Watch the Defund SPD Teach-In: Breaking Down the 4 Point Plan

Pinkish-orange background with black bold lettering saying "Defund SPD Community Teach In" on the left top of the image. Lower right corner has a pen illustration drawing a line.

If you missed our Defund SPD Teach-in, where we break down our 4-point plan for community reinvestment, check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/decrimseattle/videos/675117746376529/

To access the slides from today’s presentation directly, go here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1-28va2Ags3OiQMNvCdPDccZfTZ1gYB46HV1dwT4gtzs/edit

If you’d like to provide input into the process for executing the four-point plan, fill out this survey.

Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now Statement on Durkan/Best July 13th Press Conference

The tide has definitively turned towards divesting from the Seattle Police Department and investing in real community health and safety. Our communities deserve better than failed, violent, militarized, and racist SPD practices. At this morning’s press conference,  Mayor Durkan relied on fear-mongering and outdated talking points to distract from the four-point plan Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now have presented, and that a majority of City Council members are supporting. 

To reiterate, we demand that immediate divestments from SPD’s remaining 2020 budget be reinvested in (1) development of a civilian-controlled 911 system, (2) scaling up community-based responses to crises that restore and build health and safety, (3) funding a community-led research process to develop a roadmap for life beyond policing, and (4) making investments in housing to support immediate survival needs. There is resounding support for these measures. The path forward requires significant investments that should be funded via significant police budget divestments from law enforcement practices we know cause harm and do not make our communities safer.  

For years, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community members and organizations have been working to push community-led alternatives to the life-threatening status quo. Now is not the time to distract from the urgent and clear demands from community. Even as the Mayor and the Chief of Police scramble to derail progress with their divisive rhetoric, we will continue to invest the time and energy in defense of Black lives to implement this four-point plan. We call on elected officials to do more than just listen to our BIPOC community. They must back our vision with action, investments, and support.  

7/3 Free Them All Rally – Political Education Resources

Collectively advancing our political education and showing up to rage and celebrate together in the streets is integral to victory in the fight against police brutality and for Black liberation.

We send deep gratitude to the cultural workers who energize us today and always. Cultural work and art is embedded and instrumental to every social movement in humxn hxstory. There are always attempts by the state to quell or suppress community artistry and cultural work, whether it be music, dance, or hxstorical narratives. 

In Trinidad, state sanctioned oppression literally took instruments away from citizens and as a result, improvisation and creativity of locals brought about Calypso music. Throughout Latinx Amerika the martial art of  Capoeira was disguised as dancing and used by Afrikans who were enslaved to train and keep their Afrikan cultural and spiritual connections. During the Khmer Rogue in Cambodia/Srok Khmer, the first main targets of the violence was directed at cultural workers, artists, musicians, educators and those who knew hxstory. 

This is why art is necessary in movement building. Art and artists tell the stories of hxstory in a way the media will not, in ways that we know is even more powerful. Arm yourselves with knowledge and culture. Hxstory only repeats itself because we aren’t listening. 

Until we share the streets again, read up, rest up, and keep fighting.

Safety + Security: Safety Tips for Protesters: https://www.instagram.com/p/CA0_Bl5JXRl/?igshid=1ew8ya8165gs6
Security Culture Basics: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBHHnkmpEAw/?igshid=1r21cn23srqnv

Grand Juries: FAQs: http://grandjuryresistance.org/files/GJ_FAQ.pdf
“What You Should Know about Grand Juries”” https://www.indybay.org/uploads/2008/10/03/grandjuries-infosheet.pdf
More info on the history of grand juries and stories of grand jury resistance: www.grandjuryresistance.org

Policing and Counter-Insurgency: “Why Misogynists Make Great Informants” https://www.sproutdistro.com/catalog/zines/security/misogynists-make-great-informants

“Slave Patrols and Civil Servants: A History of Policing in Two Modes: https://crimethinc.com/2017/03/15/slave-patrols-and-civil-servants-a-history-of-policing-in-two-modes

Excerpts from Malcom X speech on police brutality + Decrim Seattle statement on the “good protestor/bad protestor” narrative: https://www.instagram.com/p/CB_cJaoJS54/?igshid=5w5m3jwspddk

Abolition: Excerpts from “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police”: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBf0EwRp_Rh/?igshid=imlf7ymoxk36

“If You’re New to Abolition: Study Group Guide”: https://abolitionjournal.org/studyguide/

Cultural Work as Resistance: Art from the Black Panthers and statements by Emory Douglas, Jordan Casteel, and Fahamu Pecou: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/arts/fifty-years-later-black-panthers-art-still-resonates.html

Dear Pete Holmes and Dan Satterberg, #DropAllCharges

Today Decriminalize Seattle along with others sent this open letter to to City Attorney Pete Holmes and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg to demand they drop all charges of those arrested in relation to the George Floyd protests. Read and share! Click here for the PDF version.

Dear Pete Holmes and Dan Satterberg,

We write to demand that both of your offices, the City Attorney’s Office and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, drop all charges and not file any additional charges subsequently against those targeted and arrested by the various police departments, including the Seattle Police Department, during the George Floyd protests starting from May 29th to the present. 

From May 29th to early weeks of June, the Seattle Police Department, with support from Renton, Bellevue, Burien, King County Sheriff’s Office and other departments across the county, engaged in reckless and dangerous retaliation against everyday people to repress protests.  As of early morning, July 2, 2020, the Seattle Police Department has arrested up to 65 protesters and used mace, rubber bullets and other violent means to push people out of CHOP, the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest at the East Precinct.  They denied press access, threatened to arrest reporters, knelt on the necks of protesters, and also continued the cowardly act of covering their badges while enacting such violence. This overt and public display of brutality is characteristic of police conduct since May 29th, aimed at repressing the #BlackLivesMatter uprising. 

We have recently learned that the arrested protesters are being interviewed by the FBI while they are held in police custody. Though they are presented as “informal” interviews, the coercive effect of these interviews cannot be underestimated, especially because they are presented at a time of extreme vulnerability and distress for the arrestees. Sending in the FBI to interview protesters has a chilling effect on free speech, and thus is a violation of the First Amendment rights. Such blatant collaboration between local law enforcement and Trump’s federal law enforcement further signals the depth of both your office’s hypocrisy in supporting protester’s right to free speech.

The rebellion in Seattle is a local manifestation of a nationwide uprising driven by outrage at the unceasing murder, violence, and oppression of Black People (relentlessly perpetrated, generation after generation, by the police). In King County, during the last ten years alone, police have killed, among others: John T. Williams, Charleena Lyles, Che Taylor, Demarius Butts, Oscar Perez Giron, Renee Davis, MiChance Dunlap Gittens, Tommy Lee, Shaun Fuhr and Marcello Castellano. 

Dan Satterberg: Your office has not charged a SINGLE officer for these killings.

Instead, both of your offices insist on driving a wedge between what is being framed as “good” and “peaceful” protesters, and what you claim are “violent” “non-peaceful” protesters.  Both of you have released public statements declaring support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement by dropping charges against what you perceive to be “peaceful” and “non-violent” protests while continuing to persecute other responses to state violence.

Your actions criminalize  the righteous rage of Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities, by declaring some kinds of protests legitimate and legal. You then isolate other acts, predominantly damages on property, as illegal and dangerous. In the meantime, you provide cover for law enforcement, police terror, and state sanctioned violence. 

To add insult to injury, your offices are participating in the continued violence against BIPOC individuals and communities. On January 16, 2020 the Seattle City Attorney’s office filed a lawsuit against King County’s attempts to hold community reviews, otherwise known as inquest proceedings, around the deaths of community members like Damarius Butts, Isaiah Obet, and Charleena Lyles and any other individuals killed by police officers in King County. It wasn’t until June 9, 2020 after weeks of political protests against police violence, that the Seattle City Attorney’s office dismissed its lawsuit. However, by then other law enforcement agencies had joined Seattle’s lawsuit and now the challenge that Seattle started to the inquest process still continues.

Your offices are part of a broader system of racist repression toward BIPOC communities. Apart from your condonement of police murders in the City and County, your offices also play a role in preventing Inquests procedures from proceeding. 

In addition, queer and trans individuals have been known to be severely mistreated in the King County Jail. Trans, genderqueer and non binary individuals are incarcerated in solitary confinement simply for their gender expression and identity. 

The violence of the jail, the police and the criminal legal system that your offices oversee, is immensely more disruptive, dangerous and harmful to human life than the property damage that some protesters may have done in the last month. 

We demand that all charges be dropped against all protestors. Specifically, cases should also be closed to prevent future attempts to file them. Additionally, no new charges should be filed against the protesters. Instead, we ask you to show your real support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement by holding police accountable for violence against residents.

Signed,

Decriminalize Seattle
COVID 19 Mutual Aid
No New Youth Jail
& other community organizations and individual partners

Decriminalize Seattle March from Youth Jail to King County Jail Amplifies Call to Free All Protestors

WHAT: From the Youth Jail to King County Jail: #FreeThemAll March & Rally organized by Decriminalize Seattle / Defund SPD

WHEN: 11:30-3:30 

WHERE: March and Rally to begin at Youth Jail (1211 E Alder St, Seattle, WA 98122) and end outside King County Jail 

WHO: March is organized by the Decriminalize Seattle Coalition, which includes No New Youth Jail, Block the Bunker, WA-BLOC, Seattle Peoples Party, COVID-19 Mutual Aid, Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network, BAYAN, La Resistencia, PARISOL, CID Coalition, Asians for Black Lives, APICAG, Creative Justice, Seattle ACED, and Queer the Land.

—-

The Decriminalize Seattle Coalition, which is leading the campaign to Defund SPD, will lead a march on July 3rd from the controversial $242 million youth jail to the King County Jail to call on King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and City Attorney Pete Holmes to defend Black lives and drop all charges against protestors. The Coalition, whose demands are backed by over 40,000 individuals and more than 250 organizations, is also calling the city and county prosecutors to refuse to file any additional charges against people taking to the streets during the George Floyd uprisings that began on May 29th. 

The forced evacuation of the CHOP by the Seattle Police Department resulted in the arrest of over 65 people, with many more attacked with mace and rubber bullets despite a recent ban on the use of chemical weapons and projectiles by the SPD. The raid on CHOP was an extension of SPD’s brutal tactics against both houseless community members and protestors. This renewed call to drop all charges and free all protestors comes after over 200 arrests in just over a month of street-based protest demanding an end to police terror towards Black communities. 

During the last ten years local law enforcement have been responsible for many deaths, including the killing of John T. Williams, Charleena Lyles, Che Taylor, Demarius Butts, Oscar Perez Giron, Renee Davis, MiChance Dunlap Gittens, Tommy Le, Shaun Fuhr and Marcello Castellano. Decriminalize Seattle organizer Angélica Cházaro stated, “The uprising in Seattle is a local manifestation of nationwide outrage at police violence against Black lives. By prosecuting those who protest police violence, Holmes and Satterberg are defending the status quo, even as calls to disband SPD continue to pick up steam.” Following the march, speakers outside King County Jail will highlight the need to divest from police and jails, and call for investments in community-driven solutions to health and safety.  

For live updates, visit:

NNYJ FB @NoNewYouthJailSeattle

COVID-19 Mutual Aid IG @covid19mutualaid

#FreeThemAll | #DefundSPD | #DropTheCharges | #NoNewYouthJail | #CareNotCages

Participatory Budgeting Process for City of Seattle 2021 Budget

King County Equity Now and Decriminalize Seattle announce today the creation of a participatory budgeting process for the 2021 budget cycle. Participatory budgeting is a democratic process in which community members decide how to spend part of a public budget. The participatory budgeting process coordinated by our two coalitions will inform and help guide Seattle’s spending on the City’s “public safety” agencies, with a focus on the Seattle Police Department, Law Department (City Prosecutors), and Municipal Court, and on the community reinvestments that could generate real safety.  This announcement comes on the heels of Mayor Durkan offering a mere 5% cut in the Seattle Police Department’s budget during a time of severe budget shortfalls. 

The nation-wide uprising of the last few weeks in defense of Black lives has focused unprecedented public attention on the destructive role of policing and bloated police budgets. In Seattle, Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now have been spearheading the call to defund SPD by at least 50%, and calling for reinvestments into real community safety and well-being. Hundreds of community groups and tens of thousands of community members have signed on to these demands. The overwhelming support for defunding SPD makes it clear that people are tired of seeing essential needs like housing, health care, and child care unmet in their communities while hundreds of millions are spent on policing. The community-led participatory budgeting process announced today will help transform community demands into reality. 

The City government has proven unable, despite years of protest, to reduce the police budget meaningfully and an independent community-led process is needed. In order to truly reflect community needs around public safety, the design and implementation of the process to reduce the police budget must be held by community organizations, not under the Mayor’s control. The coalitions organizing the participatory budgeting process seek support and consultation with the City, but plan to maintain the process’s independence so that it can truly focus on community consensus for spending. 

More is spent on policing in Seattle than on the bottom 25 departments in the City budget combined, including city money dedicated to housing; education; city planning and community development; labor standards; economic development; arts and culture; sustainability and the environment; civil rights, immigrant and refugee affairs; concerns/complaints of employee harassment, discrimination, and retaliation; police accountability; and elections. Community-led participatory budgeting will directly challenge this state of affairs.

The defense of Black lives requires meaningful action from City officials. While every resident in Seattle has an investment in the budget, the community members most impacted by the legacy of over-investment in policing and disinvestment in their well-being must be centered in shaping the new vision for the city’s public safety dollars. We invite City officials to endorse and support this community-controlled and community-designed process. 

For updates on the participatory budgeting process, including opportunities for engagement, click here. Many cities around the US and around the world have used participatory budgeting to give residents the power to make decisions in how their cities spend revenues. King County Equity Now and Decriminalize Seattle are being advised by the Participatory Budgeting Project, the leading North American organization on participatory budgeting, whose work you can see at participatorybudgeting.org

King County Equity Now (“KCEN”) is a coalition of accountable, Black-led, community-based organizations fighting to achieve equity across meaningful metrics—e.g., land ownership, wealth, mortality rates, etc. 

Decriminalize Seattle is a grassroots coalition building power in Seattle to invest in pro-community initiatives and divest from policing and the criminal legal system. 

We Keep Us Safe: Decriminalize Seattle Statement on Shooting at CHAZ/CHOP

Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone/Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHAZ/CHOP) emerged from struggle and resistance against the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and its East Precinct in defense of Black lives. No single group fought in the streets against cops–instead, many different people from many different belief systems and organizations who all agreed that anti-Black police violence must end struggled together against the SPD and lifted demands for defunding SPD. Following SPD abandoning the East Precinct, thousands of people have helped hold the blocks around the precinct, providing decentralized support to each other. From food tents, to medics, to healing spaces, to political education, CHAZ/CHOP has provided a space to experiment with self-governance and self-determination, without police presence.

Last night’s shooting at CHAZ/CHOP is a tragedy. Our task now is to support the family and community of the person killed, the people injured in the shooting, and the people who witnessed the shooting. 

We know that in every neighborhood of our city, violence is a constant. We know that police do not stop violence. We know that violence happens even when the police are present. Less than a year ago, a Black woman was killed on the same block as last night’s shooting, with the East Precinct fully staffed with officers only 200 feet away. The presence of police did not stop that death. 

We also know that Seattle police do cause violence, including murdering people like Charleena Lyles, John T. Williams, and many others. Resistance against police violence and calls for a radical shift away from policing is why so many people have engaged with the global and local protests, and with CHAZ/CHOP. Police don’t keep us safe, we keep us safe. Last night’s shooting should redirect us to the task at hand – to defend Black lives by dismantling the Seattle Police Department and investing in real community safety. 

We don’t yet know who was responsible for last night’s violence. It could have been carried out by people who know each other, or it could have been carried out by a stranger. We know that most violence occurs between people who know each other, such as family members, romantic partners, and neighbors, and that policing and criminalization are ineffective at preventing or addressing it. We also know that racism and sexism are the causes of enormous violence, and that police violence is a part of that, not a solution. Whatever the cause of last night’s shooting, real solutions do not look like continuing to fund and support the police. If we want to stop violence, we need to resource people and communities in a way this City has never committed to doing. We need people housed, we need people fed, we need healthcare for all, we need childcare for all, and we need real investments in the programs and communities that are developing to replace police responses to violence. 

Decriminalize Seattle is a grassroots coalition building power in Seattle to invest in pro-community initiatives and divest from policing and the criminal legal system. We coordinate the campaign to defund SPD, reinvest in community, and free all protestors. 

If you need immediate emotional support in the aftermath of last night’s shooting, you can reach out to Healing Justice via text or e-mail: 425.243.7855, healingjustice206@gmail.com.  Healing Justice’s team of practitioners is composed of mental health therapists, counselors, and somatic practitioners with long histories inside of social justice movements and in trauma healing. 

MLK Labor Council voted to expel the Seattle Police Officers Guild from its ranks

On June 17, 2020 the Martin Luther King Labor Council voted at its virtual meeting on June 17 to expel the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) from its ranks.

The more than 150-member coalition of unions voted 153 in favor to 77 against, with a delegate roll-call vote that garnered more than 45,000 delegates in favor of SPOG’s expulsion. 

“I ask the obvious question: if not now, when? Because we have been dealing with this for a long time,” Prawl said. “Racism is perversive in all society as sickness that infect the trade union movement, just as it does the facet of all life. Because union must be spokesperson for all the people who work for a living, and because we must be advanced of our social and economic program, we have no choice but to take the lead in eliminating this cause of racism from our land.”
– Gabriel Prawl, the first Black African American chapter President of the ILWU Local 152, at the meeting on June 17th.

Read more about SPOG’s removal here.