SEATTLE, WA— A group of pro-police protestors gathered outside of the Seattle City Hall on Sunday, August 9 calling on the Seattle City Council not to defund city police.
The Council had a vote set to take place on Monday, August 10 to vote on a number of budget cuts to the Seattle Police Department. The protest was in part organized by the Seattle Police Officers Guild. The organization has set up a website with a petition asking the city council to stop police defunding in the city.
Counter protesters, in favor of the defunding measures, gathered across the street at the same time. All this has been occurring as states across the country are faced with cries to defund police departments by 50 percent. KOMO’s Ryan Yamamoto shared pictures of the protest on Twitter.
The City Council could vote to cut Seattle police funds by up to $3 million from the remaining 2020 budget. The proposed amendments were passed on Wednesday, August 5, by the Seattle City Council’s Select Budget Committee. Among them is the proposed layoff of 100 police officers, as well as approximately $30 million in cuts from patrol and special operations within the department.
“I don’t think you can provide the level of public safety you need in Seattle by just cutting those numbers,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in a press conference last week. “There’s almost no way to cut those officers in the way that council has requested.”
The amendments propose a reallocation of Seattle Police Department funds to the Office of Housing and the city’s Human Services Department. Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best identified $20 million in possible cuts to the remaining 2020 police department budget. That amount represents 10 percent of the remaining total and another $76 million could be cut in the 2021 budget.
“We want to lead the nation in reimagining policing,” Durkan added. “We know that we can do that and still protect public safety and have a system in place where people get the help they need 24/7 in every part of the city.”