SEATTLE, WA – People in Seattle, Washington, who should preparing to celebrate the Christmas Holiday with friends and family, instead chose to commemorate the death six month anniversary of the death of George Floyd.
A group of roughly 70 people decided to mark his death with rioting in the city.
Four arrested during Monday night Capitol Hill protest. https://t.co/UYbud5fplh
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) December 1, 2020
The Seattle Police Department reported that they arrested only four people during what was described as a brief riot that saw plenty of violence and property damage on Capitol Hill.
Rioters claimed that they took up the acts of violence to mark the anniversary of Floyd’s death while in police custody in May of this year. They also pointed toward an anniversary of widespread riots that occurred in 1999 during a global meeting at the World Trade Organization.
Seattle Police reported that the violence and property destruction as the group of rioters began walking south down Broadway Street. Members of the group then allegedly broke a glass window out of a Starbucks which was next to the Seattle University as they walked by.
Credit Seattle PD
Rioters also vandalized a bank in the city and then broke out the windows of a local grocery store. The rioters announced that they were doing these acts to fight against alleged police brutality and racial injustice.
You know, because nothing says stand up for a cause like breaking windows, beating people, and starting buildings on fire.
Seattle Police officers moved in and arrested three people for their alleged participation in the riot. Two of those were charged with obstructing an officer while the third was charged with property damage.
Credit Seattle PD
Seattle Police reported that they received more complaints of property damage to homes and businesses as the riot continued. Police moved in and arrested a fourth person who was charged for property damage as the group of rioters returned to Cal Anderson Park.
Pictures provided by the Seattle Police Department show several anti-police messages on buildings, such as “more dead cops,” and “cops dishonor USA.”
Another picture show that someone had spray painted “fire to the prisons,” a nod to a portion of the Antifa and Black Lives Matter movement who wants all prisons abolished.
Credit Seattle PD
Credit Seattle PD
While everyone has the death of Floyd fresh in the minds, there might be some who are not knowledgeable on the riots during the 1999 World Trade Organization. In those riots, leaders and civic boosters in Seattle had worked to host the event in an effort to showcase their city to the world.
Although one would think that a city trying to showcase itself to a reported 5,000 delegates and 3,000 journalists would be a good economic move, apparently several thousand people thought the idea was horrific.
The city received warnings, that were ignored, that roughly 50,000 people planned on protesting the event as they believed that the Organization for destroying environmental standards, worker protections and the rights of developing sovereign nations.
The protesters showed up in force and was able to shut down major intersections in the city and prevent delegates from attending the opening ceremony. They were also able to keep the Secretary of State at the time, Madeleine Ablright, stuck in her hotel and unable to attend the event.
City leaders enacted a curfew, a state of emergency, and a no protest zone that encompassed 50 blocks. Police were also called in to clear the protesters from the area and were able to push them to Capitol Hill. Over the course of the event, police arrested over 500 people.
Cliff Traisman, who worked for Paul Schell, the Mayor of Seattle at the time, spoke of the riots in an interview in 2019 and said:
“[Schell and other city leaders]felt we could host something that volatile and do it ‘the Seattle way’ and that being kinder and gentler would result in a peaceful conference, when there was huge unrest about what the WTO was about.”
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Two stabbings occur in Seattle as city council votes to cut police department budget
November 24, 2020
SEATTLE, WA – How’s this for irony?
The Seattle City Council passed the 2021 budget. Included in their new budget plan was a 20% cut to the Seattle Police Department. Meanwhile, as the council was busy restructuring and planning, two people were stabbed.
Yet they still voted to cut police funding in an 8-1 vote.
As the Seattle City Council met to discuss the budget on Monday, a man stabbed a woman to death in Belltown just before 11 a.m.
According to police, the woman was a caseworker at the apartment building, which is operated by Plymouth Housing and serves formerly homeless people.
Her identity has not yet been released and no motive has yet been determined.
The 58-year-old suspect, formerly homeless, fled on foot before officers arrived. after an hours-long search for the killer, police tracked down their suspect in Seattle just before 4 p.m. and arrested him, police said.
About an hour before the arrest, the council approved a budget cut of 18% to the SPD.
Among the cuts, the council will pursue a dangerous plan to have social workers respond to some 911 crisis calls.
There is a tragic irony here. The stabbing victim was a caseworker, potentially like one the council will send on 911 calls. Unarmed and untrained, they won’t have a chance to defend themselves against dangerous residents in crisis.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only stabbing of the day. A second stabbing occurred around 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon in downtown Seattle.
A 33-year-old man was walking nearby when a 27-year-old man stabbed him in the neck. It was a random attack. The victim first thought he had been randomly punched, but soon realized he was bleeding. The victim was sent to the hospital and will make a full recovery.
Police said responding officers found a pocket knife on the suspect, who also has a Department of Corrections felony warrant for escape from community custody.
It’s not a coincidence that there were two stabbings during council deliberations to defund the police.
The stabbings are a direct consequence of a city spiraling out of control. Seattle has historically low police staffing. Currently, the city has the lowest deployable staff since at least 1990. The fewer the officers, the higher the crime and the longer it will take to respond to violent crimes and track down suspects.
The problem is only getting worse. Not only have 144 officers already left the department in 2020, the number could very well exceed 200 by the new year. Due to the hiring freeze, those officers won’t be replaced.
Right now, there scores of officers eating up accrued sick time ahead of leaving the department for a neighboring agency. Who can blame them, when their own city’s elected officials don’t even have their backs? These officers’ positions won’t be easily filled once they leave.
So how is Seattle City Council dealing with the whole issue?
In the summer of 2020, after the death of a black defendant by a white police officer in Minnesota, activists first called for city officials to cut SPD funding by 50%.
Astonishingly, a majority of Seattle City Council members agreed to that principle. Councilmembers tried to make immediate cuts in salaries and certain police units.
This led to Chief Carmen Best resigning over their methods. As discussion began on next year’s budget, it became clear that council wasn’t seeking a 50% cut right away. Teresa Mosqueda chairs the Budget Committee. Here’s where she says they ultimately came down:
“Regarding our Seattle Police Department, the Seattle City Council, along with the mayor’s combination of both cuts, it’s about 20%.”
That includes both cuts, and transferring some functions outside of SPD. So, it’s only 20 percent, not the originally requested 50 percent. Not bad, right? Wrong!
If you look at other cities, it’s very significant. Councilmember Mosqueda has pointed out Seattle has gone farther in this effort than any other U.S. city, except maybe Austin, Texas. A year ago, a cut like this would have been unthinkable, but people supporting what they called the solidarity budget kept the pressure up right until the end of this week.
But this is no regular year, this is 2020! This year, we’ve seen teach-ins, street protests, everything in between. To say that it’s been a tense climate around this issue is an understatement.
We saw BLM and Antifa factions move in to, not only peacefully protest, as the MSM would like the world to believe. They set out to destroy, loot, and even kill, all under the guise of saving black lives.
Yet Seattle Council Members actually took the line of the “protestors” and went after SPD when officers tried to control criminal activity. The movement to abolish police, or to defund police, is a high-energy, youth-led movement.
Just last week a call was made to cut another $9 million. This time the council rejected their demand. Councilmember Kshama Sawant said that was a disappointment:
“And because of that, there has been justifiable anger and disgust at the establishment over the weekend from thousands of ordinary people who have been committed to Black Lives Matter.”
This weekend saw car caravans of activists going to city councilmembers’ homes, and Monday the council agreed to cut an additional $2 million from SPD’s budget. They say that cut should make it so there will be no net increase in police officers hired next year. They expect to hire the same number as the number of projected to leave, which is 114 officers.
And Today, Councilmember Debora Juarez said she agrees with many goals of the movement, but that she will not go at the pace that some activists have called for. She said she doesn’t approve of this climate of shaming people or calling them out:
“We’re going to slowly and systematically, as much as we can, redirect funds from the Seattle Police Department to upstream programs to meet the needs of what a police department, we believe, should look like within the confines of the consent decree, our bargaining responsibilities, and everything else.”
So, what exactly does 2021 and the new plan for SPD look like, according to this plan?
From this budget, Seattle will be awarding at least $60 million to nonprofits, community-based organizations, over this next year to create new types of crisis response. We will see those efforts grow, and they say that the council members may seek more cuts at SPD as these efforts come online.
Imani Dinish is a researcher with King County Equity Now. He envisions hubs around the city with staff who would help respond to 911 calls in their areas, explaining:
“If in the event 911 is contacted, and emergency personnel are dispatched, our team would simultaneously, or shortly thereafter, be notified of the call’s nature, and deploy in lieu of or with your general, known fire, medical, SPD.”
This is Dinish’s vision of what people mean when they talk about new kinds of 911 responses. He says these workers would also be in touch with people, before and after the emergency situation, to help address underlying needs, like housing or mental health services.
The Seattle City Council seems to be unbothered. They continue to push forward to defund Seattle police while the homicide rate grows as fast as the homelessness crisis.
Perhaps the council thinks social workers can help address the problems the city faces. We’ve seen one case worker lose her life already. Is this just the beginning of even more tragic, senseless, and avoidable loss of lives?
In the meantime, on Tuesday, the King County City Council voted to approve a new criminal justice program that puts the power of sentencing in the hands of community members.
The Community Restorative Pathways program will allow non-violent, first-time offenders charged with felonies to be sentenced through a “community based alternative.”
The program received unanimous approval with council members funneling $12.59 million to the radical program. Coincidentally, the King County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of having millions of dollars in funding stolen from them.
In September, King County Executive Dow Constantine proposed budgetary changes to “confront racism.” One of those brilliant ideas was a $6.5 million divestment in King County law enforcement agencies. In other words – to defund the police.
Another top notch idea from Constantine is to adopt a community panel to sentence felons.
The executive suggested that $6.2 million be invested in “Restoration Community Pathways” to keep offenders out of the court system:
“In lieu of filing charges, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will refer up to 800 young people by 2022-2023 to receive comprehensive, community-based services.”
The program received far more in funding than what Constantine initially suggested. The proposal claims that this process of sentencing would help reduce an incarceration cycle:
“A partnership between community organizations and the Department of Public Defense, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Community and Human Services, Restorative Community Pathways also includes appropriate services and support for harmed parties, and restitution so that youths who cannot pay fines and other financial obligations do not end up in a cycle of probation violations and incarceration.”
The executive continued:
“The Executive’s Office will work with the Department of Community and Human Services, and community organizations to implement King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg’s proposal to divert approximately 1,000 non-violent ‘first felony’ filings from the judicial system each year.”
A panel of community members will now be the judge and jury for accused parties. The panel will be given free reign to decide the fate of defendants, but the vague plan fails to address sixth amendment concerns.
The sixth amendment ensures the right to a speedy trial and a fair and impartial jury. When giving community members such heightened responsibility, the risk for unconstitutional outcomes skyrockets.
The outcomes provided by this program would not include jail time, or a conviction for that matter, according to a King County prosecuting attorney Dan Satterberg.
Satterburg spoke with KOMO News and argued that the community group will define what accountability means for these felons:
“We can send that person instead (of jail) to a community accountability group, who will define what they think accountability means,”
Later, Satterburg declined to comment on the term’s definition or what this new style of accountability might look like.
The attorney stated:
“That’s up to the community groups.”
“These are low-level felonies, property offenses, no domestic violence, no sexual assault cases (and) decisions you would make if you were in my shoes.”
King County Councilmember and Budget Chair Jeanne Kohl-Welles also spoke to KOMO News and claimed that jail time is not the answer for criminals that commit felonies.
“Locking people up is very costly and it’s not affirmative for people’s lives. But we also have to make sure to protect the public, so this is hard, it’s not going to be easy.”
The community sentencing program is set to begin in the middle of 2021 and be implemented no later than early 2022.
“And yet they get to dictate how they live and that’s just plain not right. This shouldn’t have happened just from that standpoint alone.”
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