I participated in the WTO protests in 1999 as a protester. It was a peaceful protest with a handful of violent and destructive individuals using us peaceful protesters for cover. The police could and should have arrested them, with ample just cause and opportunity. Instead, the police did nothing and watched these bad actors breaking the law right in front of them, waited for hours, and then essentially became an angry mod themselves, assaulting everyone and violating countless civil rights. I saw police spray pepper spray into the cars of people who were trying to peacefully leave and the police assault people peacefully walking on the sidewalk, doing nothing to anybody. The police did not act when they should have, and when they did act, they overreacted terribly.
Read about my plan for police accountability.
This is my reply to Ramsey's comment:
Ramsey, I agree with you and also feel that we must and can change the school to prison pipeline so that all our children get real opportunities for a good education, which we are not providing now. Yes, our children deserve to learn about their rights and responsibilities as citizens and residents of Seattle and of our nation. This should include what it means to obey the law, how to interact with police, and what your civil rights are and how to protect them. As importantly, we need to change the way our schools are funded to end the institutional inequality where children in neighborhoods with wealthier neighborhoods get a better public education than children in poorer neighborhoods. The average American child now gets a primary public education on par with Uzbekistan and Mongolia, and our children in poor neighborhoods get even worse. Until we reform the way we fund education and provide all our children with similar opportunities in excellence and school choice, we will continue to get vastly different outcomes in high school graduation and college attendance rates. All of our children deserve better than what we are giving them with our Schools, and this is a problem we can solve in Seattle.
Crime is crime no matter who commits it and enabling addiction through theft puts us all in danger and makes our city unlivable. Criminals must be held accountable. We need our police and we need to show them respect for doing a job well done. Defunding our police is irresponsible and will lead to more civil rights abuses by criminals, especially among our poor and minority communities who cannot pay for private security. Blaming the police for our system of economic injustice is unfair and unreasonable. However, our people must have trust in our officers, and making a police union contract that holds police accountable is a critical first step in this process.
Since 2012, the Seattle Police Department has been under federal decree for repeatedly violating our civil rights. We must put in place systems changes, some of which I outline here, so that police can do their job of keeping the peace. We have a right to constitutional community policing that protects and secures all of our civil rights.
Thank you, Ramsey, for the comment.