Actions, Dispatches

The Mayor’s 5% Cut to the SPD Budget is Bullshit

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We are bringing the movement’s demands to the Mayor on Sunday at the Rally for Accountability: Defund SPD & Reinvest in Communities!

The uprising for Black lives has activated thousands of Seattleites in support of longstanding community demands for justice. In a few short weeks, we have made tremendous strides in unifying around demands to stop police violence by reallocating funds to proven community-led health and safety programs. Somehow, though, many of our elected officials—most notably, Mayor Jenny Durkan—have not gotten the memo, and instead cracked down on protests using chemical weapons, making Capitol Hill look like a war zone. Now, we must take our fight to defund SPD, protect and support Black lives, and free all protestors straight to Mayor Durkan. 

We’ve tried signing petitions, giving public testimony at official meetings, occupying public space, pushing through reforms, filing lawsuits, forming community groups, and even peacefully marching into City Hall. Yet we have seen no results from the Mayor. Instead, she has cherry picked activists who support her for “community meetings” that only serve as photo ops, and worked hand-in-hand with the Police Chief and proposed a measly 5% cut to the chronically swollen police budget, while other city departments are facing budget reductions, even potentially 10% cuts. This relative increase in the police budget is a slap in the face. We join community leaders in demanding no less than a 50% cut, and the reinvestment of those funds in Black communities and other communities of color that have been historically and systematically disenfranchised. 

Black, Brown, and Indigenous Seattlites have been targeted and brutalized for over a century by the Seattle Police Department—as expertly detailed in Shaun Scott’s Crosscut article, “The time to abolish Seattle’s police was yesterday.” Our community members are being murdered, even when reaching out for mental health help for themselves or their families. The people living in our city have long fought for oversight and reform to keep us all safe, but each proposed ‘reform’ has been blocked before it started, or failed to be truly implemented. 

Enough is enough—the ‘Seattle process’ of endless committees, handwringing, and progressive-sounding speeches with no action to back them up is killing people. Our city is exhausted from fear, anger, and hypervigilance. The families of people killed by police are heartbroken after fighting for years or decades to get a version of justice, when the only true justice would be to have their loved one back in their arms. 

Mayor Durkan has ignored the demands of the movement: defund SPD by at least 50%, re-invest in Black communities, and free all protestors; and the demands of the family of Charleena Lyles: For Officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew, in addition to the cities of Kent, Federal Way, and Auburn, drop their lawsuits against King County that block the inquest process; for the defunding of SPD by at least 50%, and for the resignation of Mayor Jenny Durkan.  

Mayor Durkan claims that Black Lives Matter, but her actions speak louder than her words: inaction in holding killer cops accountable, overseeing the violent repression of our protests with chemical weapons and the detainment of protesters of color, making backroom deals with developers that displace communities of color, continuing “sweeps” of homeless encampments, and shutting down efforts to tax her corporate campaign contributors to fund housing for Black and working-class families.

Please join us for a rally and march TODAY, Sunday at 5pm at Magnuson Park to stand in solidarity with families impacted by police violence, and to deliver our shared demands to the Mayor. We sincerely hope that our city’s leadership will finally take Black and brown Seattleites’ demands for safety, health, and peace seriously. Rest assured, Mayor Durkan, that we will not stop until you do. 

Event info: tinyurl.com/JennyGottaGo 

Support the demands of the family of Charleena Lyles: tinyurl.com/dropyourlawsuit

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