SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council has proposed reducing its police budget by 20 percent, which would make it one of several Democratic-run cities taking big chunks of money away from local law enforcement, MyNorthwest reported.
Many “Defund the police” activists who were calling for the city to cut its police budget by at least 50 percent may not be happy, but the cuts would make Seattle second only to Austin’s 34 percent for biggest police budget reductions since it became vogue following the custodial death of George Floyd, which led to nationwide protests and riots.
Will Seattle's 2021 budget actually reflect the demand of our movement to defund the Seattle Police Department by 50% at least? Will we see SPD actually shrink and investments in Black communities increase? [A #NoNewCops thread – one of many key budget strategies to #DefundSPD]
— Nikkita Oliver (they/them) (@NikkitaOliver) November 11, 2020
The city council’s plan calls for 35 officer layoffs by July 2021, for a total reduction of 100 officers in 2020 and 2021, according to MyNorthwest. The city already has 93 vacancies.
The final city budget vote is expected on Nov. 23, KOMO News reported.
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“Seattle City Council will cut Seattle PD budget by 20% at a time where we have historically high homicides and historically low deployable police staff. Makes total sense in a Seattle-kinda-way,” conservative radio host Jason Rantz wrote on Twitter.
Seattle City Council will cut Seattle PD budget by 20% at a time where we have historically high homicides and historically low deployable police staff. Makes total sense in a Seattle-kinda-way.
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) November 11, 2020
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda defended the budget at a committee meeting on Tuesday, saying “this is the first year that the City Council is not expanding the Seattle Police Department budget,” according to KOMO News.
“Council is balancing divestment and investment, and taking a necessary step that can be taken at this juncture to address years of over-investment and reliance on punitive systems,” Mosqueda said in a separate statement.