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Monitoring Team

Federal Monitor

Antonio Oftelie

Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie is the U.S. Federal Monitor for the Seattle Consent Decree. In this position Antonio advises the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington on the progress of Seattle to meet the requirements of the federal consent decree. The scope of work includes engaging with city partners on innovation in policing, developing measures and metrics for progress, providing technical assistance on initiatives, and reporting on progress.

Antonio is also Executive Director of Leadership for a Networked World and a Fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard, part of the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Antonio is a past Commissioner on the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, and a current Board Member of Lutheran Services in America.

Antonio holds a BS in Management and Ethics from Crown College, an MPA with a Business and Government Policy concentration from Harvard University, where he focused his studies on leadership, finance, and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and on strategic management, technology, and innovation at the Harvard Business School, and a Doctorate in Law and Policy from Northeastern University, where his studies and research focused on constitutional and administrative law, technology and society, and institutional transformation.

Associate Monitor

Ron Ward

Ron Ward is managing partner at the  Seattle law firm of Law Offices of Ronald R. Ward, PLLC, where he represents accident and wrongful death victims in personal injury lawsuits. He was the first African-American in 114 years to serve as President of the Washington State Bar Association. Ward founded the Washington Leadership Institute, which is a nationally honored developmental program for young lawyers from diverse backgrounds with an interest in leadership in the profession and in the community. Mr. Ward has served on the Monitor Team since November 2012. At the outset of his career in Washington, he was a Washington State assistant attorney general before entering private practice at the Seattle firm of Levinson Friedman.

Associate Monitor

Matthew Barge

Matthew Barge is a police practices and civil rights expert with more than 15 years of experience working with law enforcement agencies, city governments, and communities on public safety challenges. From 2015 through 2019, he served as the federal court-appointed Monitor overseeing a federal consent decree involving the police in Cleveland. He is a lead subject matter expert on the federal monitoring team overseeing a consent decree in Baltimore. He also serves as lead police practices expert to a retired federal judge overseeing an agreement between the City of Chicago and American Civil Liberties Union addressing issues related to “stop and frisk.” He is also a Senior Consultant with the Policing Project at N.Y.U. School of Law.

Mr. Barge supervised the court-appointed monitoring team overseeing a federal consent decree in Seattle as the Team’s Deputy Monitor. He has engaged in significant assessment and implementation projects for departments and communities including Mesa, Arizona; Los Angeles and Pasadena, California; Denver, Colorado; Farmington, New Mexico; Walkill, New York; and Portland, Oregon. He has conducted exhaustive reviews of high-profile use of force incidents for the University of California, Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District and made recommendations for improving policy and procedure in each instance.

A lawyer, Mr. Barge previously worked as a litigator specializing in complex, multi-district litigation at the law firms of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan in New York City. He is frequently sought as an expert on police issues by the media, universities and law schools, and government entities.  He is a graduate of N.Y.U. School of Law and Georgetown University.

Associate Monitor

Vanessa Wheeler

Vanessa Wheeler is an experienced commercial litigator with a demonstrated history of success in intellectual property, real estate, franchise, cannabis, and general commercial litigation. She has successfully tried civil and criminal cases and arbitrations. She has strong professional skills in legal writing, litigation, legal advice, commercial litigation, and dispute resolution, which she implements in service to clients.

Vanessa’s broad commercial litigation experience encompasses disputes over real estate brokerage services, franchise agreements and representations, regulatory claims, trademark and copyright infringement, and contractual interpretation. Vanessa has also worked on day-to-day legal issues with her clients while serving as general counsel. She is known for her innovative case strategies and investment in understanding the ins-and-outs of her clients’ businesses.