After the summer protests, Seattle is cutting police budgets by nearly 17%

Seattle City Council on Monday cut police budgets by nearly 17 percent in a shift stemming from nationwide protests against systemic racism last summer.

According to the board’s spending plan for 2021, $ 340 million was to be set aside for the Seattle Police Department, instead of $ 409 million this year, council and mayor representatives said Tuesday.

While some Seattle activists have demanded a 50 percent police budget deduction, Mayor Jenny Durkan said she supported these smaller cuts, calling them “thoughtful and thoughtful,” and saying the city’s priority is “what services we need in Seattle. i police and how to extend alternatives to policing. “

“I believe we are laying the groundwork for a systematic and lasting change in policing,” Durkan said in a statement. “We have rightly put forward a plan that seeks to ensure that the SPD has enough officers to meet the 911 response and investigation needs throughout the city. While acknowledging and addressing the disproportionate impact of policing on color communities, particularly black communities. . “

Durkan is expected to officially sign the 2021 budget next week, a town hall spokesman said Tuesday.

Police are following the protesters during a protest on November 3, 2020 in Seattle.David Ryder / Getty Images

Teresa Mosqueda, a member of the council who heads the budget committee, said it was a priority to “cut the SPD budget” and channel money into other social programs that “invest in community alternatives that bring healthy results for minority communities”.

He cited the police killings of George Floyd of Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor of Louisville as key moments that moved Seattle residents.

“We have a lot more work to do and now we have to work on the next steps,” Mosqueda said.

The union, which represented Seattle officers, rejected budget cuts and said law enforcement would be obstructed.

“It will take longer, if hardly, to see follow-up investigations into the secondary piece of the 911 emergency call,” said Mike Sloan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Association.

Tense, ongoing negotiations to cut the department’s budget resulted in the resignation of Carmen Best, Seattle’s first black police chief.

Under the new spending plan, dozens of unoccupied dozens of departments will not be filled, overtime will be reduced, and the implementation of the 911 dispatcher and parking will be moved out of control of the SPD.