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Originally published November 30, 2009 at 9:59 PM | Page modified December 1, 2009 at 11:44 AM

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Furious hunt for suspect in Lakewood police slayings creates unease for black men

As the manhunt continued for Maurice Clemmons, the man believed responsible for the slaying of four Lakewood police officers, African-American community leaders are concerned about the heightened potential for racial profiling.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Coverage from the days following the Lakewood shootings

Tuesday memorial to four officers comes together swiftly

Lakewood Officer Tina Griswold was a 'ball of fire' in a tiny package

A path to murder: The story of Maurice Clemmons

Gallery | Maurice Clemmons: Path to Murder

Officer Gregory Richards was 'the golden boy'

Officer Richards' wife knew he would do his duty, no matter what

Lakewood Police Officer Ronald Owens was always smiling

Prosecutors want Clemmons' sister held in custody

Clemmons' sister taken into custody in courtroom

Clemmons repeatedly slipped through the cracks

Bank accounts may be sign Clemmons planned getaway

Lakewood Police Sgt. Mark Renninger was devoted to family, dedicated to police work

Bail-bond agents gamble on unknown

Clemmons' sister arrested during court hearing

Repeat offenders would be denied bail under measure

Nicole Brodeur | Help is coming for aunt

Clemmons traveled to meet New York minister, citing God's instructions

Clemmons' half-brother charged with helping killer elude police

Clemmons investigated by drug enforcement authorities after he moved here in 2004

More than 20,000 people expected at Tuesday's memorial for officers

Arkansas governor and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire confer on parolees, Clemmons

Coffee shop where officers killed remains closed

Details on Tuesday memorial for four slain officers

Trusted aunt chose to do the 'right thing'

Clemmons' driver denies knowledge of plot to kill

Over 2,000 attend Lakewood vigil for 4 slain officers

Graham neighborhood embraces grieving family

Alleged accomplice used an alias

Coffee shop where officers killed remains closed

Who leaked photo of Clemmons' body? Investigations launched

Clemmons couldn't be held after 'safety net' dissolved

Calendar of memorials and vigils for slain Lakewood officers

Loyal friends, family helped Clemmons flee police

Gregoire: no more Arkansas parolees

Alleged getaway driver in officers' slaying could face murder charges

Uncle: 'He was all about money ... suddenly, he was all about God'

Routine stolen-car check led to Lakewood police-slaying suspect

Danny Westneat | Fixing blame won't fix this mess

Jerry Large | Answers more than skin deep

Public brings flowers, candles, prayers for fallen officers

E-mails show Washington state battled to keep Clemmons in custody

States at odds over warrant that might have kept Clemmons in jail

2 men charged, several others suspected of aiding alleged cop killer

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Outpouring of support for families of slain officers grows

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Persuasive appeal helped Clemmons win clemency

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How you can help

Law-enforcement officials believe Clemmons has been sheltered by family, friends

Attack on Lakewood police likely worst in state history

Slain Lakewood officers leave holes in community fabric

Furious hunt for suspect in Lakewood police slayings creates unease for black men

Grief, gratitude for slain officers

'Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom': Neighbors describe shooting of suspect

Nicole Brodeur: Breathless in Leschi — and it's not the view

RAW VIDEO: Scene where Clemmons shot by police

AUDIO | Suspect killed in Seattle

Interactive map and timeline

See the latest tweets on #WAshooting, #lakeshoot and #WAshoot

Gallery | Maurice Clemmons Killed, Community Mourns Slain Officers

Gallery | Ceda Clemmons' Damaged Home

Monday coverage

Suspect released in Arkansas after claiming he had changed

Gallery | Police search for suspected cop killer

Gallery | Lakewood police officers killed

Video | Community reflects on slain police

Video | Police shooting: Man who helped baristas

Video | SPD Det. Jeff Kappel speaks about 11-hour standoff

Brenton family statement on slain Lakewood officers

Latest on Lakewood shooting: Police searching near Dr. José Rizal Park

Police still searching for suspected cop killer

Sunday coverage

Police union sets up fund for slain officers

Former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee has controversial record of freeing criminals

Lakewood Police Department created just 5 years ago

Police again see themselves as targets

Slain officers respected for careers, family life

Lakewood police slayings appear to be worst of their kind in state history

Shocked, grieving community holds vigil for officers

Coffee house owner: Shootings 'hit close to home'

Maurice Clemmons clemency and parole documents (PDF)

Statement from Mayor Douglas Richardson and City Manager Andrew Neiditz (PDF)

City of Lakewood identifies officers (PDF)

Related links

Law justifying use of deadly force

Facebook page honoring fallen officers | Eyewitness accounts

Video | Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer discusses Lakewood slaying

As a manhunt for the suspect in the slayings of four Lakewood police officers spilled into Seattle's streets late Sunday night, Oscar Eason Jr. talked with a friend about possible consequences for African Americans.

Eason, chairman of Washington's African American Affairs Commission, came to one painful conclusion: For African-American males between ages 20 and 50, he said, "I would caution them to be very careful and only travel when necessary."

While expressing condolences to those affected by the slayings, African-American leaders nonetheless are concerned that the furious manhunt for Maurice Clemmons, 37, the man believed responsible for the crime, could raise the potential for racial profiling.

Few community leaders have heard direct complaints. James Kelly, president of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, said one person had complained to his agency about excessive police monitoring. "I am surprised," he said of that call, but added that he understands the position police are in.

"Our hearts go out to the department, the community and the family, especially the children that have lost their fathers and mother," said James Bible, president of the Seattle / King County chapter of the NAACP.

At the same time, he said, "as a civil-rights organization, we do want to make sure people's constitutional rights aren't being violated."

By Monday morning, Clemmons' photo — the broad shoulders, arching eyebrows and distinctive mole — was everywhere, on the Internet, on TV, on the dashboards of Washington state troopers. "I feel sorry for every husky black male with a mole on his face," trooper Cliff Pratt said.

Such concerns are exactly what community leaders worry about, especially in the wake of the Oct. 31 murder of Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton. Officers are predictably worried for their safety, while tensions are heightened in the community.

And in the days after Brenton's murder, before Tukwila's Christopher Monfort — who has a mixed white-and-black racial background — was charged, the local NAACP chapter did receive racial-profiling complaints. "The whole community did feel targeted," Bible said.

"God knows what goes on in an officer's mind," Eason said. "... With these incidents in Seattle, there is some cause to be cautious for your own protection."

But even as racial-profiling concerns are voiced, he added, "we know these officers are out there protecting our community. That's a message we try to get across."

Seattle Times staff reporter Susan Gilmore contributed to this report.

Marc Ramirez: 206-464-8102 or

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