Put civilians in charge of police oversight, Seattle Mayor Murray says | KUOW News and Information

Put civilians in charge of police oversight, Seattle Mayor Murray says

Sep 27, 2016

As expected Monday, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray unveiled his budget plans for 2017-2018. The mayor's proposal focuses on two areas that have shaped his term in office: policing and services for homeless people.

But it wasn't well received by some members of the public.

Mayor Murray laid out a number of major changes for the city in his $5.6 billion per year budget. One reform: Put civilians in charge of police oversight. Civilian oversight of Seattle police is one of the reforms a federal judge has called for.

Murray: "We cannot let the gulf of mistrust between communities of color and the police continue to divide us and continue to cause more anger and pain and fear. Which is why we must get police reform right in Seattle."

Murray's budget also earmarks $12 million his new homelessness plan, called Pathways Home. He wants to get every homeless person housed. To do it, the city would only give money to homeless programs with success in getting people into housing.

Murray left one thing out of his presentation: what the city will do with the $150 million formerly proposed for a police station. A number of citizens testified at the meeting, chastising Murray for not putting that money toward housing. One of them was Sasha Summer.

Summer: "In case you forgot, you declared a state of emergency in homelessness ... If you want to claim that this is a progressive budget, if you want to say 'black lives matter', you need to put your money where your mouth is."

Councilmember Kshama Sawant says she will propose that the $150 million go to new housing units.

The city council will deliberate over the budget proposal for the next two months.