Seattle City Council voted on Monday to continue with a controversial proposal that would initiate the police department sabotage process.
The 7-1 vote took place despite the objections of the city chief, the mayor and the Seattle Police Association.
The plan would eventually cut the department’s funding but not the 50% that some have been looking for. Seattle currently has about 1,400 police officers, and the current plan will cut about 100 people.
Congressman Kshama Sawant was the only one to vote “no” because she felt the proposals did not go far enough, while Debora Juarez abstained, according to MyNorthWest.com.
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The Council reviewed a series of final amendments on Monday ahead of the vote, including reducing the police department to 100 officers through layoffs and attrition as well as cutting $ 285,000 of Canh’s annual salary. Chief Carmen Best and other high-ranking officers. Best was the city’s first black sheriff and the salary cuts would make her pay less than her white predecessor.
The council’s plan also removes officers from the homeless camp demolition team.
Jason Johnson, the Interim Director of Seattle’s Human Services Division, wrote in a letter to the board last week.
Some board members said the initial cuts were the first step to deeper cuts and a review of law enforcement in Seattle.
“It is important to show community members that we listen to them, that we are working towards the same goal,” Councilman Teresa Mosqueda said last week.
Mayors Jenny Durkan and Best have urged the council to slow down police budget discussions, saying the issue could be seriously addressed when the 2021 city budget is considered. They also argue that any layoffs will target newer officers, often hired from minority communities, and inevitably lead to lawsuits.
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Durkan has set a target of saving about $ 20 million from the police budget this year, largely due to the spending pressure caused by the revenue drop due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, the mayor outlined a plan to cut the police budget by about $ 75 million next year by relocating parking enforcement officers, the 911 switchboard and other areas out of the department.
As a US attorney in Seattle, Durkan previously prompted an investigation by the Justice Department that found police using force too quickly, resulting in a 2012 consent decree with the federal government. state. Reviews by an independent watchdog have determined that changes under the consent decree have resulted in a reduction in the frequency of police using force. But critics say the ministry’s actions during the recent rallies show insufficient progress.
Reductions for police departments have been supported by protesters in Seattle and other cities across the country following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In that case, a White policeman knelt on the back of Floyd’s neck for a few minutes until he died. Floyd is black.
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The protests, some that started in peace but turned violent, have been reported across the country, including in Portland and St. Louis.
On Sunday night, Seattle vandals targeted several stores in the city’s First Hill neighborhood, smashing glass doors at a branch of Chase Bank and Key Bank. The vandals also targeted a Starbucks store and several other businesses in the area, local media reported.
Associated Press contributed to this report.