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Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County calls for investigation into city council

Demonstrators walk during a Black Lives Matter of Seattle-King County silent march on June 12, 2020, in Seattle, Washington. The statewide march and general strike was held to honor and mourn the lives lost to police brutality and institutional racism. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County issued a letter to Seattle’s Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) Monday, calling on it to open an investigation into a series of recent city council actions regarding protests, as well as approved cuts to the police department’s budget.

BLM Seattle-King County calls Chief Best’s retirement a loss

The letter doesn’t specifically lay out any allegations against the council, but does ask the SEEC to look into 10 separate issues, ranging from whether councilmembers “followed appropriate policies in opening City Hall to protesters” during an early-June demonstration, to whether councilmembers “were informed about out-of-state actors coming to Seattle to engage protesters, and if so, how they acted or did not on that information.”

BLM Seattle-King County also called on the SEEC to determine whether the council “excised due diligence on budget proposals that appear discriminatory or unduly influenced” when it approved a series of cuts to SPD’s budget in August.

“This investigation is essential for the community’s understanding of government conduct — and it adds much needed transparency to the critical budget process that’s underway,” BLMSKC board member Livio De La Cruz said in a news release. “The government works for the people. The people must understand what it’s doing and why.”

BLM Seattle-King County clarifies involvement in protests

The hope from the organization is to separate “fact from rumor, and (hold) elected officials accountable when boundaries are crossed.”

Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County has frequently voiced its opposition to how the council has approached SPD’s budget in recent months, calling on it in mid-August to “stop prioritizing performative action that solely suggests the appearance of change.”

It also qualified the retirement of SPD Chief Carmen Best as “a loss” for the city, stating that it did “nothing to further our fight for authentic police accountability and the safety of Black lives, that the first Black woman to hold the position of Chief of Police of the Seattle Police Department has been forced out of her job by the Seattle City Council.”

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