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April 13, 2023
As Black Lives Matter protests came to a head during the summer of 2020, the administration for former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, a Democrat, had apparently drafted legislation to give power in the Police Department’s East Precinct building to a BLM activist organization.
Documents that have just been released showed that in June of 2020, three memos were sent as well as a draft resolution to Durkan about ditching the precinct.
Rather than going through with the transfer, the police department reoccupied the building on the first of July that same year.
Chelsea Kellogg, who serves as a spokesperson for Durkan, said in an email that the idea for the transfer was introduced following “the very preliminary work by [the Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS)] and the realities of policing confirmed it was neither feasible nor in the best interest of public safety.”
Kellogg noted that the Black Lives Matter organization of Seattle-King County (BLMSKC) did support the police returning to their East Precinct building. The police in the area, however, did not know anything of the possibility at the time the idea was being raised.
“We were not aware of any plans on the city’s part to permanently leave the precinct, or any plans to share the space with the community,” said Sgt. Randy Huserik, who is a spokesperson for the department.
Kellogg did imply, though, that Durkan did not request the resolution draft. “Interesting that you assume and state that the Mayor asked for a draft resolution on this property when that is not how the process works,” she said. “FAS oversees both city owned property and many real estate deals.”
However, FAS spokeswoman Melissa Mixon said that the mayor’s administration was the one to oversee the work. “The Durkan administration directed FAS – in its capacity as the city’s real estate and facility management agency – to outline the process to transfer the East Precinct to BLMSKC,” she said.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SEATTLE TIMES