Dispatches, Official Statements

Mayor Durkan: Stop Your Victim-Blaming and Respond to our Demands

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On Tuesday, June 30, Mayor Jenny Durkan wrote a memo to Seattle City Council president Lorena González calling on her to remove Councilmember Kshama Sawant from office for supposed “disorderly and contemptuous behavior.” Her letter cites Sunday’s peaceful March for Accountability, in which a coalition of BIPOC organizations and allies, as well as the family of Charleena Lyles, brought their long-standing demands directly to the Mayor’s mansion: 

  1. Defund the SPD by 50% and reinvest in Black and brown communities.
  2. Free all protesters arrested during the uprising without charges.
  3. Drop the lawsuits from Officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew, as well as the cities of Kent, Federal Way, and Auburn, that block the inquest process and prevent the families of people killed by police from getting answers.
  4. Mayor Durkan: resign.

This attack on Councilmember Sawant is a disgusting distraction from the real issues. Mayor Durkan is playing a game of respectability politics in order to wriggle out of accountability, by erasing the voices of our families and organizations fighting for change. Once again, Mayor Durkan is showing us that she believes that democracy is only for the haves, at the expense of the have nots, and her response to our demands has been nothing but contempt:

  • A mere 5% cut to the police department while other departments are expected to make 10% cuts — a relative increase in police spending!
  • Using chemical weapons to crack down on thousands of protesters, escalating peaceful protests into violent situations that left protesters (and zero police) seriously injured, and our neighborhoods looking like war zones
  • Organizing private roundtables with cherry picked “stakeholders” who support her – while excluding others – and claiming that she’s working with the “Black community”

Mayor Durkan has repeatedly shown herself to be an obstacle to ending police brutality. Our protest was called the “March for Accountability” for a reason, and the Mayor has since shown that she’s not only unaccountable, she thinks she’s the victim. These kinds of tactics, including the Mayor’s attempt to pin the entire movement on a socialist woman of color, come directly from the Donald Trump playbook.

Seattle City Councilmembers: be the leadership we need. Now is the time for fundamental change from a capitalist system that uses systemic racism and police violence to maintain order. It’s time to impeach the mayor and lead the country by passing a budget this year that defunds the SPD by at least 50% and redistributes that money to impacted communities. Rest assured, we will not stop bringing our demands until you do.

Signed,

Seattle Democratic Socialists of America

BAYAN Seattle

Roxanne White

Anna Hackman, rank-and-file member of AFT Local 1789

Please support the email campaign of the family of Charleena Lyles: tinyurl.com/DropYourLawsuit

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