Seattle City Council Backs Call to Defund the Police by 50%

A 1970's-era poster of activist Angela Davis hangs at a boarded up and closed Seattle police precinct Sunday, June 21, 2020, in Seattle, where streets are blocked off in what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone. Police pulled back from several blocks of the city's Capitol Hill …
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

A veto-proof majority of the Seattle City Council backed a proposal Thursday to defund the Seattle Police Department by 50% — including a proposal to remove 911 dispatchers from police control and to “imagine life beyond policing.”

The Seattle Times reported:

A majority of Seattle City Council members now say they agree with a high-level proposal by advocates to defund the Police Department by 50% and reallocate the dollars to other community needs.

That means seven of nine council members are on board with the idea, though they have yet to say exactly how they intend to make the cuts; six votes are needed to pass budget-related legislation and to override a mayoral veto. [Mayor Jenny] Durkan has not backed a 50% reduction.

Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now are new coalitions that have emerged during the recent Black Lives Matter protests and that count a number of community organizations led by Black people as endorsers.

The activists’ four-point plan, according to the Times, is as follows:

  • 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

Seattle was the site of the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest,” or CHOP, for several weeks in June. Activists seized control of several city blocks after city officials forced the Seattle Police Department to abandon the Eastern Precinct.

The mayor finally issued an order to remove the CHOP on July 1, after protesters had marched to her private home. Police cleared out the area early the next morning.

Democrats have largely yielded to activists’ demands to “defund the police” or even “abolish the police,” with minimal resistance from the party.

Presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden has said that he does not agree with defunding the police, but has been reluctant to defend them, and has criticized them as being part of the problem of “systemic racism.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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