SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s police chief urged the City Council to tell protesters to stop visiting the homes of elected officials and others during emotional debates over reducing funding for police.
Chief Carmen Best wrote a letter to the council after protesters showed up at her home Saturday night. Best said council members need to “forcefully call for the end of these tactics.”
Protesters recently appeared outside the homes of Mayor Jenny Durkan and some people on the City Council as demonstrations continue following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The Seattle Times reports residents blocked a road into Best’s neighborhood during the demonstrations. Her letter said her neighbors “were concerned by such a large group” and didn’t allow protesters to “trespass or engage in other illegal behavior in the area, despite repeated attempts to do so.”
Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney said most of the protesters were dispersing or had already left when deputies arrived.
He said he spoke with Best, who was not at the home at the time, on the phone and “assured her that his office would deploy whatever resources were necessary to protect her, her family and her property.”
Seattle City Council members are eyeing proposals to shrink the police department, starting with budget proposals that could reduce the force by as many as 100 officers through layoffs and attrition this year.
Most of the proposals, including cuts aimed at the SWAT team, encampment-removal team and mounted unit, appear to have enough support to pass.
Yet the package unveiled by some council members won’t immediately accomplish what many protesters have been calling for, and what Best has issued warnings about: Reducing the Police Department’s spending by at least 50% and redirecting that money to other areas.