Seattle and cities across America have faced unprecedented challenges with a global pandemic, an economic crisis and a civil rights reckoning. We have lost a record number of American lives, jobs and businesses.
At every turn we badly needed leadership from the President. Yet we have the opposite. No protection for our health care workers, first responders, our small businesses or our local governments who have been on the frontlines of these crises.
Today is a sad day for Seattle in a hard, hard year. For the past 30 years, Chief Best has been one of those leaders that has shown up and shown what she is made of. I will freely admit that I wish she were staying on, and that I asked whether she would.
I have no doubt that she will continue to lead, fight for what is right, be a voice for equity, and change policing and other systems that have perpetuated inequity. Unfortunately, she will not do it here in Seattle as our Chief of Police.
It’s an understatement to say that Seattle will never be able to thank Chief Best enough. I thank her for her humor in tough times and her steadiness and willingness to give me and the city her very best.
@carmenbest@SeattleFire Regardless of the President’s threats, residents can and should continue to demonstrate peacefully and make their voices heard. But we cannot pretend that his comments are just bluster.
We are a nation of laws. The right to assemble, peacefully protest and hold government accountable is a fundamental, cherished right. It is illegal to use the US military against the American people. washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/…
The President said on national TV that they authorized deployment of federal forces and “we were all set to go into Seattle. Frankly, I looked forward to it.” Chilling words just months from a national election.
Let me be clear: Neither the President nor anyone in the White House ever contacted me to send federal forces into Seattle. This illegal action would have been rejected.
For weeks, we have had incredibly peaceful demonstrations on Capitol Hill. Thousands of individuals came together to call for change, and their message has been heard loud and clear: Black Lives Matter. We must continue to live up to this moment in our nation’s history.
But the recent public safety threats have been well documented. These acts of gun violence resulted in the tragic deaths of two teenagers, with multiple others seriously wounded. Despite continued efforts to deescalate and bring community together, this violence demanded action.
Our conversations over the weekend made it clear that many individuals would not leave, and that we couldn’t address these critical public safety concerns until they did.
In recent weeks, I’ve had more than a dozen meetings with organizations, Black leaders, and protesters. Right now, I am at City Hall doing the work.
I will meet with Chief Best to continue our work to move forward on many ideas, including how we reimagine policing and community investments and how that is reflected in the budget.
Many organizations are demanding changes in education, youth safety, housing, criminal justice reform, policing and health care. I have made those a priority for two years, with investments in affordable housing, community-based programs, quality preschool and free college.
Our city and our country are at a historic crossroads. We are facing a global pandemic that has led to record unemployment and unprecedented $300M loss to our previously passed budget, while our City grapples with undoing generations of systemic racism. durkan.seattle.gov/2020/06/mayor-…
We are still in the midst of a pandemic that has disproportionally impacted communities of color. The @CityofSeattle is dedicating resources to grocery vouchers, meal programs, free citywide testing, rental assistance, small businesses, and individuals experiencing homelessness.
@CityofSeattle Our City is expected to dedicate $233 million this year to our COVID-19 response. As we take the opportunity to rebalance the 2020 budget, we must work to dismantle institutions that do not serve to advance equity and justice, and reinvest in true community health & opportunity.
Across the City, hundreds of thousands have gathered daily at different events protesting the murder of George Floyd and hundreds of years of systemic racism that led to his death. A recent silent march had nearly 85,000 peaceful attendees whose message was clear: we need change.
At the same time, tens of thousands of people have been gathering in Capitol Hill for nearly two weeks to continue their protest, to build community and demand change. During the day, it has been a place for healing, education, and community - but it is very different at night.
In the past two nights, three different people have been shot at the CHOP. Two were injured, and one has tragically died. Any incidents of gun violence in our city are deeply concerning to me, Chief @carmenbest, our residents, businesses, and the greater community.
It's clear @realDonaldTrump doesn’t understand what’s happening on five square blocks of our City. Cal Anderson and Capitol Hill has for decades been a place for free speech, community, and self expression.
@realDonaldTrump Lawfully gathering and expressing first amendment rights, demanding we do better as a society and provide true equity for communities of color is not terrorism - it is patriotism.
@realDonaldTrump The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone #CHAZ is not a lawless wasteland of anarchist insurrection - it is a peaceful expression of our community's collective grief and their desire to build a better world. Given his track record, it's not hard to believe that Trump is wrong, yet again.
In an effort to proactively de-escalate interactions between protestors and law enforcement outside the East Precinct, Chief Best and @SeattlePD officers have removed barricades surrounding the East Precinct while safely securing the facility.
@SeattlePD In addition, @SeattleFire has several vehicles stationed near the Precinct to ensure emerging medical needs and fires are addressed if necessary. Keeping this area safe is critical, as there are approximately 500 residential homes in this block.
@SeattlePD@SeattleFire As the Chief takes this operational step, we will continue to remain focused on what we can and must do to address the systemic inequities that continue to disproportionately impact our Black residents.
This has been an incredibly painful week for our City and our country. One that is shining a light on hundreds of years of racism and systemic injustice that haunts our past and our present. It is a moment that summons all of us - including me - to do more and to do better.
I do not pretend to have all the answers, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn, and grow, and be held accountable.
Moving forward, we will be making changes - both immediately, and in the long term - that reflect conversations I have had with @BLMSeattleKC, @SeaUrbanLeague, protest organizers, @SeaCPC, faith leaders, and other community organizations.
Trust between law enforcement and community is earned. Every single action with a police officer either adds to or takes away community trust. Right now in Seattle, and in cities across America, we don’t have that trust. But in Seattle we’re committed to rebuilding it.
The @SeattleOPA and Office of the Inspector General will be reviewing and auditing SPD’s response to the demonstrations. OPA reviews individual uses of force, OIG reviews the systemic response. They’re independent agencies whose role is to hold law enforcement accountable.
@SeattleOPA In response to community feedback, we’re working to update policies to ensure we are displaying both the officers name and badge number at all times. I believe that we can allow officers to mourn the fallen while also ensuring community can easily identify officers.