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Seattle’s Elected Officials of Color Urge Mayor and Police Chief to Enact Transformative Changes

10 federal, state, county and local officials of color who represent Seattle urged the Mayor and Police Chief to immediately end law enforcement’s violent response to ongoing demonstrations, completely rethink policing to uphold the safety of all communities and institute serious accountability and transparency measures into police contracts. 

SEATTLE — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and nine city, county and state elected officials of color who represent the Seattle community sent a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best today that urged them to enact meaningful and transformative changes to the very nature of policing throughout the city. 

“We write as elected officials of color who represent various parts of the City of Seattle and are deeply committed to honoring the lives of the many Black brothers, sisters and siblings who have been killed by police violence and are currently experiencing the triple threats of a global pandemic, pervasive anti-Blackness and police violence,” wrote Seattle’s elected officials of color who serve at the local, county and state level. “We believe this is the moment to enact meaningful and transformative change in the very nature of policing at the federal, state and local levels.”

The letter—led by Congresswoman Jayapal and Seattle City Council President Lorena González—is also signed by State Senators Joe Nguyen, Rebecca Saldaña and Bob Hasegawa, State Representative Cindy Ryu, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay and Seattle City Councilmembers Teresa Mosqueda, Tammy Morales and Kshama Sawant. It calls on Mayor Durkan and Chief Best to take three critical and timely actions:

First, immediately end law enforcement’s violent response to ongoing demonstrations by ending the use of the National Guard; stopping the use of all forms of chemical substances for crowd control; ending the use of rubber bullets and flash-bangs; and demilitarizing police on the streets who interact with protestors.

Second, completely rethink policing to create a model for public safety that truly upholds the safety of all communities and redirect law enforcement spending and investing into essential services.

Third, immediately institute serious accountability and transparency measures into police contracts.

The elected officials’ full letter is here.

The letter comes just hours after Representative Jayapal helped to introduce the Justice in Policing Act, federal legislation that would implement long overdue police accountability and reform measures by establishing a federal police misconduct registry, making lynching a federal hate crime, ending qualified immunity, requiring reporting of all incidents of use of force to the Justice Department, banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants for drug cases, restricting the transfer of military equipment to local police and increasing accountability, oversight and transparency. The New York Times has described this new legislation as “the most aggressive intervention into policing by Congress in recent memory.” 

Representative Jayapal will discuss this legislation, today’s letter and other key updates at a 6:00 p.m. PT constituent town hall on Wednesday, June 10. The town hall will be streamed live at Facebook.com/RepJayapal

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