The Seattle Times and other local news organizations are reporting that a majority of the City Council supports “a high-level proposal” to slash police department funding by 50 percent, igniting an uproar among citizen critics.
Sentiment among some respondents to the Seattle Times story can be summed up in two reader reactions. One reader suggested “Everybody open carry.” Another reader wrote, “It’s all good. I live in Seattle and am going to use this as an opportunity to buy a gun, get licensed to carry, and learn to shoot. Without enough police, we are the law and it will be our responsibility to defend ourselves.”
A third reader had this suggestion: “Instead of TV cops from olden days, I would rather want to see Dirty Harry patrolling the Seattle streets.”
The Seattle Times report had garnered nearly 400 reader reactions as this story was written.
According to Patch.com, groups calling themselves “Decriminalize Seattle” and “King County Equity Now” earlier this week “outlined a four-point ‘roadmap’ for accomplishing the goal during a City Council meeting.” The story says a “veto-proof” majority of the council, consisting of Council President M. Lorena Gonzalez, Socialist Kshama Sawant, Tammy Morales, Teresa Mosqueda, Lisa Herbold, Andrew Lewis and Dan Strauss all indicated support for the plan.
But their sentiments appear to concur with a minority of people responding to a Pew Research survey published Thursday that says there is “little support for reducing spending on policing.”
“Just 25% of Americans say spending on policing in their area should be decreased, with only 12% saying it should be decreased a lot; another 14% say it should be reduced a little,” Pew reported. “A 73% majority say that spending on their local police should stay about the same as it is now (42%) or be increased from its current level (31%). While Black adults are more likely than whites to favor cuts in police budgets, fewer than half of Black adults (42%) say spending on policing in their areas should be reduced. That is double the share of white adults who favor cutting funding for their local police (21%).”
The published game plan of the two groups includes a hiring freeze for Seattle police, a reduction in patrol and administrative staffing, cut the department’s budget for recruitment and retention, end overtime pay, cut the training budget and “Prioritize for reduction those officers with highest number of complaints.” Other far left groups also want the police department to be essentially eviscerated.
According to the Seattle Times, a Thursday news conference involving various defunding advocacy groups suggested “community organizations and practitioners… can protect Seattle residents better than the Police Department in many instances.”
But is that really true? A look at what occurred in the so-called “CHOP” (for “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest”) zone during the 16 days when six blocks of the city were seized and occupied by protesters suggests otherwise. There were two homicides over the course of nine days, plus at least four other non-fatal shootings. There were reports of assault and other crimes. Self-appointed “security” personnel were visibly armed and are even blamed for the shooting death of a 16-year-old black teen, an incident that finally brought police action to recapture the area.
Seattle isn’t the only municipality where far left elected officials appear to have declared war on their police. Minneapolis is another city facing the same dilemma, and reports have surfaced about a spike in retirements from the New York City Police Department.