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Seattle officials considered transfer of police building to Black Lives Matter group at height of protests: report

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Former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s (D) administration had drafted legislation to transfer power in the Police Department’s East Precinct building to a Black Lives Matter activist organization.

Newly released documents obtained by The Seattle Times showed that on June 8, 2020, Calvin Goings, the director of Seattle’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS), sent three memos and a draft resolution via email to Durkan about abandoning the precinct. 

Instead of following through with the transfer, police reoccupied the building on July 1, 2020. 

Chelsea Kellogg, a spokesperson for Durkan, said in an email to the Times that the idea of the transfer was dropped after “the very preliminary work by FAS and the realities of policing confirmed it was neither feasible nor in the best interest of public safety.”

She added that Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (BLMSKC) ultimately supported police returning to the East Precinct building. 

The police, however, were unaware of the possibility at the time.

“We were not aware of any plans on the city’s part to permanently leave the precinct, or any plans to share the space with the community,” Sgt. Randy Huserik, a spokesperson for the department, said in an email to the Times. 

Since information about the potential transfer was made public in former Deputy Mayor Casey Sixkiller’s recent deposition and in a book by former Police Chief Carmen Best, Durkan’s representatives downplayed that the transfer was seriously pursued and attributed the idea to a city council member and letters from activists, the Times reported. 

Meanwhile, Kellogg also suggested Durkan did not request the draft resolution.

“Interesting that you assume and state that the Mayor asked for a draft resolution on this property when that is not how the process works,” Kellogg said to the newspaper. “FAS oversees both city owned property and many real estate deals.”

But FAS spokeswoman Melissa Mixon told the Times that the mayor’s administration oversaw the work.

“The Durkan administration directed FAS — in its capacity as the city’s real estate and facility management agency — to outline the process to transfer the East Precinct to BLMSKC,” Mixon said.

The Hill has reached out to BLMSKC, Kellogg and to the Seattle Police Department for comment.

Tags BlackLivesMatter Jenny Durkan racial justice protests Seattle Seattle Police Department

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