Seattle mayor calls for more police after six shootings in one weekend


The Democratic mayor of Seattle is calling for the police force to replenish its shrinking numbers in the wake of six separate shootings that rocked the city over the weekend and into Monday. 

The shootings, five of which took place within blocks of each other, left four people dead and seven injured. 

The shootings took place in the Belltown, Pioneer Square, Chinatown International District and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. Another shooting took place in Lake City. 

‘As a city, we cannot continue on this current trajectory of losing police officers,’ Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a press conference. ‘Over the past 17 months, the Seattle Police Department has lost 250 police officers which is the equivalent of over 300,000 service hours. We’re on path to losing 300 police officers.’

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said she plans to submit a new hiring to plan to help bolster the number of officers in the Seattle Police Department. Durkan, above, urged the city not to slash the department’s budget after Police Chief Carmen Best resigned in 2020

Five of the six shootings took place within blocks of each other

Five of the six shootings took place within blocks of each other

Shell casings and evidence markers in one of six shootings that took place in Seattle over the weekend and early Monday

Shell casings and evidence markers in one of six shootings that took place in Seattle over the weekend and early Monday

Police officers respond to a shooting Sunday morning in the Pioneer Square neighborhood

Police officers respond to a shooting Sunday morning in the Pioneer Square neighborhood

Residents navigate crime scene tape of a shooing in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood

Residents navigate crime scene tape of a shooing in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood

The Seattle Police Department saw more than 20% of its officers quit due to what they called an ‘anti-police climate’ in the city amid the Black Lives Matter protests and calls to defund the police.  

Durkan said she plans to submit a new plan to hire more officers to restore its numbers. 

She added that the shootings were part of a national epidemic that saw more than 900 shootings in cities across the country last week, the Seattle Times reports. 

In a Fox News article and according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office, the total number of shootings countywide this year is 33% higher compared to the same time period between 2017 and 2020. The total number of people shot this year in Seattle also increased 61% compared to the same time period in previous years.  

Durkan clashed with the Seattle City Council last year over police funding, but the council ultimately voted to defund the police budget by roughly 17 percent this year, Fox reports. 

Earlier this year, the city council also proposed possibly reducing the budget further by another $5.4 million, Kings 5, an NBC affiliate station reported. Such cuts have not been made yet. 

Durkan ultimately vetoed a resolution attempting to strip funding from law enforcement, according to Fox.

‘Not unexpected, losing these number of officers, when city leaders talk about cutting the department by 50%,’ Durkan said. ‘You will lose employees. Families need security. Workers, even police officers, need working conditions that support them. We cannot just cut. We need a plan.’

Tensions also grew between city officials and police last summer over the handling of the ‘autonomous zone’ protestors set up to operate outside the city’s laws.

Armed protesters erected barriers and set up encampments around the zone, which was plagued by weeks of violence, looting, and vandalism. 

More than 250 Seattle Police Department officers have left their jobs since last year, amid months of mass protests in the city over racial injustice. Pictured: A Black Lives Matter protest in July 2020 in Seattle

More than 250 Seattle Police Department officers have left their jobs since last year, amid months of mass protests in the city over racial injustice. Pictured: A Black Lives Matter protest in July 2020 in Seattle

Other cities that have experienced mass demonstrations against police brutality in the last year have also seen officers leaving in large numbers. Pictured: Police clash with demonstrators during a Black Lives Matter protest in July 2020 in Seattle

Other cities that have experienced mass demonstrations against police brutality in the last year have also seen officers leaving in large numbers. Pictured: Police clash with demonstrators during a Black Lives Matter protest in July 2020 in Seattle

Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz has said that department is facing a staffing crisis

Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz has said that department is facing a staffing crisis

When Durkan declined to remove the zone, police officers began quitting the force, with several of them citing a ‘lack of support’ from local government.  

Exit interviews reveal that some departing officers retired early while others left for policing jobs in different cities or private sector roles. 

Former Police Chief Carmen Best also quit, citing a ‘lack of respect.’ 

Durkan eventually issued an executive order last July for officers to remove the zone after the mayor and local leaders failed to talk protestors into clearing the zone themselves. 

Current chief Adrian Diaz also urged the city to hire new officers as the lack of manpower has made things harder for the department. 

“I need more officers,” Diaz said, adding that he can hire more officers but also needs support from the city “making it clear to officers, current and prospective…that they will have our support, financially and otherwise, to do this job well and know they will not be laid off due to budget cuts.” 

Seattle is the 18th most populous city in the nation with more than 776,000 residents living in it, according to US Census Bureau data. 

Most Americans in major cities are more worried about crime than defunding the police. A new poll shows about 90 percent of Detroit residents actually want more cops.

The poll from USA TODAY and the Detroit Free Press conducted with Suffolk University found that Detroit residents overwhelmingly agree that they would feel safer with more cops on the street.

Detroit was not alone, as a poll from WNBC, Telemundo 47 and Politico conducted with Marist last month shows that 70 percent of black Democrats want more cops patrolling New York City.

In that poll, 21 percent of likely Democratic voters even want the return of the plainclothes anti-crime police in some neighborhoods.

And in Chicago, another poll last month from the MacArthur Foundation found that 79 percent of residents said they feel safer when they see police in their neighborhoods.



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