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Rantz: As crimes surge, Seattle politicians to cut felony arrests, defund sheriff’s department

King County Executive Dow Constantine. (King County screengrab)

As King County and Seattle crime surges, Executive Dow Constantine hopes to end felony incarceration while embracing a move to defund police. As this happens, Constantine seeks a budget cut to the sheriff’s department that will cut up to 30 deputies (though presumably not the deputies in the executive’s detail, which he abuses).

The reason? Constantine and other leaders are taking advantage of the civil unrest and Black Lives Matter movement to forward a purely partisan social justice agenda.

The result? Undoubtedly more crime. Indeed, we’re currently seeing more crime because of COVID-related releases. And Seattle, already dealing with a staffing crisis, will be particularly vulnerable to criminals on city streets.

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No more jail time for felonies while they defund police

Under a plan presented by Constantine, King County would jail fewer felons. Instead, they’d be referred to nebulously-defined “community-based services” that, history has shown, have dangerous consequences.

Constantine notes this is for nonviolent offenders. Don’t fall for this nonsense. Violent offenders seldom see serious jail time. It’s why so many violent offenders keep recommitting crimes in Seattle.

This move comes as Constantine pushes the talking point that the criminal justice system is racist.

“We have a system that is wildly racially disproportionate, and it’s disproportionate despite what Fox News will tell you, because Black and brown people are treated differently throughout our society, including by every element of the criminal and legal system,” Constantine explained.

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Constantine doesn’t name the racist police, judges, or jurors, of course. The wealthy, white, privileged politicians who make this argument never do. They just blame institutions dealing with systemic racism — institutions that have been run by Democrats, though they won’t take any blame.

Instead, politicians like Constantine play the literal white knight who comes in to help. Meanwhile, most of us know in the supposedly racist system, it’s almost impossible to even see tough jail time or even charges.

Satterberg loves the idea, Dunn sounds the alarms

Unsurprisingly, the King County Prosecutor is on board with the plan.

Dan Satterberg has an aversion to doing his job, refusing to prosecute dangerous criminals while routinely downgrading charges ensuring there are no serious punishments when a crime is committed.

“We know that felonies carry with them collateral consequences that affect a person’s ability to get a job, or get education, or to get housing — all of those things really lead to de-stabilize that individual and their neighborhood and their family,” King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg explained.

Consequently, more criminals end up staying out of jail and recommitting crimes. We’ve seen the deadly consequences play out with prolific offender Travis Berge. After being protected from meaningful jail time, he is suspected of murdering his girlfriend.

“You commit a felony, you don’t have to go to trial. Hell, you don’t even have to plead guilty. You can go right through diversion,” King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn warned the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “It is very clear it will lead to a spike in crime. We’re already seeing an increase in shootings and homicides in King County.”

This is part of a bigger defund police movement

Constantine’s plan won’t work. But this isn’t about results. It’s about the appearance of being a social justice crusader.

This is happening because Constantine wants to please his fringe base of activists. That, he believes, ensures he has a future in politics. But it’s important to understand how intentional his actions are to placate the #DefundPolice movement.

Constantine wants to cut deputies and/or sheriff’s resources before showing his plan to release felony suspects to diversion programs would actually work. What sense does that make? Wouldn’t you show proof of concept first? Constantine is doing this backwards. This is done solely to appease activists.

King County Council could control, defund sheriff via charter amendments

In the county council, the anti-law enforcement council members forwarded a plan to take away our right to vote for the sheriff. Instead, they want to be able to appoint a sheriff, hoping to dupe voters into passing charter amendments five and six. That would allow them to install a fringe leader who will do their bidding while redefining how deputies police. And if the installed sheriff doesn’t defund and de-police the way the council wants? They’ll just replace that sheriff.

The King County Council is overwhelmed by irredeemably anti-law enforcement activists. With council members like Dave Upthegrove, Girmay Zahilay, and Joe McDermott, Constantine’s plan and budget will almost certainly pass.

But, King County voters can limit the damage they can do by rejecting amendments five and six. And the future of safety in King County and Seattle may depend on it.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter and Instagram or like me on Facebook

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