SEATTLE — A group gathered Sunday to try and get the attention of Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez and convince her to publicly commit to the idea of defunding the Seattle Police Department (SPD) by 50%.
The group started on Lake City Way and marched to the home of Councilmember Juarez where different people took turns talking about their interactions with officers.
So far, seven of nine city council members have publicly supported defunding SPD by 50%. It is a concept that has been criticized by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best, who said it could have dire consequences.
The protestors that gathered said they are not affiliated with a formal group, but many said they live in District 5, which is Councilmember Juarez's district.
“We have been trying to get her attention, we have sent letters, we have called, we’ve gotten zero response from her,” one of the organizers explained. “We’re not here to make any chaos or anything. We are just regular citizens just trying to get some attention."
One woman, who identified herself as a University of Washington professor, said she’s heard several instances where people of color were followed by the police.
“Do you think somebody looking suspicious deserves a death sentence? If not, do not go there. We need to defund SPD,” he said.
There were no signs of Councilmember Juarez on Sunday, but in a recent tweet, she said: “We have this moment to harness real change, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild our police department. I support reallocating the SPD budget and investing in communities that have lived with the ravages and inhumanity of racism.”
The council will continue their work on the budget this week.