Seattle City Council Overrides Mayor’s Veto, Begins to Defund the Police

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‘Off with her head’

The Seattle City Council overrode Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto Tuesday evening and forced through budget cuts that activists say are a “down payment” on an effort to defund the police in the city by 50%.

In July, a veto-proof majority of council members backed a proposal to defund the police by 50%. Those cuts could not be implemented in one year, however, so the council settled on cutting 100 officers from the department this year as a “down payment.”

Mayor Durkan, who had initially backed the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) or “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” (CHOP) protest in the summer, vetoed the proposal, but her veto was ineffective.

The Seattle Times reported:

The Seattle City Council voted Tuesday to override Mayor Jenny Durkan’s vetoes of council bills meant to start shrinking the police force and scaling up community solutions this year. Council members chose to stick with the 2020 budget bills instead of a substitute proposal that the mayor had said she could accept.

The veto-override votes on the three bills were preceded by more than an hour of public comments, with most speakers urging council members to “hold the line” against the mayor and demonstrate they were listening to the Black Lives Matter movement. Several council members then sharply defended the bills as reasonable first steps toward revamping public safety in Seattle.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant credited “ferocious” pressure by the Black Lives Matter movement in recent days for Tuesday’s result, noting several colleagues kept constituents in suspense until the last minute.

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