Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said she would veto budget changes passed by the Seattle City Council to defund the police. The proposals could have cut up to 100 officer positions.
The proposals follow upon demands from Black Lives Matter protesters to “defund the police” and reroute the funds to social services, the lack of which is said to be the root cause of crime and violence.
Durkan indicated that she was open to something similar to what the council had passed, but that they had not collaborated enough with her office before passing he measure.
“This veto was because the bills as passed did not have the type of collaboration that I think we will have going forward, and that I’m hopeful we will have going forward,” she explained on Friday.
The proposal would have only cut $4 million from the department’s $400 million budget. Seattle has about 1,400 police officers.
Kshama Sawant, one of the most far left progressive members of the city council, voted against the measure, but only because they didn’t go far enough to defund the police.
“Seattle Mayor Durkan remains hostile to defunding police. Democratic Councilmembers completely failed to keep their public promises of 50% defunding in the Summer budget vote, furthermore, approved an austerity budget after having promised anti-austerity,” Sawant tweeted on Thursday.
Criminal justice alternatives
Durkan however, appeared to approve of seeking community-based alternatives to traditional policing methods as a response to crime in the city.
“We must stop gun violence,” Durkan emphasized.
“We know that enforcement and policing is only one part of the work that needs to be done to do so,” she added. “We also have to work with trusted community partners, who can work both to de-escalate situations, and provide alternatives to the criminal justice system.”
Durkan also noted that there’s been a 50% increase in shootings since June 1st in the beleaguered city.
The Democratic mayor made headlines in June when she angrily denounced Black Lives Matter protesting at her home and vandalizing it after she had previously shown support for the movement.