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Jenny Durkan
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Rantz: Mayor Durkan betrays Seattle cops with I-940 support

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. (AP)

While Seattle cops complain of a lack of support from the Seattle City Council, often being demonized as murderers, Mayor Jenny Durkan just joined the dogpile by endorsing the virulently anti-cop I-940. This is an abject betrayal of the cops she sometimes says she supports.

Proponents of I-940 pretend it’s about training. It is not. I-940 would make it easier to prosecute cops by incentivizing anti-cop activists to pressure prosecutors into politically motivated charges.

Given the timing of this — a Friday before the midterm election — one could argue the move was meant to placate a federal judge about to review the tentative contract between the city and SPD officers. It didn’t, after all, get massive press coverage. The news was pushed aside by a stabbing at the Seattle Center which should have regular patrols, but doesn’t due to low staffing. But comments Durkan made at the signing make this move egregious, even if it was a political ploy.

“I view this as a really important mechanism to make sure that the gains we have in Seattle can be shared statewide as quickly as possible,” said Durkan according to KING 5. “I haven’t the chance to sit down with the membership and leadership of SPOG on this issue, but I know they are committed to reforms.”

This is particularly shameless of Durkan to say, since she knows full well that the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) membership is against I-940. But she has little contact with actual cops. She doesn’t understand the reality for cops, working in dangerous situations due to dangerously low staffing, so perhaps she thinks they won’t be upset with her betrayal.

Durkan, who is more interested in keeping up her Progressive bona fides so she can stave off any Progressive mayoral challengers, signed this endorsement resolution in front of the family of Charleena Lyles. The officers were cleared of any wrongdoing for the shooting, since it’s appropriate for a cop to stop someone from stabbing them to death.

Is Durkan a friend to the officers she leads? She repeatedly keeps her work on the SPD contract private, doing just one “major’ media push on a Friday morning to put pressure on the council. Beyond that, she’s been mostly publicly silent which has the effect of telling cops she doesn’t want to fight for them. She could be doing more of this in public, which doesn’t just tell the cops she cares, but helps create public pressure to pass the contract.

I believe she wants the contract to pass. But why does she do much of the work behind the scenes? I think it’s because she wants the contract to pass so she can show a major accomplishment that her predecessor couldn’t get done. What have her major accomplishments been that have led to a better Seattle?

While Durkan spends time obsessing over Trump policies that have minimal to no impact on Seattle, traveling to the border more than she travels to some Seattle neighborhoods, issues of homelessness, drug addiction, and petty crime have gotten worse. Instead of tackling the RV problem, one of her departments is threatening businesses putting up “no parking” signs. They’re even trying to force businesses to pay for trash clean up of the homeless people nearby.

This isn’t about her support for cops. It’s about a political win.

When I broke the story that a huge number of cops are quitting the SPD, Durkan, to save face, used old data to claim my story was wrong, when it wasn’t. Indeed, even the Executive Director of Human Resources for the SPD acknowledges the “historically large number” of cops that are expected to leave. This isn’t how pro-cop mayors act; it’s how politicians who want to stay in power behave.

Related: Cop stuck with dirty needle at Seattle park, fears disease diagnosis

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday mornings from 6-9 a.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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