Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best told local businesses Friday that due to new city council regulations, the police force won’t intervene in the event of more riots.
“Please also know that the City Council Ordinance 119805 Crowd Control Tool goes into effect this weekend on Sunday, July 26, 2020. This ordinance bans Seattle Police officers the use of less lethal tools, including pepper spray that is commonly used to disperse crowds that have turned violent,” aletteraddressed to businesses and residents in the city stated.
Best argued that this has resulted in her police officers having “NO ability to safely intercede to preserve property in the midst of a large, violent crowd.”
On Thursday, Best also informed the city council that she believes it has hamstrung the Seattle police and that she will have to avoid crowd control measures in the future in the interests of officer safety.
Best noted that the city remains under attack.
“It is a fact that there are groups and individuals who are intent on destruction in our City. Yes, we also have seen weeks of peaceful demonstrations, but two recent events (Sunday, July 19th and Wednesday, July 22nd) have included wide-scale property destruction and attacks on officers, injuring more than a dozen, some significantly,” according to thecorrespondence.
With more demonstrations anticipated, the police chief anticipates that the city will “continue to experience property destruction, arson, looting, and attempts to injure additional officers throughout the weekend and beyond.”
Best insisted that deploying the police “under these circumstances, as created by Council, we cannot manage demonstrations as we have in the past. If I am not allowed to lawfully equip officers with the tools they have been trained to use to protect the community and themselves, it would be reckless to have them confront this level of violence under the current legal restrictions imposed by Council.”
Seattle is already in the process of defunding its police force by cutting itsbudget by 50%. The city is also reportedly planning toshut downits county jail, which currently incarcerates 60% of the prison population.