Seattle radicals want fewer cops, as crime rises
Seattle’s police have been on an interesting ride as the George Floyd protests have rolled along.
And the good news for cops, and most city residents, is that perhaps the most radical ideas have been arrested — for the time being. Yet the leftists aren’t giving up soon.
To recap, Floyd, a Black man from Minneapolis, died in police custody on Memorial Day. In Seattle in early June, a group of demonstrators took over a six-block area and declared it the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, where police and other outsiders were barred from entry without approval from the resident “warlord.” A week later the City Council banned police from using critical non-lethal techniques, such as tear gas, pepper spray and “chokeholds,” to control crowds and suspects.
Then as the ban took effect on July 26, Chief Carmen Best warned city residents, “Simply put, the legislation gives officers NO ability to safely intercede to preserve property in the midst of a large, violent crowd.” Some interpreted that to mean the police would not respond. Best countered that while officers could respond in some situations, she had improvised an “adjusted deployment” tactic for officers in order to protect their safety.
Although a judge temporarily blocked the ordinance, during a riot last weekend, an explosion damaged a precinct building, and 59 cops were injured in the melee.
Meanwhile, a draft proposal emerged last week that would move many police functions to other agencies and social workers, essentially gutting the department. The council also entertained a suggestion to cut the department’s budget by 50 percent for the rest of the fiscal year, about $85 million.
The police union’s contract prevented mass hacking in the short term. And left-wing activists told local media they were disappointed that fell through and funding would not be rerouted to “BIPOC” [Black, Indigenous, People of Color] initiatives, as indicated. But some council members did propose a plan to cut 100 officers from the department in the coming months.
Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez called it “a down payment on reducing the size and scope of what the Police Department responds to.”
Yet the council surrenders to left-wing activists’ demands as crime rates climb, and as residents resist.
In recent years, the city has been fighting the perception that it is, as one critic noted, a “Third World hellhole” because of crime.
Earlier this year, Seattle media were trumpeting that property crimes were down to the lowest level in years.
But the Police Department’s own website shows that, based on the first half of 2020, murders, rapes and aggravated assaults were on track to exceed or at least maintain pace with the last three years, which were up significantly from the historic trend over the previous decade.
As for residents, a recent poll showed just 32 percent of them support defunding the police.
Scroll down to comment!