Seattle police chief Carmen Best says that the city council in Seattle has made it impossible for police to protect property thanks to the new restrictions on crowd control tools. Chief Best sent out as letter to businesses and private property owners that her department would be unable to protect their property since the city council stripped every non lethal method of crowd control that there is.
The city's businesses are rapidly boarding up their businesses before Saturday's riot. So are some private home residences. Police are now banned on owning the following:
“Ownership, purchase, rent, storage, or use of crowd control weapons” including “kinetic impact projectiles, chemical irritants, acoustic weapons, directed energy weapons, water cannons, disorientation devices, ultrasonic cannons, or any other device that is designed to be used on multiple individuals for crowd control and has the potential to cause pain or discomfort.”
— Katie Daviscourt🇺🇸 (@KatieDaviscourt) July 25, 2020
The Chief of Seattle police basically concedes if you or your property is attacked by the mob, you won’t get much assistance. It’s not her fault. pic.twitter.com/GspibGqfYD
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) July 25, 2020
The letter reads in part:
July 23, 2020
Lorena González, President and Lisa Herbold, Public Safety Chair
Seattle City Council, City Hall
600 Fourth Ave, 2nd Floor
Seattle, WA 98104
Re: City Council Ordinance 119805 – Crowd Control Tools
Dear President González, Chairwoman Herbold, and Seattle City Council Members:
SPD has confirmed with the City Attorney’s Office that the City Council ordinance banning the use of less lethal tools – including pepper spray – commonly used to disperse crowds that have turned violent, will go into effect this weekend as written.
I am sending this notification for the purpose of ensuring I have done my due diligence of informing Council of the foreseeable impact of this ordinance on upcoming events.
It is a fact that there are groups and individuals who are intent on destruction in our City. Yes, we also have seen weeks of peaceful demonstrations, but two recent events (Sunday, July 19th and Wednesday, July 22nd) have included wide-scale property destruction and attacks on officers, injuring more than a dozen, some significantly.
This weekend we know that several events are planned across the city that will foreseeably involve many of the same violent actors from recent days. There is no reason not to assume we will continue to experience property destruction, arson, looting, and attempts to injure additional officers throughout the weekend and beyond.
With this Council ordinance, we hear loudly and clearly that the use of these less-lethal tools by SPD officers to disperse crowds that have turned violent have been completely banned by City Council.
For these reasons, SPD will have an adjusted deployment in response to any demonstrations this weekend. The Council legislation gives officers no ability to safely intercede to preserve property in the midst of a large, violent crowd. Allowing this behavior deeply troubles me, but I am duty-bound to follow the Council legislation once it is in effect. If the Council is prepared to suggest a different response or interpretation of the legislation, I stand ready to receive it.
Additionally, while the Ordinance by title suggests a limitation to crowd management purposes, the language of the Ordinance, in its blanket prohibition on the procurement and ownership of such tools, effectively eliminates these tools as available less-lethal options across the board. The bill clearly bans OC spray at any rally, demonstration or other event, despite if it turns violent.