Actions have consequences. Stupid actions have stupid consequences. And pro-crime policies always work.
Police defunding was billed as making Seattle safer because no longer would mean cops shoot drug dealers for no reason except that they were shooting at them.
The Seattle City Council’s headlong dash to defund police is irresponsible, destabilizing — and ongoing. A Sept. 13 council vote to further chisel away at the police budget perpetuates a malignant trend that is making Seattle a more dangerous place to live and work.
A year after council budget-cutting and tinkering with department structure led to Chief Carmen Best’s departure, almost 300 officers and detectives have followed her out the door. Seven of the council’s nine members pledged in July 2020 to take away at least half the department’s funding and reimagine public safety around fewer police interventions.
That was last year. How are things now?
Rather than police, Solidarity Budget advocates are calling on councilmembers to invest in programs and services aimed at improving equity by building stronger communities. Defunding SPD, speakers said, is part of the coalition’s broader push to prioritize the environment, housing, education, transportation, childcare and nutrition, Indigenous sovereignty, and criminal justice reform.
Rape victims assaulted by the growing number of unimprisoned criminals roaming the streets thanks to criminal justice reform.. are out of luck.
Seattle police’s sexual assault and child abuse unit staff has been so depleted that it stopped assigning to detectives this year new cases with adult victims, according to an internal memo sent to interim police Chief Adrian Diaz in April.
The unit’s sergeant put her staffing crisis in stark terms.
“The community expects our agency to respond to reports of sexual violence,” Sgt. Pamela St. John wrote, “and at current staffing levels that objective is unattainable.”
In the memo, St. John went on to say that she was not “able to assign adult sexual assault cases” that came into her unit. Cases involving children and adult cases that had a suspect in custody — a fraction of adult sexual assaults reported to police — were being prioritized. The unit just had too few detectives.
Increasingly, victims of sexual assault who report their cases to Seattle police aren’t hearing anything back, said Mary Ellen Stone, CEO of the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center.
On Tuesday, a man reported to police that he had been raped at knifepoint.
His report was added to the list of stalled cases.
Police defunding. This is what it looks like in real life.