’Support SPD’ demonstration organizers undeterred, despite threats

VIDEO: Families of Seattle officers plan to protest to save the department

Supporters of Seattle police who have planned a demonstration and protest outside Seattle City Hall, Wednesday July 15, say some organizers of the event have received threats online.

The event--which will protest a plan to defund the SPD budget by 50%--was organized by spouses and partners of Seattle police officers. The demonstration will be held before two budget committee meetings at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Two of the organizers, Emily and Michelle, who asked us not to use their last names, say their husbands have been continuous targets of attacks, even when they're performing CPR on people dying of an overdose.

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"He's had fireworks, pee, even rocks thrown at him, he is regularly attacked when he's performing lifesaving procedures, Emily said, adding that typically, families of police officers tend to keep a low profile.

But last week, when a veto-proof majority of the Council overwhelmingly voted to defund SPD by 50%, Emily and Michelle decided to do something families officers are usually encouraged not to do. They joined the partners and spouses of other officers to plan an open demonstration in support of officers, and to protest cutting the SPD budget by half. The officers’ families say the budget cut could profoundly affect public safety in Seattle.

Emily says their plan made them targets, too.

"Our address has been leaked," she said. "We received threats of violence on my social media.''

Organizers said they're not doing this to protect their husbands' jobs, but out of fear that public safety in Seattle could unravel if SPD were forced to cut nearly half of its workforce, which Chief Carmen Best said would happen in a 50% budget cut.

“Would you want your loved ones to be a victim and not have the help that they need right away when they’re in danger?” Michelle asked. She noted that a police officer saved her life years ago, when a man attacked and nearly strangled her.

“Within two minutes a neighbor called the cops and they showed up so fast,” she said. “I don’t know what would have happened to me if the police wouldn’t have showed up. I remember I hugged that police officer and I didn’t want to let go, because I felt safe.”

Both said threats would not stop them from sharing their message with the City Council.

“If they cut the budget in half, the most vulnerable people in the city would be at risk not having emergency services like police,” Emily said. “My community members, my neighbors and my friends will be in danger. They could be hurt, and it’s now my job to step in and say something.”