilian investigator. Chelsea is an attorney with over six years of experience as a criminal defense investigator. She has worked as an investigator at both the state and federal levels, conducting capital post-conviction investigations, mitigation investigations, and fast-paced fact investigations for cases headed to trial. Chelsea received her B.A. from Howard University and earned her J.D. at the University of Virginia School of Law.