SEATTLE -- The growing clashes between police and protesters spurred multiple Seattle City Council members to float an idea many might find controversial.
During a briefing Monday morning, council member and budget committee chair Teresa Mosqueda announced her plan to slash the police department’s $400-million budget by half.
Council members also didn’t stop at the budget, Sawant said she will craft legislation to ban chemical agents and keep officers from using chokeholds against subjects.
Seattle Police’s union president warns cutting their budget will only increase crime.
For yet another night conflicts between protestors and police in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood boiled over, sending smoke through the streets and spurring condemnation by Seattle City Council members.
“There was no provocation,” council member Kshama Sawant told her colleagues, recounting Sunday’s events.
Seattle Police insist they only respond with force after protestors toss bottles, bricks and other materials.
Seattle’s police union says dozens of officers have been injured during confrontations.
Monday morning, council member Teresa Mosqueda promised not to pass the mayor’s budget and planned to make drastic cuts to the force’s budget.
“I am committed to defunding the police, she said.” “Fifty percent ideally to invest back into communities that we failed.”
“At night at 11th and Pine, it’s unacceptable,” said SPOG president Mike Solan.
He says cutting SPD’s budget now threatens the safety of officers and the public.
“Reality is we’re already underfunded,” said Solan. “Public safety crimes are rising. If you remove money there’s going to be an explosion in crime.”
Other council members are convinced years of reforming SPD has failed and drastic action is needed now.
“It’s just not a healthy tree,” said council member Debora Juarez. “We need to plant a new tree and we have to completely re-imagine re-envision what community policing is.”
Last week Mayor Jenny Durkan said she would not support a 50% cut to SPD’s budget.
Messages for Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best seeking comment regarding Monday’s council brief were not immediately returned.