Has Seattle Police Sent Letters to Residents Informing Them 'You Are On Your Own'?
A letter dated 24th July which was attributed to the Seattle Police is being passed around on social media, and it has gained a lot of attention. When posting this letter, a lot of social media users have attributed words like, the Seattle Police told residents ‘you are on your own’ or other things like ‘we can’t help you’, ‘our hands are tied’.
Some of these claims can be seen on different Twitter posts here, here and another one here. Going by these claims, it is important to put things in perspective in order to affirm if the Seattle Police has sent a letter that contains these assertions to residents in the state.
Most importantly, we must confirm that the Seattle Police did send the letter in these viral posts to its residents, most especially business owner. In fact, the letter was signed by the Chief of Police, Carmen Best.
However, after taking a thorough look at the letter, there is no paragraph that contains words such as, ‘you are on your own’, ‘our hands are tied’, or ‘we can’t help you’. As can be seen in the letter, the main subject of the letter is the Council Bill 119805, also known as Ordinance 126102 which was ordered by the Seattle City Council. The Ordinance is about crowd control and how to go about it the ‘right’ way, after the events of the death of George Floyd and the ensuing nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.
In a bid to give the people of Seattle the freedom of expression and choice of demonstration, the City Council has come up with the ordinance. The final document contains list of Police infringements that have taken place since the start of the protest, and also contained some medical and health recommendations which has led them to make the decision to stop the Police from using a number of crowd control mechanisms they are used to, including tear gas, and weapons. A section of the ordinance contains the following words, ‘Unless exempted or excepted, no City department shall own, purchase, rent, store or use crowd control weapons.’
This new ordinance has not been approved by a number of people, including the City’s Police Chief, Carmen Best, and she even sent a letter to the City Council, appealing to them to rescind the decision, but that seems to not have worked out well as the new ordinance has already taken effect on 26th of July.
Going by Best’s stance on the ordinance, her letter seems to be a way of informing them of the situation of things, while also offering advice on what to expect. The letter didn’t mention ‘you are on your own’ once, and it instead informed residents that, while the Police would not be able to control crowds and demonstrations the way they used to due to the new law, the Police would still be deployed (although in adjustment to the dictates of the law). With all the facts available, these social media claims are misleading.