Local Black Lives Matter group calls for investigation of Seattle City Council actions

Local Black Lives Matter group calls for investigation of Seattle City Council actions
Logo from the Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County Facebook Page.

SEATTLE — Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County is demanding an investigation be opened into 10 possible incidents involving Seattle City Council members since June.

BLMSKC asked the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission in a letter “to look into issues involving potential pressure exerted on city employees and members of the public at the time of recent protests, whether the City Council was informed about safety issues around those protests, and how Council was influenced in recent budget and policing proposals.”

The group said it made the request because people don’t understand what the City Council is doing, don’t agree with what it’s doing, think it’s harmful to Black organizing, and don’t have confidence that City Council is “following the rules."

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The City Council was informed about the request.

“These are incidents that, if true, are alarming and require accountability,” said Ebony Miranda, Chair of Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County. “SEEC’s role is separating fact from rumor and holding elected officials accountable when boundaries are crossed.”

The letter makes no allegations but asks for investigation into issues including:

  • Whether and how councilmembers questioned Black and other people of color city employees about recent protests and Seattle Police Department response;
  • Whether councilmembers called residents they believed to be organizers of Black Lives Matter, how they identified them, and whether they were transparent in conversations;
  • Whether councilmembers followed appropriate policies in opening City Hall to protesters;
  • Whether councilmembers were informed about out-of-state actors coming to Seattle to engage protesters, and if so, how they acted or did not on that information;
  • Whether councilmembers were aware of hazards to public safety at SPD’s East Precinct, and if so, how they acted or did not act on that information;
  • Whether City Council excised due diligence on budget proposals that appear discriminatory or unduly influenced;
  • Whether City Council examined impacts on the mission of moving the Office of Police Accountability outside SPD, and properly informed the public of their intent and potential influences in proposing the move.

“Seattle has an opportunity to lead by creating policies and committing resources to undoing decades of institutional racism,” said BLMSKC board member Livio De La Cruz. “This investigation is essential for the community’s understanding of government conduct—and it adds much needed transparency to the critical budget process that’s underway. The government works for the people. The people must understand what it’s doing and why.”