Seattle Police Chief: City council defunding police by 50% is ‘reckless’ and ‘dangerous’ – ‘Crime will explode’

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SEATTLE, WA – Responding to pressure from activist groups, seven of nine Seattle city council members agreed to a plan that includes defunding the Seattle Police Department by 50%.

Activist coalitions Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity now called for a 50% reduction in Seattle’s 2021 police budget, as well as a 50% reduction in the budget for the remainder of year 2020.

In addition, the groups presented a proposal calling on Seattle to:

  • Remove Seattle’s 911 dispatchers from police control
  • Scale up community-based solutions to public safety
  • Fund a community-led process to “imagine life beyond policing.”
  • Invest in affordable housing

 

Several of the council members backed the above proposal in addition to the 50% defunding, but no council members said exactly where the 50% of funds removed would go.

As we previously reported, a seven of nine majority on the council means that defunding can proceed without the approval of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

These ideas are not going over well with Seattle Police Department.

Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan told Fox and Friends that Seattle citizens would find themselves “plagued with crime” as a result of defunding. 

He spoke of how he saw a socialist bent on the council as dangerous to their constituents:

“The insanity and the unreasonable activism continued with the Seattle city council, where certain socialist-leaning council members have control of the public safety discourse in our city. 

“And the reality is that they have our entire reasonable majority of citizens of Seattle hostage by their activism….

“And this is a significant problem, where crime will rise significantly, and over half, if not more of the police jobs in our city will be eviscerated.” 

On the Jason Rantz show Friday, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best pulled no punches, calling council’s move “reckless,” and “dangerous.” 

She told the host:

“I think… the word ‘plan’ is rather loose here.  They haven’t got a plan.  All they’ve shown us, that they want to reduce the budget by 50%, I haven’t seen any real planning in that, and the real tragedy of doing that, you know, is that we will lose 1100 employees. 

“That’s 50% of our total workforce, because most of our budget is made up of our personnel costs.  And it would be a tragedy.  I think that it’s the height of recklessness for them to decimate the public safety of the city of Seattle without being thoughtful, and encouraging public engagement on this issue.”

When asked about the proposed civilian takeover of the 911 call system, Chief Best pointed out that already there is a system in place wherein “well trained” civilian dispatchers take those calls and “do a wonderful job.”    

Regarding the council’s idea of replacing police control with civilian control of 911, she added:

“I’m not sure what the council has in mind for that, but I can tell you the idea of gutting the police department and thinking we’re going to maintain public safety is absolutely the height of untested theory, and it’s a lot of political posturing, and we’re trying to really deal with public safety. 

“It just shows that they don’t know the facts.”

On the show, Best and Jason Rantz also compared the council’s proposed path to the “complete disaster” of CHOP.   

Best stated:

“It was a place where they were actively keeping police out of the area, and now we have our city council actively keeping police out of all the neighborhoods, and we saw the response and what happened when that happened:

“A complete area of lawlessness. 

“So this is really, I cannot overemphasize how critically dangerous this is for the people who live and work in the city. 

“I come out emphatically because it really is untested theory and other than the CHOP, untested theory, and it’s political posturing, and it is incredibly reckless.”

 

Chief Best told the host that she and Mayor Jenny Durkan are “perfectly aligned on this,” saying:

“Neither the mayor or certainly not myself wants to see this 50% cut be done without having great discussion about what public safety looks like in the future of this city and without including the community.”

Mayor Durkan herself describes her relationship with Police Chief Best as “excellent,” though she has called for $20 million in budget cuts to the police, the most from any department, as part of addressing the city’s $300 million budget shortfall as a whole. 

Durkan did raise concerns that an immediate 50% reduction in the police budget would mean “eliminating police response on all regards because the year is half done.” 

She is, however, in favor of shifting funds from police to social programs.

In a Twitter video message to the Seattle Police Department, Police Chief Best declared:

“I do not believe we should ask the people of Seattle to test out a theory that crime goes away if police go away.  That is completely reckless.  It’s an abdication of the duty every leader of the city swears to when they take their oath of office.”

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Here is our previous report on the defunding of Seattle police:

After the city of Seattle endured one of the most bizarre and violent uprisings known as CHAZ/CHOP that masqueraded as protests over the summer, the Seattle City Council is actually entertaining a defunding of Seattle Police by 50%.

Furthermore, reports indicate that the city council will pursue this endeavor with or without the blessing of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

Now seven out of the nine council members are backing the ideals and outlines behind groups like Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now. What makes that such an important aspect to note is that the aforementioned coalitions are vying for the likes of defunding the Seattle Police by 50%.

Also, with now seven city council members on board with organizations presenting said agenda items, the council will have the ability to override a mayoral veto of any proposed defunding.

Per law, any budget-related legislation can usurp Mayor Durkan’s veto so long as six city council members vote in favor of said legislation.

One of the city council members, Andrew Lewis, actually boasted about his adoration of the demands outlined by Decriminalize Seattle, saying the following on Twitter:

“To be clear, I am 100% in favor of the [Decriminalize Seattle] demands, including the goal of a 50% cut of SPD’s budget. I am committed to reinvesting that money in BIPOC led organizations, including many I have directly worked with like @ICHOOSE180 and Community Passageways.”

The ideas being championed by the majority of the city council in Seattle come on the heels of a police precinct having been essentially occupied by miscreants in the CHAZ/CHOP zone for weeks. Not to mention, the utter destruction, murder, violent assaults, and burglaries that took place within that six-block zone.

Mayor Durkan referred to the defunding of Seattle Police by 50% as being “irresponsible”:

“Target numbers themselves are irresponsible if you’re not looking at the functions and what the police should be doing versus what perhaps other people can and should be doing.”

While the city mayor can perceive the move to be “irresponsible” all day, if the council decides to quickly move on these types of agenda items, then there’s nothing the mayor could seemingly do about it when hit with a majority vote.

If this defunding actually occurs, the city of Seattle will likely (unofficially) be afforded the song “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins as the city anthem.

The city of Seattle had a front row seat to what happens when police are no longer around, which was of course the CHAZ/CHOP area that was disbanded on July 1st after reigning terror for approximately a month. 

We reported earlier this month on the executive order delivered by the mayor that led to the madness finally coming to a stop. 

According to the executive order issued by the city’s mayor, the following was noted:

“The City’s obligations under the First Amendment do not require the City to provide limitless sanctuary to occupy City property, damage City and private property, obstruct right of way, or foster dangerous conditions.”

Essentially, the mayor finally acknowledged that what was happening in CHOP was neither peaceful nor a lawful protest – it was an occupied area where those who were at odds with the dogma synonymous with CHOP could easily find themselves in harm’s way if present there.   

Much like when we had a literal “walk of shame” being filmed as the CHAZ/CHOP occupiers berated this individual while ousting him from the area earlier in June.

Police were said to have warned those occupying CHOP during the morning of July 1st that they would be allotted 8 minutes to safely exit the area and provided directions on where to exit the area as well.

However, some were said to have defied the directive, and Seattle Police were said to have enacted 13 arrests as a result.

The Seattle Police Department noted on Twitter how there has been several violent crimes that have plagued the CHAZ/CHOP area since its inception – even including murder:

“Since demonstrations at the East Precinct area began on June 8th, two teenagers have been killed and three people have been seriously wounded in late-night shootings. Police have also documented robberies, assaults, and other violent crimes.”

Considering that there are still at-large suspects associated with these crimes that were mentioned by police, the SPD also stated that they were going to be adorned in more protective gear than what they’d normally wear during the clearing that occurred:

“Because suspects in recent shootings may still be in the area, and because numerous people in the area are in possession of firearms, Seattle Police officers involved in this morning’s response will be equipped with additional protective gear.”

SPD Chief Carmen Best issued a statement in relation to the clearing of CHOP as well, stating the following:

“As I have said, and I will say again, I support peaceful demonstrations. Black Lives Matter, and I too want to help propel this movement toward meaningful change in our community.

But enough is enough. The CHOP has become lawless and brutal. Four shootings – two fatal – robberies, assaults, violence and countless property crimes have occurred in this several block area.”

The framing of CHOP as being lawless isn’t a frivolous statement either, as SPD noted that during the occupation of the area between June 8th to the 30th resulted in 65 crimes that were reported. Within that same area, there were a total of 37 crimes reported for the entirety of 2019.

It only took CHOP 22 days to nearly double a crime rate of an entire year in one area.

But sure – let’s defund police by 50% after seeing the experiment of what zero police creates. 

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