If you thought things were bad in Seattle’s autonomous zone, that’s only a preview of what conditions in the city will be like if the proposed 50 percent defunding of the police department goes through.
Speaking recently on America’s Newsroom on Fox News, the president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, Michael Solan, said that the move “will make CHAZ/CHOP, the experience that it was, look like child’s play.”
Earlier this month, police in Seattle forcefully cleared out the Capitol Hill protest zone after weeks of protests and two deadly shootings that forced the city’s liberal mayor to finally take action after weeks of pretending like nothing was wrong.
However, the violence continues. Over the weekend, dozens of officers were injured in protests as rioters set a portable trailer on fire and threw an explosive device at a police precinct, blowing an 8-inch hole through one of its walls. Some of the injuries sustained by officers included abrasions, bruises, burns and a torn meniscus. Almost 50 people were arrested.
In a press conference on Wednesday, it was revealed the police discovered smoke bombs, explosives and other weapons in a van that was stationed at the protests. The chief of police of Seattle, Carmen Best, said that the van’s contents illustrated that some of the people at these protests do not have peaceful intentions. She said: “Peaceful protesters do not show up in a van full of … explosives.”
Meanwhile, a sergeant with the police department ‘s arson and bomb squad said that they discovered the remnants of a Molotov cocktail that exploded near the King County juvenile detention facility.
Solan also appeared on Fox & Friends Weekend, where he said that what is happening in the city is a “travesty” that could influence how public safety is addressed across the nation moving forward.
According to the Seattle Times, three council members support the Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now coalition, which seeks police defunding along with major reforms geared toward ending systemic racism. Seven out of the nine city council members support defunding the police, which means they already have enough support to defund police even without getting approval from Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan.
Chief Best said that she doesn’t think council members supporting defunding the police have a real plan. She said the move will cost them 1100 employees. Their budget is currently set at $409 million.
Solan added that the city will be “plagued with crime” if the defunding takes place.
Los Angeles is already on a path to defund police after the city council approved a measure to reduce the department’s budget by $150 million starting in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The city council is made up of 14 Democrats and one independent, who voted to slash the police budget by a margin of 12 to 2. The move will see the number of officers reduced by 231, even though L.A. already has one of the country’s worse ratios of police officers to residents.
The city’s officials stated that their decision was influenced by demonstrators’ demands to reduce police spending. The measure states that unused police funds must be invested back into communities of color. However, the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter has said that this huge cut isn’t satisfactory. They’ve been calling for 90 percent of the LAPD’s budget to be defunded and the money re-directed to social safety services.
It’s scary to think what these cities will look like when they are not properly policed. Solan said, “Seattle will be a lawless wasteland,” and the same will be true of any city that gets rid of the forces who exist to protect their people.
Sources for this article include: