Justice Dept.: Seattle police used excessive force

By DONNA BLANKINSHIP | December 16, 2011 | 12:50 PM EST

SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says Seattle police have engage in excessive force that violates federal law and the Constitution.

An investigation was launched last spring following the fatal shooting of a homeless, Native American woodcarver and other incidents of force used against minority suspects. The investigation was aimed at determining whether Seattle police have a "pattern or practice" of violating civil rights or discriminatory policing, and if so, what they should do to improve.

The assistant attorney general for the DOJ's civil rights division, Thomas E. Perez, joined Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan for the announcement Friday morning.