by Sarah Stuteville
A month ago, I woke up to a man with a broken jaw and a story about being a secret CIA operative sleeping on my porch. Last week a woman amid a mental-health crisis followed me and my four-year-old to our car screaming. Over the weekend my husband was punched in the head by someone who appeared to be having a psychotic episode. A few nights ago, gunfire echoed through the hot, exhausted streets of my neighborhood.
In all these cases, people desperately needed help, and in none of these cases did I call the police.
Continue reading OPINION: Who You Gonna Call? Not the Cops.
by Carmen Rivera
I am the daughter of the first Puerto Rican police officer in the Seattle Police Department (SPD). He was hired when law enforcement organizations began fully implementing affirmative action hiring during the early 1970s, shortly after SPD did away with their height requirement. His police academy class was the first to train alongside women, all three of them. I was raised around Seattle Police officers and do not believe all cops are bad, and as an adjunct professor for the Criminal Justice Department for Seattle University, I know the institution of policing is problematic.
Continue reading OPINION: To Protect and Serve, Defund Police
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
As calls to defund the Seattle Police Department continue, Mayor Jenny Durkan has proposed moving about $56 million out of the Seattle Police Department’s budget into other parts of the city budget — a ledger swap that could actually cost the city more money than the current system and could, advocates say, actually weaken the accountability system.
When announcing the transfers, Durkan’s office described the changes as “actions to transform the Seattle Police Department and reimagine community safety” by responding to requests from community stakeholders. However, it’s unclear where the impetus for the specific changes the mayor proposed — moving 911 dispatch, the Office of Police Accountability, and the Office of Emergency Management out of SPD — came from.
Continue reading Durkan Proposes Ledger Swap of $56 Million from SPD to Other Parts of City Budget
by Susan Fried (photos) and Jack Russillo (words)
On July 18, the final Saturday before a statewide prohibition on all live entertainment began, an all day gathering of pop-up food and streetwear vendors, music artists, and interactive art took to the streets directly west of 23rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street. Continue reading Photo Essay: “Pay The Fee” Gathering Puts Emphasis on Stories of Artists and Small Businesses
by Tammy Morales
When we talk about “public safety” many people imagine law enforcement officers. Police respond to calls for assistance, the thinking goes. They investigate crimes and protect property. But public safety means so much more. And a law enforcement system that is rooted in white supremacy can’t keep the public safe.
The community conditions that keep us all safe don’t rely on the police. Those conditions rely on a shared ability to thrive. Community safety means greater housing stability, affordable medical care, food security, opportunities for good-paying jobs, high-quality childcare.
When communities of color endure generational poverty, it’s because our patterns of neighborhood investment are also rooted in white supremacy. It’s time to end these patterns.
Continue reading OPINION: We Need to Divest From Police to Improve Public Safety
by Dana Barnett and Silvia Gonzalez
The antiracist roots of Seattle’s Domestic Worker Ordinance, which had its first anniversary on July 1, aren’t immediately obvious nearly a century after most other workers gained basic workplace protections. But there is a deep connection between anti-Black racism, the legacy of slavery, and the long fight for domestic worker protections.
Continue reading OPINION: Domestic Workers Continue to Deserve Better