Despite violence and protests, despite warnings from the government and vetoes from the mayor, the Seattle City Council went ahead with its plans to defund the police. Crime in the Emerald City has skyrocketed since the death of George Floyd in May. Seattle even endured a siege of several city blocks by Black Lives Matter and Antifa. Still, the lawmakers deemed it necessary to further hamper the ability of law enforcement to protect the people.
Mayor Jenny Durkan, a Democrat, vetoed three anti-cop bills, but the council overturned two of them unanimously and the third with a 7-2 majority. The bills reduce the wages of higher-ranking police officials and remove about 100 people from the police department. The mayor claimed that cutting officers from the force goes against the city’s plans to become more diverse:
“If Council wanted to actually seek salary savings for this year or fully realize layoffs, it would require us to cut sworn officers, which would mean losing our newest and most diverse hires that we have worked so hard to bring on board (37% are diverse), particularly when we had been consistently advised by legal counsel and the City’s Labor Relations Director that cutting these officers could not be avoided by ‘out of order’ layoffs by November, as the legislation assumes.”
Seattle is also swarming with homeless people. The council cut the Navigation Team as well, which is responsible for dealing with the homelessness problem. As Durkan explained, this will severely restrict “the City’s ability to move people out of homelessness and deal with encampments for the rest of this year.”
Is it a coincidence that this vote comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s announcement that Seattle, Portland, and New York City have been declared “anarchist jurisdictions”? Such a move could mean withholding federal funding to these cities, which has Seattle lawmakers practically foaming at the mouth.
On top of defunding the police, the council has also hired a convicted pimp to act as the city’s “street czar” and come up with “alternatives to policing” – and they’re paying him $150,000 a year! Andre Taylor, who once went by the name “Gorgeous Dre,” was convicted of seven prostitution-related counts and sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison back in 2000, of which he served a little over one. In 2016, his brother, Che Taylor, was killed by Seattle police, and the activist said he was going to the city to seek justice. “I’m here to go to war,” he said at the time. “I will be unrelenting to get justice for my little brother.”
Now, in his new role for the city, the activist told KOMO News: “Me, as a Black man has the right to be paid for my genius or for whatever my organization can provide. Black people as a whole have not been in a place to be compensated for their genius or their work for a very, very long time.”
It certainly seems trendy for Democrat-led cities to rid the population of trained and professional law enforcement officers. But must we now replace them with convicted criminals while the streets run wild with violence, looting, and rioting?
Read more from Kelli Ballard.