Seattle Renters’ Commission issues statement in response to recent actions of Seattle Police Department

Members of the Seattle Renters' Commission

Members of the Seattle Renters’ Commission have issued a statement regarding the recent actions of the Seattle Police Department. The commission is urging the City of Seattle to pursue structural changes to policing and reallocate funding to community and health programs.

Excerpt from letter:

“Police aggression is targeted at Black people and other communities of color and police presence is outsized in poorer neighborhoods. As such, police violence and aggression will always be directed more at renters than homeowners.

In addition, the police response to these protests highlight how government is designed to help property and property owners over the needs of others. Mayor Durkan lamented the “property damage” that occurs at some protests but not the protesters who are hurt by police brutality. The City deploys over $360 million every year to fund the police, yet only $79 million to address homelessness, or $24 million for rental housing inspections, or $69 million for affordable housing. Because renters own less than 3% the amount of property that homeowners do, policies that benefit property owners almost exclusively benefit homeowners. These policies represent huge amounts of public spending that go largely unchallenged in our society.

We call for shrinking the scope of police responsibility and reallocating significant funds to community and health programs who are better equipped to do this work. We must continue the Police Consent Decree and call for an immediate and continuing civilian investigation into any and all reports of police violence in response to these important protests. Until violence is ended in our city and the public has a seat at the table, we demand that the Mayor and City Council halt all negotiations with the Seattle Police Union. Our police force is supposed to protect our residents, not silence and harm our people.”

Read the full statement from the Seattle Renter’s Commission on our website under “Statements from the Commission.”

The Seattle Renters’ Commission (SRC) provides information, advice, and counsel to the Mayor, Seattle City Council, and departments concerning issues and policies affecting renters. Learn more at seattle.gov/neighborhoods/seattle-renters-commission. The SRC is staffed by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.