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Seattle politician who defunded the police called 911 to report a crime she is effectively legalizing

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Seattle City Councilwoman Lisa Herbold, who is an activist to defund the police, ironically called 911 on Friday to report a crime she is effectively trying to legalize. A man reportedly threw a rock through her living room window. The councilwoman said “she was on the west side of the living room near the kitchen when she heard a loud noise that sounded like a gunshot and dove into the kitchen for cover,” according to a redacted police report. Under her proposed new legislation, the suspect would probably not be prosecuted.

A neighbor told police that a person who is “unathletic and a bad runner” was seen fleeing the area. According to police, this witness says he would recognize the suspect if he saw him again.

Herbold told police that “her staff has received anonymous phone threats recently, but nothing in particular that links the threats to today’s incident.”

The Seattle City Council is considering a new criminal code regulation that would make the city the first municipality in the U.S. to excuse misdemeanor crimes if they can be linked to poverty, addiction, or mental health disorders.

Under proposed legislation by Herbold, the perp could avoid criminal charges if he is caught. Charges against most misdemeanor suspects could be dismissed if they can show symptoms of mental illness or addiction or if they can prove the crime provided for a need to survive, providing a so-called “poverty defense.”

The future legislation is modeled after a draft bill by radical public defenders. The model bill tells prosecutors to consider dismissing charges against a suspect “experiencing symptoms of a behavioral health disorder” while they committed the crime.

If you’re poor or homeless, you could effectively get away with stealing from just about anyone or any business in Seattle. All you need to do is say you’re poor and needed to steal that bike or car stereo so you can sell it for money to buy food.

Herbold said she wants a jury to hear a defendant’s reason for committing their crime.

“It’s giving people an opportunity to tell their stories and giving judges and juries the opportunity to hear those stories and make a decision based on the values of our city,” Herbold told the City Council’s Public Safety Committee Committee on Tuesday.

The crimes covered under this proposed legislation include more than just shoplifting, vehicle casing, and buying drugs. With over 100 misdemeanor offenses in Seattle’s criminal code, you can also get a pass for driving under the influence, harassment, trespass, sexual exploitation, unlawful use of weapons, and much more.

However, Herbold is claiming that local news reports of her trying to legalize crimes are incorrect.

“There are no crimes that I am ‘effectively pushing to make legal,’” she stated. But her legislation appears to do just that.

Some support the proposal.

“In a situation where you took that sandwich because you were hungry and you were trying to meet your basic need of satisfying your hunger; we as the community will know that we should not punish that. That conduct is excused,” Anita Khandelwal, the King County’s director of the Department of Public Defense, said.

But many say that this move will only embolden criminals in effect giving them a free pass to commit even more crime.

“It’s a green light for crime,” said Scott Lindsay, a former mayoral Public Safety Advisor. “If you are engaged in 100 different misdemeanors that are in our criminal justice system code, you are not going to be held liable. You are not going to be held accountable.”

Crime in Seattle has steadily increased since this summer’s Capitol Hill Occupied Zone protests, which saw a 525% spike, according to Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan.

The spike comes as the Seattle Police Department is seeing an exodus of officers and a severe decrease in funding.

Former Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess has publicly opposed the effort, calling it a “powerful signal” that the Seattle government doesn’t “really care about this type of criminal behavior in our city.”

He argues that the new defense would be made at the expense of local store owners and others impacted by misdemeanor crimes.

“It leans on the scales heavily in favor of certain individuals based on status, and it says to others, “you don’t matter,” adding the legislation would come as a defense attorney’s “dream.”

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