A majority of Seattle’s city council now agrees with a proposal for a 50 percent reduction in the city’s police department, distributing the funds to other needs in the community.
Seven of the nine council members are supportive of the plan set forth by Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now, even as Mayor Jenny Durkan is asking them to “slow down,” according to the Seattle Times. That gives them a veto-proof majority.
The coalition called for the police department's current $409 million budget to be cut by 50 percent in 2021’s budget as well as 2020’s remaining budget, which they argue should be done this summer.
Though the city council has not provided specifics on how these reductions would be made, Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now offered a four point proposal.
Remove Seattle’s 911 dispatchers from police control
Scale up community-based solutions to public safety
Fund a community-led process to “imagine life beyond policing.”
Invest in affordable housing
Their goal is “defunding the Seattle Police Department and building a world where we trust and believe in community to provide the safety that we need,” a spokeswoman for the coalition said Thursday at a news conference.
A spokeswoman for the mayor told the Seattle Times they don't "object to any of these ideas" but that each is "much more nuanced than it initially might seem."
"If we don't factor that into our discussions...then we'll never be able to build actionable and lasting solutions," spokeswoman Kelsey Nyland said.
The proposal comes as some cities are following through with demands to defund the police. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $1 billion cut to the NYPD budget for 2021 and Los Angeles city leaders voted to cut the LAPD budget by $150 million. Progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argue, however, that cuts are not enough -- defund the police means defund the departments entirely.