seattle mayor jenny durkan
© Karen Ducey/Getty Images
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan
The Seattle City Council voted to override Mayor Jenny Durkan's vetoes on bills that seek to reduce the city's police funding and staff.

During a special meeting on Tuesday, council members overcame three vetoes from the mayor to push forward legislation that would eliminate up to 100 officers positioned across various departments, cap the salary of command staff and the chief of police, and terminate the Navigation Team, which is dedicated to helping homeless people find shelter, according to numerous outlets. It's unclear exactly how many officers will lose their jobs, but the measures will reduce the $400 million police budget for 2020 by less than $4 million.

"Divestment from a broken policing model is not only the right thing to do ... I believe it is the needed course of action," Council President M. Lorena Gonzalez said. "We cannot look away from this, and we can no longer accept the status quo if we truly believe that black lives matter."

seattle city council members 2020
© Seattle.gov
2020 Seattle City Council (L-R): Alex Pedersen, Debora Juarez, Kshama Sawant, Andrew Lewis, M. Lorena González, Lisa Herbold, Dan Strauss, Teresa Mosqueda, Tammy Morales

Seattle has been the setting for constant protests, including clashes with law enforcement, since late May when George Floyd, a black man, died in Minneapolis police custody after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes. Demonstrators have called attention to police use of force and racial inequality. There have also been calls for defunding the police.

The council voted 7-1 in favor of reducing funding to the Seattle Police Department by 14% for the remainder of 2020 on Aug. 10. The mayor announced she would veto their bill about two weeks later, saying she has "concerns about council decisions to make cuts before they have a plan."

Durkan's office issued a statement after the city council bypassed her vetoes.

"At the end of the day, after previous promises of a 50 percent cut to SPD, the reductions to the SPD budget are almost exactly those proposed by the Mayor and former Chief Best, but none of the other issues Council admitted are problems have been addressed. For weeks, the Mayor has worked with Council and offered solutions in an attempt to find common ground. The Mayor thought they had built that consensus on many issues in the compromise legislation introduced yesterday. While council members have publicly stated they wanted to work with Mayor Durkan to address issues in the 2020 budget, they chose a different path," the statement said.

The statement also said the mayor is "committed to making changes in policing and investing in the community," and she will "continue to engage Seattle in reimagining policing."

Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now, a recently formed coalition, said they were "encouraged" by the city council's actions.
Mike Brest is a breaking news reporter for the Washington Examiner.