Seattle residents slam proposals to defund the police as ‘a radical experiment’

Former Seattle city council candidate Ari Hoffman weighs in.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best is urging elected leaders to "stand up for what is right" after a group of protesters appeared outside her home over the weekend as pressures continue to mount over the enactment of police reform measures.

In a Monday letter to the nine-member City Council, Best said her home in Snohomish County was targeted Sunday night by "aggressive" protesters, prompting concerns from her neighbors. The crowd wasn't able to trespass or engage in illegal behavior, Best said, despite their attempts to do so.

"These direct actions against elected officials, and especially civil servants like myself, are out of line with and go against every democratic principle that guides our nation," she wrote. "Before this devolves into the new way of doing business by mob rule here in Seattle, and across the nation, elected officials like you must forcefully call for the end of these tactics."

Protesters have held rallies outside the homes of several city leaders — including Mayor Jenny Durkan –  in recent weeks in an effort to spearhead the slashing of the Seattle Police Department budget by half. In addition to the gatherings, some council members have seen offensive messages written outside their residences.

The council is in discussions to cut the police budget, with several proposals being considered. One measure would result in the laying off of as many as 100 police officers.

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Best has been vocal of her opposition to defunding her department by 50%, saying the unproven idea would be a "tragic decision" that would be asking citizens to "to test out a theory that crime goes away if police go away.”

One resolution being considered by the council is forbidding police from responding to non-criminal calls and the creation of a Community Safety and Violence Prevention department. The budget cut considerations come after weeks of chaotic protests in the city that saw several blocks taken over and coined “CHOP," the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone.

The area saw at least two fatal shootings before the city regained control of the area last month.

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