The city of Seattle will no longer be protecting businesses or residents targeted by violence in relation to ongoing riots and demonstrations, the Chief of Seattle Police declared today.
In a public letter released by Chief of Police Carmen Best, the city’s leading police official told business owners and residents that due to a newly passed city ordinance, police will be unable to perform any form of crowd control.
Citing “City Council Ordinance 119805 Crowd Control Tool,” which goes into effect this weekend ahead of planned protests by Antifa and Black Lives Matter-affiliated groups, the police chief said that the ordinance bans Seattle Police from using less lethal tools, including pepper spray that is commonly used to disperse crowds that have “turned violent.”
Specifically, the ordinance bans the use and possession of all less lethal implements, including “40mm launchers, blast balls, CS gas, and oleoresin capsicum spray,” and is set to take effect on at 3AM on Saturday.
“Simply put, the legislation gives officers NO ability to safely intercede to preserve property in the midst of a large, violent crowd,” said Chief Best.
“It is important to bring to your attention that yesterday, I sent the City Council a letter ensuring them that as the Chief of Police, I have done my due diligence of informing them numerous times of the foreseeable impact of this ordinance on upcoming events,” she continued.
“For these reasons, Seattle Police will have an adjusted deployment in response to any demonstrations this weekend – as I will never ask our officers to risk their personal safety to protect property without the tools to do so in a safe way.”
The letter, which was shared by journalist Jason Rantz, met with a host of responses comparing the Seattle situation to The Purge.
Without the ability to properly disarm violent mobs, the city police are no longer able to perform their duties in the face of mass violence.
In the face of imminent lawless action in Seattle, the Department of Justice has filed a temporary restraining order on the directive on the grounds that it “conflicts with both the procedural and substantive requirements of the Consent Decree.”
“The Consent Decree requires review by the United States and Monitor and approval of this Court before changes to policies covered by the Consent Decree may be implemented, including by directive,” reads the motion.
In layman’s terms, the Consent Decree requires that police increase public safety, and act in a reasonable manner given the circumstances, including using de-escalation techniques—such as the use of pepper spray. Without the ability to use moderate force, the situation could potentially escalate to deadly violence, requiring a lethal response from the police.