by Erica C. Barnett
(Updated at 12:58pm on 8/11/20)
(This article originally appeared on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted with permission.)
Advocates for an immediate 50% cut to the Seattle Police Department’s budget may have walked away unsatisfied Monday evening, when the City Council passed a midyear budget package that lopped just 7% off SPD’s remaining 2020 budget. But the Council majority left no question that they consider the short-term cuts a down payment on a more substantive proposal next year — one that, importantly, has a shot of making it through labor negotiations with the powerful police officers’ union.
In a surprising turn, Seattle’s Police Chief Carmen Best will announce her retirement on Tuesday in the wake of the Council’s decision. This was confirmed with multiple sources including the mayor’s office. The C is for Crank was also able to obtain a copy of Chief Best’s letter to SPD announcing her departure on September 2.
Continue reading Seattle Council Takes a Small Bite Out of Police Budget, Chief Best Will Retire
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Tuesday, over 100 people gathered on Capitol Hill for a rally and protest, in which march organizers reiterated their demand to defund the Seattle Police Department (SPD) by 50%. Council member Kshama Sawant, speaking to the marchers, specifically denied that the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild (SPOG) stands in the way of defunding.
Every Day March organizers, who put on the rally, spoke about the current relationship between the Seattle Police force and the Black community and the need to channel funding to the Black community in order to provide better schools and equitable community development.
“You can’t keep oppressing the people who are paying your salaries and not expect them to fight for themselves,” said an Every Day March organizer named T.K. “How do our police officers, that are supposed to be serving us, make more money than us? And we’re paying for it!”
Continue reading Rally Reiterates Need For Defunding SPD, Sawant Says Seattle Police Officer’s Guild Not an Obstacle
by Mark Van Streefkerk
On Monday July 27, Mayor Jenny Durkan hosted the sixth virtual Town Hall since the COVID-19 health crisis, specifically focusing on information and resources for Southeast and Central Seattle, as well as answering questions from the community about policing. Durkan was joined by public health officials, including the Director of Public Health and a spokesperson from the Seattle Police Department to answer questions and receive feedback from residents.
In her opening statements, Durkan brought up three main issues: the state of the COVID-19 crisis in Seattle and new public health resources, relief for the economic toll of the pandemic, and the “civil rights reckoning” that has led many to protest for Black lives and brought the actions of SPD under scrutiny.
Continue reading Mayor Durkan Presents COVID-19 News and Defends Not Defunding Police at Virtual Town Hall
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 Alex Garland
In these unprecedented times, change that once seemed improbable now appears inevitable to many in Seattle’s activist community who have spent years fighting for systemic and structural transformation. As protests and an expanding awareness of racial injustices endure across the nation, several of them find themselves hopeful of finally leaving behind a status quo that dehumanized and marginalized communities of color, LGBTQIA+ folx, and people with disabilities, to name but a few.
Continue reading Rest, Healing, Celebration, Accountability — Repeat: Persistent Resistance
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 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
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article originally appeared on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Monday morning, city council president Lorena González and public safety committee chair Lisa Herbold said they were both briefed last week by police chief Carmen Best on what the chief had previously described as “credible threats” to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct in early June, and that the chief described the threats as generalized threats to government buildings in cities up and down the West Coast rather than a specific threat to bomb, burn down, or otherwise damage the East Precinct. Best cited the alleged threats in June as one of the reasons police needed to keep protesters away from the building using tear gas, pepper spray, and eventually physical barricades in the area that became known as the CHOP.
Continue reading FBI Says There Was Specific Threat Against East Precinct; Durkan Letter Dodges Protesters’ Three Demands