Home / US / The Seattle chief of police says “ruthless” and “political” budget cuts of 50 percent would result in larger layoffs for black officers

The Seattle chief of police says “ruthless” and “political” budget cuts of 50 percent would result in larger layoffs for black officers

Seattle’s chief of police, Carmen Best, accused the city council on Friday of ruthlessness and “political thought” by campaigning to cut her department’s budget by 50 percent, arguing that a cut in funds to that extent would Would ask citizens to “test a theory that the crime will go away if the police leave. ”

“These 2020 cutback scenarios by the Council are political gestures, but not realistic or rational solutions. The SPD is strongly committed to the restructuring of the department and has already started the process. However, if we are asked to cut 50 percent of our department overnight, we will be forced to make decisions that do not serve our common long-term goal of redefining community security, ”Best wrote in a letter to the Mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan Friday.

“I will strongly advocate that we focus on realistic, rational and responsible solutions ̵

1; not on political gestures, pandering or political attitudes,” added the boss in a video address to the officials released on YouTube on Friday. “I don’t think we should ask Seattle people to test a theory that crimes go away when the police go away. This is completely ruthless. It is a waiver of the duty that every leader of this city swears by when he takes his oath of office. “


Best said the proposed cut in the police budget would either result in the transfer or termination of 50 percent of the department’s total workforce. The agency would also lose more than 50 percent of its own officers who identify themselves as black, indigenous and colored (BIPOC).

So far, seven of the nine members of the Seattle City Council have voted in favor of reducing the city’s police budget by 50 percent, according to the Seattle Times. Six votes are required to pass city budget laws and abolish a mayoral veto.

Council members Lisa Herbold, Dan Strauss and Andrew Lewis were the last to support Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now on Thursday.

Council members Tammy Morales, Kshama Sawant, Teresa Mosqueda and M. Lorena Gonzalez had already shown their support for a 50 percent cut in the police budget.

In a presentation to the Council’s Budget Committee on Wednesday, the coalitions for the 2021 police budget will be cut by 50 percent over the status quo. This year, the city’s police budget is $ 409 million. They also argued that the police budget for the rest of 2020 should be cut by 50 percent by the end of summer.

The two new coalitions were formed after the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP). Hundreds of people camped and held in six city blocks for almost three weeks in June, until at least four shootings and two deaths drove city officials to break up the “no-cop cooperative” and recapture officers and demonstrators who had left East Precinct after violent clashes earlier this year Monthly.

SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL appears to be ready to compensate the police for 50 percent

Black Lives Matter protesters have advocated defusing police stations across the country after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25.

Democrat Durkan has not supported cutting the city’s police budget by 50 percent, but last month the mayor proposed a $ 20 million cut in the police budget for the rest of 2020, at the cost of the coronavirus pandemic balance.

“The proposed additional $ 50 to $ 80 million budget cuts, along with the identified $ 20 million cut, mean a 100 percent cut in the fourth quarter total budget. The only way to achieve this cut within the last four months of the year is to fire or transfer approximately 1,100 employees – or more than 50 percent of our total workforce. That would give us about 630 sworn-in members in the department, ”said Best in a letter to Durkan on Friday.

“The department has made a conscious effort to hire both sworn and civilian employees who represent the diversity and values ​​in our community,” the letter said.

“Cutbacks mean that we would lose more than 50 percent of our (BIPOC) officers. The life experiences of these officials make us a better department and community, ”Best wrote, including a bar chart that shows“ the loss of diversity among officials when reduced by 50 percent ”.

The table, also tweeted by the SPD on Friday, showed a 43 percent reduction in black officers, a 90 percent reduction in mixed race officers, a 47 percent reduction in Asian officers, and a reduction in Hispanic / Latin American officers 65 percent. There was also a 53 percent reduction in white officers, a 26 percent reduction in Native American / Alaskan people, a 43 percent reduction in Hawaiian / Pacific Islanders, and a 53 percent reduction in officers who chose theirs Race or not specifying ethnic background.


Best said that proposed budget cuts would also force the department to close its southwestern district and realign bicycle units and anti-crime teams to 911 response.

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