Tag Archives: Defunding Police

Celebrations on Capitol Hill and Continued BLM Protests After Election Results

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Dancing, forceful chants, and a plethora of honking cars marked the morning of Saturday, Nov. 7 as Seattleites on Capitol Hill celebrated the start of a new American era following the announcement of a Biden victory and the election of the first Woman of Color as vice president. The monumental day was also an occasion for continued protests for BLM marchers across town. The day’s combination of revelry and activism took a dark turn in the evening, however, with a fatal shooting in the early hours on Sunday.

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Seattle Protests Stand at 150 Days and Counting

by Elizabeth Turnbull 


On Monday night, the cold streets surrounding Westlake Park transformed into an echo chamber of drum beats, footsteps, and chants of “No good cops in a racist system! No bad protesters in a revolution!” as roughly 500 protesters marched to where the protests began in Seattle roughly 150 days before. 

After an anticipatory drumroll, several protesters stood up on the park’s stage and unfurled a banner that read, “You Can’t Stop This Revolution” on one side and “Montgomery Bus Boycott: 381 Days, Seattle BLM Protests: 150 Days” on the other.

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Council Staff: Mayor’s Proposals Could Promote “Racism Cloaked in the Language of Anti-Racism and Equity”

by Erica C. Barnett 

(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


Foreshadowing what will likely be a heated debate over Mayor Jenny Durkan’s plan to wall off $100 million in the city budget for future “investments in BIPOC communities” that will be decided by an Equitable Investment Task Force appointed by the mayor, Seattle City Council central staff released an unusually blunt memo last week cataloguing potential issues with the mayor’s plan.

The memo raises two high-level issues with Durkan’s proposal. First, according to the staffers, it duplicates work that the City has already done, perpetuating the City’s practice of asking members of marginalized communities to provide recommendations again and again without ever taking action on those recommendations.

Continue reading Council Staff: Mayor’s Proposals Could Promote “Racism Cloaked in the Language of Anti-Racism and Equity”

A Precarious Compromise on Homeless Outreach Inches Forward

by Erica C. Barnett

(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


On Monday, Seattle City Council homelessness committee chair Andrew Lewis introduced a proposal that would restore funding for outreach to homeless encampments and lay the groundwork for what Lewis described as a new City “unsheltered outreach and response team” that would replace the controversial Navigation Team.

The surprising part is that the council and mayor’s office worked together on the legislation. 

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King County Equity Now Announces Community-Based Research Team

by Elizabeth Turnbull


On Monday, the King County Equity Now (KCEN) Coalition unveiled the Black Brilliance Project, a Black-led, community-based research team set to investigate health, public safety and racial equity solutions, with the goal of providing direction and authority on how City funds should be applied toward meeting these needs in 2021. 

The Black Brilliance Project’s first 50 members were on-boarded last week, and the project will ultimately consist of over 100 paid research positions, occupied by various members of the city’s Black community, some of whom spoke at a press conference on Monday. 

Overall, the project will survey the needs of the Black community and provide a potential avenue for community members to be involved in budgeting decisions as an alternative to City-formed task forces that usually decide how money for the Black community is allocated. 

“When we say community voice we don’t mean some task force that is cherry-picked by white wealthy people who already have access to political power,” said KCEN research director Shaun Glaze during a press conference Monday. “Instead of having pre-set priorities, instead of having hand-selected task forces, we are pushing for a community voice and community power to be at the center.”

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OPINION: Mayor Durkan’s Austerity Budget Fails Working People and Black and Brown Communities, Fails to Defund Police

by Kshama Sawant


“It should surprise no one that the Mayor who has overseen police indiscriminately tear gas protest movements is now trying to gaslight an entire city into thinking she believes that Black Lives Matter.”

Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan, who has given us torrents of tear gas, blast balls, and pepper spray, who has staunchly defended Amazon and billionaires from even minimal taxation, and who has presided over brutal austerity budgets, is now offering a 2021 budget that will only double down on hard times for Seattle’s working people and marginalized communities.

Behind her gauzy rhetoric about “reimagining policing” and the “largest-ever investment in racial equity and justice,” Mayor Durkan is proposing a business-as-usual budget that fundamentally fails working people, especially in Black and Brown communities. 

Continue reading OPINION: Mayor Durkan’s Austerity Budget Fails Working People and Black and Brown Communities, Fails to Defund Police

Cuts to SPD’s Domestic Violence Unit Could Undermine DV Investigations, Experts Say

by Paul Kiefer

(This article was originally published on The C Is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.) 


As part of the staffing transfers that Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz announced last Tuesday, the Seattle Police Department is in the process of moving 88 officers to patrol duties, with more transfers to follow. Those reductions include 29 Community Policing Team members, five members of the department’s Intelligence Unit (used to identify crime hot spots and to determine where patrol officers will be deployed), and five members of the department’s Domestic Violence Unit — nearly a quarter of that unit’s staff.

Continue reading Cuts to SPD’s Domestic Violence Unit Could Undermine DV Investigations, Experts Say

Coalition Working to Defund University of Washington Police Says Regents and President Have Fallen Short

by Elizabeth Turnbull


As protesters across the city have pushed to defund the Seattle Police Department this summer, student activists and faculty at the University of Washington (UW) have been fighting an uphill battle to disarm and divest from the UW Police Department (UWPD).

Thus far, Ana Mari Cauce, the president of the university has pledged to make UWPD 20%smaller than it was last year, create a task force to decide what to do about the campus’ association with the former slave owner and United States president, George Washington, and to work on developing a team of non-police responders. 

For the Coalition to Decriminalize UW, a group which encompasses 150 campus-based organizations including the campus Black Student Union, the African Students Association, and the UW Black Lives Matter chapter, as well as faculty, staff, and students of the UW, these efforts have fallen far short of their demands that the university reimagine campus safety. 

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Labor Day Caravan and Protest Pushes for City Council to Override Mayor’s Veto

by Elizabeth Turnbull


At least 50 cars and 200 people formed a city-wide protest and caravan on Labor Day to press City Council members to override Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of council-approved reductions to the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) 2020 budget. 

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What Is Participatory Budgeting, and How Could It Shape the City’s Approach to Public Safety?

by Paul Faruq Kiefer

(This article was originally published on The C Is for Crank and is reprinted under an agreement.)


When Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced her decision to veto the City Council’s midyear budget rebalancing package on Friday, she specifically called out an ordinance appropriating $3 million for the council to contract with community-based groups to create a “roadmap for future equitable participatory budget processes related to public safety” by gathering public input to shape the City’s public safety budget priorities.

Council member Tammy Morales, the sponsor of that ordinance, has said that the research would be the first step toward “participatory budgeting,” a process some cities use to guide public spending, often by allowing residents to vote on how to spend a designated pot of money (a federal grant, for instance).

Continue reading What Is Participatory Budgeting, and How Could It Shape the City’s Approach to Public Safety?