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Seattle City Council Overrides Mayor's Veto in Order to Cut Police Budget

09-23-2020

The Seattle City Council has voted to override their mayor's veto of funding reductions to the city's police department.

Dozens of police officers will lose their positions as a result of this first round of Seattle's effort to defund the police. 

The finalized cuts, which begin in November, include removal of up to 100 police officers from various units, eliminating their Navigation Team, and limiting top command staff pay to $150,000 according to MyNorthwest.com.

"We cannot look away from this and we can no longer accept the status quo if we truly believe that Black lives matter," said City Council President Lorena Gonzalez. 

The council originally approved the cuts in a 7-1 vote on Aug. 10 to slash police funds by 14% for the remainder of 2020.  Mayor Jenny Durkan vetoed that attempt. But now the council has voted via a videoconference to overturn Durkan's veto.

Durkan and council members have debated for months over how to revamp the city budget which was devastated by COVID-19 and the rise in violence over the summer.

In a release, Mayor Durkan emphasized her concern over the council's conduct and the subsequent risks.

"There's a lack of plan on addressing encampments across the city if we eliminated the Navigation Team, a lack of a plan regarding the specific source to repay a loan, and a lack of a plan to legally reduce our force while not jeopardizing a 9-1-1 response. While Council may not be concerned about the details, I am. And they actually do matter," she said.

"Our community is demanding that we work together," she added. "Even when we disagree, I have always believed we could work together on actual solutions that can be done and make the change we want to see."

Seattle's police department is not the first to face defunding efforts, despite an increase in crime.

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CBN News reported in June that members of the Minneapolis City Council pledged to dismantle the police department following public outcry over George Floyd's death at the hands of several officers.

Nine of the council's 12 members rallied with civil rights activists to defund the department.

The council even voted to remove the police department from the city charter, but that action was placed on hold after the Minneapolis Charter Commission determined that more time was needed to review the plan.

Ultimately, the city council transferred $1.1 million from the police department to the health department to support "violence interrupters" who are supposed to take the place of police in resolving conflicts and prevent additional disorder.

Weeks later, in what's been labeled an incredibly ironic moment, Minneapolis City Council asked police Chief Medaria Arradondo how his department was responding after the city saw a sudden rise in violent crime. 

He stressed that his police officers were "going to be responsive" so that "communities know that we are going to be there."  

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