Seattle Officially Defunds Police Department, Slashes Jobs

Seattle Officially Defunds Police Department, Slashes Jobs


This is absolutely insane! Seattle City Council has officially decided to defund the police in a 7 to 1 vote.

I thought the U.S. doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, but apparently Seattle does. The vote to defund the police comes against the city’s police chief and mayor’s wishes.

The city also plans to lay off over 100 police officers, which couldn’t be any more ridiculous considering all the chaos that is brewing there.

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Fox News reported this about Seattle City Council deciding to defund its police department:

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to move forward with a controversial proposal that would begin the process of defunding the police department.

The 7-1 vote comes despite objections from the city’s police chief, mayor and the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild.

The plan would ultimately slash funding to the department but not the 50% some had sought. Seattle currently has around 1,400 police officers, and the current plan would see about 100 cut. It was also cut the police department’s $400 million budget by about $3 million, according to KOMO.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant was the sole “no” vote because she felt the proposals didn’t go far enough, while Debora Juarez abstained, according to MyNorthWest.com.

The council reviewed a final set of amendments Monday before the vote, which included reducing the police department by up to 100 officers through layoffs and attrition as well as cutting the $285,000 annual salary of the Police Chief Carmen Best and other top officers. Best is the city’s first Black police chief and the pay cut would put her salary well below her White predecessor.

The council’s plan also removes officers from a team that dismantles homeless camps.

“While we can’t do everything in this summer rebalancing package, we have set the path forward for tremendous work in front of us as a council and as a city,” Councilwoman Teresa Mosqueda said.

The move to defund the city’s Navigation Team, and redirect the money to homeless outreach services such as REACH will “dramatically restrict the city’s ability to address unauthorized encampments,” Jason Johnson, Interim Director of Seattle’s Human Services Department, wrote in a letter to the council last week.

Mayor Jenny Durkan and Best have urged the council to slow down its discussions about police budgets, saying the issue can be taken up in earnest when the 2021 city budget is considered. They also argued any layoffs would disproportionately target newer officers, often hired from minority communities, and would inevitably lead to lawsuits.

Durkan has already targeted about $20 million in savings from the police budget this year, largely because of spending pressure due to reduced revenues because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, the mayor sketched out a plan to reduce the police budget by about $75 million next year by transferring parking enforcement officers, the 911 call center and other areas out of the department.

As U.S. attorney in Seattle, Durkan previously pushed a Justice Department investigation that found officers too quick to use force, leading to a 2012 consent decree with the federal government. Reviews by an independent monitor have determined that the changes under the consent decree have led to a drop in how often police use force. But critics have said the department’s actions during recent protests show not enough progress has been made.

Reducing funding for police departments has been championed by protesters in Seattle and other cities around the country following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In that case, a White police officer knelt on the back of Floyd’s neck for several minutes until he died. Floyd was Black.

My Northwest had this to say about the City Council decision of defunding the police:

Seattle City Councilmembers have officially approved legislation enacting sizable cuts to the police department’s budget.

Councilmembers approved amendments in the plan in the Budget Committee last week. The committee voted to move the bulk of its proposal forward during its 10 a.m. session, before giving its final approval Monday evening by a 7-1 margin. Councilmember Kshama Sawant was the lone “no” vote, while Debora Juarez — who was not present at Monday’s meetings — abstained. Sawant’s vote against the package was based around her belief that it didn’t go far enough in its reductions to SPD’s funding.

“Today I voted against what is euphemistically called the City Council’s ‘Balancing Package’ to the 2020 budget, because the only balancing that is happening is on the backs of working people, especially in Black and Brown communities,” Sawant said in a news release. “This budget fails working people.”

Pushback against the proposal from the other side of the aisle has come from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Police Chief Carmen Best, police unions and pro-police community members, who have all cited concerns over public safety should the department be forced to reduce its number of sworn officers.

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After seeing this video, I don’t think Seattle needs to defund the police anytime soon. At the end of the day, the rioters got what they wanted but the chaos won’t end.

They’ll probably find another topic to protest and burn down the city about.

 


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