From CNN’s Andy Rose – KIRO
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city will not be accepting federal troops to move out protesters who are occupying the area in front of a downtown police station.
“The threat to invade Seattle – to divide and incite violence in our city – is not only unwelcome, it would be illegal,” Durkan said at a news conference Thursday.
President Trump tweeted earlier Thursday to Durkan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will.”
Durkan said the overwhelming majority of protests have been peaceful.
“One of the things this President will never understand is that listening to the community is not a weakness,” Durkan said. “It’s a strength.”
The Seattle Police Department East Precinct building was emptied after crowd control barriers in front of the building were removed. Police Chief Carmen Best said their efforts to ease tensions have not been reciprocated.
“Instead of marching, the protesters, after complaining about police barricades, established their own barricades,” Best said.
Durkan said he believed the Capitol Hill protests are not more dangerous than demonstrations that regularly occur in the community.
“I’ve got news for people: It’s been ‘autonomous’ my whole lifetime,” said Durkan. “It is not an armed Antifa militia no-go zone.”
Los Angeles, California, Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed rethinking the way governments spend money on law enforcement saying, “you can support public safety and reimagine it at the same time.”
He said that while police officers need to be there to help people who are victims of violent crimes, or caught in sex trafficking or domestic violence situations, they should not be asked to deal with other problems like homelessness or mental health.
Garcetti said he supports budgeting more money for other resources.
He told CNN on Thursday that police should not have to “solve what needs investments in education, health care, and social workers rather than just always putting that on the backs of our police officers.”
“Maybe there’s a smarter way that’s better for our police officers and the public to look at our future,” he added.
Some background: After facing backlash over how Los Angeles Police Department officials treated protesters during the first week of demonstrations following George Floyd’s death, city officials on Monday said they will not prosecute those arrested for curfew violations and failure to disperse.
The L.A. City Attorney’s Office said it will develop new programs focused on the relationship between the community and law enforcement and plans to implement them later this summer.