Seattle residents back the blue
More than 100 people spoke against defunding the police during Wednesday night’s Seattle city council meeting.
The council is currently considering a proposal that would cut the Seattle police department’s $400 million budget by 50 percent. Although the Defund the Police movement is popular in major cities across the U.S., opponents are now starting to step forward and speak their minds as well.
“Defunding the police is a radical experiment that will hurt the vulnerable,” one resident told the council.
“Seattle City Council, you are irresponsibly not fully representing your constituents by making the reckless decision of defunding our police department by 50 percent,” another citizen added.
The Seattle Police Officers Guild told the city council that it has collected more than 20,000 signatures on a petition against defunding police.
The guild’s president, Mike Solan, addressed the council on Wednesday and pointed out the mass layoffs that would come from a budget cut.
“85% of the police budget is salary-based. Removing 50% of the police budget, you would force the city to fire up to 800 officers and crime will skyrocket,” said Solan.
Seattle has taken center stage during the national unrest following the death of George Floyd. It is the home of the infamous CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized Protest) zone, where protesters took over more than six blocks of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, looking to establish a “police-free” area.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan finds herself at odds with the city council on the issue. She said that they are committing to defunding the police with absolutely no analysis and with no plan to handle crime in the city. Durkan announced that she intends to veto the council’s budget if it includes the cut.
The city’s police chief Carmen Best agreed with Durkan saying that the city would be entering uncharted waters with a half-funded police department.
“I do not believe we should be asking the people of Seattle to test out a theory, that crime goes away if police goes away. That is completely reckless,” Best said.
Despite the mayor’s veto threat and the pushback from the public, the council currently has a veto-proof majority in support of defunding the police. They are scheduled to pass their new budget in August.
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