(Natural News) On Tuesday, Sept. 22, the Seattle City Council, composed entirely of Democrats and socialists, voted to finalize the city budget, which effectively defunds the Seattle Police Department (SPD).
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, another Democrat, had initially vetoed the budget, but the city council rallied and voted seven to two to override the mayor’s veto. The vote stopped several hours of vigorous online public debate regarding the proposed sharp budget cuts to the SPD.
“When I look back in this moment in time, I want to be able to tell my daughter, who I’m currently holding in my arms, that I did the right thing and that I voted on the right side of history,” said City Council President Lorena Gonzalez, one of the leading figures in the fight to defund Seattle’s police.
“In my mind, the choice is clear. We owe our Black and Indigenous community members about 400 years of investments,” said Councilmember Tammy Morales, who commented on where the funds taken from the SPD will be redirected towards. Morales began her statement by reading aloud the names of the people who were supposedly killed by the SPD over the last decade, without any comments on whether or not their deaths were justified or if they were criminals.
The council’s amended budget for the rest of 2020 strips around $3 million from the SPD. The new spending plan recommends that the money be taken from the department through three key proposals:
- Slashing the salaries of the police department’s command staff, which includes executive directors, assistant chiefs and the chief of police.
- Firing 100 sworn officers from the SPD.
- Disbanding the Seattle Navigation Team, a team of social workers and armed officers that connects homeless people to shelters and provides them with other forms of aid.
Gonzalez said that, while the city council has the power to reduce the SPD’s budget, it is up to Durkan how the budget the department is given will be spent. (Related: “Where are the police?” Anti-police Minneapolis City Council begs department to stop surging crime rate three months after voting to defund and abolish the police department.)
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Durkan “very disappointed” by City Council vote
“Votes have consequences,” said mayoral spokeswoman Kelsey Nyland in a statement. She said that the mayor’s office is now studying the legal implications of some parts of the city council’s approved budget, and wondering if there’s any way it can be challenged in the courts.
“Because of the Council’s actions, the Navigation Team will be eliminated, severely restricting the city’s ability to move people out of homelessness and deal with encampments for the rest of the year. The city will move forward with layoffs for the city staff who are coordinating and helping individuals experiencing homelessness at encampments across the city.”
In an interview Durkan made on Thursday, Sept. 24, she said that she was very disappointed with the city council, and believed that they would be able to come to a compromise regarding the city legislature’s proposed cuts to the SPD.
“I thought that we had reached agreement with council to move forward together on a path that really put some of the vitriol and fights behind us.”
Durkan is planning to contest several points in the city council’s budget that she believes are “patently illegal,” such as the proposal to cut the salaries of the SPD’s command staff.
Durkan previously submitted a compromise budget, which proposed several common-sense police reforms that would have taken a lot of burdens away from the SPD while at the same time preventing any layoffs, such as by moving parking enforcement and the emergency call center away from the jurisdiction of the police.
“One of our shared responsibilities is to find common ground. Even when we disagree, I have always believed we could work together on actual solutions that can be done and make the change we want to see,” said Durkan.
This compromise budget was rejected, and the city council instead hopes to work more closely with the mayor when discussing the budget for 2021. Durkan is expected to submit a proposed budget for next year soon. She said it will include over $100 million in investments to Seattle’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities and organizations.
The city council will take Durkan’s proposals into consideration, but will inevitably be allowed to vote on their own budget as they please, which will no doubt include more cuts to SPD resources, especially since the current reduction to the police budget is far from the 50 percent cut demanded by Antifa agitators and Black Lives Matter activists.
Learn more about the efforts by radical leftist organizations and movements to defund and abolish police departments across the country by reading the articles in PoliceViolence.news.