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Seattle Protests for Civil Rights
caption: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan stands between organizers Rashyla Levitt and David Lewis, right, on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, outside of the Emergency Operations Center in Seattle. Mayor Durkan promised a crowd of thousands that she would meet with organizers the following day.
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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan stands between organizers Rashyla Levitt and David Lewis, right, on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, outside of the Emergency Operations Center in Seattle. Mayor Durkan promised a crowd of thousands that she would meet with organizers the following day.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Rein in police, city council members tell Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan

Seattle City Council members Lisa Herbold, Lorena Gonzalez, Teresa Mosqueda and Tammy Morales have joined other elected officials in calling on Mayor Jenny Durkan to order Seattle police to de-escalate their response to the protests.

"End the damage that Seattle Police has caused by overreaction to mostly peaceful protests," the letter says.

The letter, also signed by members of the King County Council and state lawmakers, pledges to advance and support policies that:

1) De-militarize the police

2) Further restrict use of excessive or deadly force by police

3) Increase accountability and transparency in police union contracts

4) Give subpoena and other investigative powers to independent oversight boards and

5) Redirect police department funding to community-based alternatives."

Mayor Jenny Durkan responded in a series of tweets on Sunday evening:

“I do not pretend to have all the answers, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn, and grow, and be held accountable,” Durkan wrote.

She said big changes were on the horizon, reflecting conversations with people from Black Lives Matter Seattle & King County and faith leaders, among others.

“We’ve asked our civilian independent police accountability partners as well as the (Department of Justice) and federal monitor to examine all of the current Seattle Police policies for crowd management,” Durkan wrote. “This includes evaluating crowd dispersal tactics, chemicals, and de-escalation techniques.”

Repeating policy changes announced last week, Durkan said she would issue an emergency order requiring police officers to turn on their body cameras during public protests. Officers had turned them off because of a city rule that demands they keep them off during protests. Last week, the mayor and Chief Carmen Best said they would turn the cameras back on.

Officers would also have to make their badge numbers visible. Their badges had been obscured by a black band, which police said was a mourning band. That was also announced last week.