Seattle, WA – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has given a convicted sex trafficker a $12,500 monthly salary as a “street czar” in exchange for his “genius” input on how to develop “alternatives to policing.”
Andre Taylor was sentenced to five-and-one-half years in prison in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2000 after being convicted of seven prostitution-related counts, three of which involved a 16-year-old girl who he trafficked across state lines, the Las Vegas Sun reported at the time.
Two of the counts were tied to money laundering.
The court later dismissed the two other counts – which involved Taylor allegedly pimping two adult female prostitutes – after Taylor’s attorney argued that there was not sufficient evidence to support the jury’s guilty verdicts on those charges, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
Taylor served just over a year in prison before he was released back into the community, The Seattle Times reported.
The convicted felon, known as “Gorgeous Dre,” also appeared in the 2000 documentary, “American Pimp,” according to the New York Post.
In a YouTube video earlier this year, he bragged about having impregnated “some of the women who were with me” when he was marketing them as sex workers.
Taylor made his way up to Seattle in 2016 following the officer-involved shooting death of his brother, Che Taylor, the New York Post reported.
“I’m here to go to war,” he declared during a news conference upon his arrival, according to The Seattle Times.
He went on to form the group “Not This Time!,” an activist non-profit organization “focused on reducing fatal police shootings, changing the laws that govern the use of force, and rebuilding trust between our communities and the police who are sworn to protect and serve us,” according to the group’s website.
Taylor was among the first to organize a rally after George Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department in May, according to The Seattle Times.
He later told the rioters who took over a six-block area and set up the so-called Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) autonomous zone that they should demand $2 million from the city before they would agree to leave the area.
Taylor told a group of CHOP rioters in a recorded conversation that he would go to Durkan and that he would tell her the group was “so serious about this space, they’re willing to die,” according to The Seattle Times.
“But wait – we have an out,” he explained. “They’re more concerned about being able to have some money for communities that are devastated right now, and if we can move that, they’ll be willing to leave.”
“So, don’t just leave. Leave with something,” the convicted felon told the rioters. “You gotta get something. Let me make that happen for you, and then I can bring that back to you. I don’t know, we’ll ask for $2 million. They might give us $1 million, but let’s ask for it.”
Members of the CHOP group decided after the June 21 meeting with Taylor that something felt “off,” so they “never followed up” with him, two of the meeting attendees told The Seattle Times.
Taylor subsequently struck a deal with Durkan, who agreed to make him Seattle’s “street czar” and to pay him at a rate of $150,000 per year.
The convicted felon noted that the position and title were both his ideas.
“In the wake of current and historical police brutality and racial injustice, the Consultant will act as an advisor to the City of Seattle and ‘Street Czar’ community liaison to achieve short-term and long-term outcomes,” Taylor’s contract with the city reads.
Not This Time is free to “direct funds” from the contract into “other community organizations” as they deem appropriate, provided the Department of Neighborhoods agrees.
Taylor will also be responsible for providing “recommendations to the City on de-escalation, community engagement, and alternatives to policing,” according to the contract.
The agreement includes an “Expansion for New Work” section, in case Taylor comes up with any other plans he’d like to be compensated for.
“Somebody can’t put a price tag on going into community meetings and having sit downs with gang members, (who) won’t sit down with anybody else,” Taylor bragged during an interview with KOMO.
“Me, as a black man, has the right to be paid for my genius or for whatever my organization can provide,” he declared. “Black people as a whole have not been in a place to be compensated for their genius or their work for a very, very long time.”
Taylor claimed that white people are generally paid when they perform the same work, but that black people are expected to do it for free.
“Black people are not normally paid for positions nor their organizations but white people with the same positions are paid and this is an ongoing problem not only here but all over this country,” Taylor told KOMO. “White people have been paid for some of the same stuff and nobody has ever said anything about it. But the moment a black man demands respect and you value the work and you want to use my credibility, that should have some value to it.”
The convicted felon said he is an expert at toggling between the streets and City Hall.
“Not too many people can go talk to gangbangers in their territory, and then go talk to the government in their territory,” he told The Seattle Times.
“Let’s just say that in my previous life, I did learn some life skills,” Taylor said in a previous interview with the paper.
Durkan’s spokesperson, Kelsey Nyland, said that Taylor and his organization were chosen for the contract because they have “lived experience with the criminal legal system,” as well as a “history of successful advocacy and activism on issues of policing and dismantling systemic racism,” according to The Seattle Times.
Nyland said the contract was just one of the millions of dollars’ worth of contracts the city has established with similar groups this year.