By Sandy Malone and Holly Matkin
Seattle, WA – Seattle lawmakers on Friday proposed legislation to abolish the Seattle Police Department and replace it with a “community-led” safety prevention program.
The proposal came just six days after 59 Seattle police officers were hurt during violent riots in the city.
On July 25, rioters blew a hole through the wall of the East Precinct, looted and destroyed businesses in the Capitol Hill area, and set occupied buildings aflame.
The resolution proposed by the blatantly anti-police city council on July 31 said that the Seattle Police Department “perpetuates racism and violence” and upholds “white supremacy culture,” the New York Post reported.
Christopher Rufo, the director of the Discovery’s Institute’s Center on Wealth and Poverty, posted a draft of the proposed legislation on Twitter.
The resolution offered a “blueprint” on how to defund the police and replace them with community groups overseen by a non-profit, civilian-led “Department of Community Safety & Violence Prevention,” according to the New York Post.
Under the proposal, law enforcement would be replaced by “community-led” activities, “culturally-relevant expertise rooted in community connections,” and organizations focused on “housing, food security, and other basic needs.”
Those groups would have to prove to be “well-versed in de-escalation skills” and “trauma-informed, gender-affirming, anti-racist praxis” and be “committed to hiring staff from the communities they serve” in order to get funding, the New York Post reported.
According to the documents posted by Rufo, the resolution would create the department to replace the police and be ready to start implementation after November of 2021.
BREAKING: Seattle City Council moves to abolish the entire Seattle Police Department and replace it with a "civilian led Department of Community Safety & Violence Prevention."
They want to replace the police force with nonprofit programs and "community-led activities." pic.twitter.com/JnFaWusvvv
— Christopher F. Rufo (@realchrisrufo) July 31, 2020
The proposal has not yet been scheduled for a vote, but a majority of the Seattle City Council have said they would vote for a plan to defund the police, the New York Post reported.
It was just the latest blow for a police department that has been under siege since 46-year-old George Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police on May 25.
On July 9, a majority of the Seattle City Council voiced support for a plan to slash the city’s police budget by 50 percent as crime skyrocketed in the city, The Seattle Times reported.
Seven of the nine Seattle City Council members indicated they were in support of the plan, although they provided no clear-cut method regarding what aspects of the police force would be axed under the proposal.
The 50 percent budget-reduction plan was presented by King County Equity Now and Black Lives Matter-inspired Decriminalize Seattle during a Seattle City Council budget committee meeting on July 8, The Seattle Times reported.
The goal of the four-pronged proposal is “defunding the Seattle Police Department and building a world where we trust and believe in community to provide the safety that we need,” Decriminalize Seattle spokesperson Jackie Vaughn said during a press conference on Thursday.
The groups pushed to defund the Seattle Police Department (SPD) by over $200 million for 2021, and further argued that the city should take back half of the department’s remaining 2020 budget.
Under the plan, Seattle’s 911 police dispatchers would be removed from SPD management.
King County Equity Now and Decriminalize Seattle said SPD funds should be reallocated towards investing in affordable housing, increasing “community-based solutions” to public safety, and funding a roadmap to “imagine life beyond policing,” The Seattle Times reported.
“I look forward to implementing the proposals outlined by you all,” City Council Budget Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda told said during a press conference, KIRO reported.
“When millions of people took to the streets to protest excessive use of force and police violence, they were met with excessive use of force and police violence in Seattle and around the country, proving that it’s not just about a few bad actors,” Mosqueda declared. “It is the institution of policing itself that must be dismantled.”
“The status quo is no longer acceptable,” added City Council President Lorena Gonzalez. “We have to take away the things that no longer and should have never belonged to law enforcement in the first place.”