Tell the Seattle City Council to End the Deadly Exchange!
Seattle police show documented patterns of violence and racism and are under court supervision for excessive force and racially biased policing. The upcoming ordinance prohibits training between the Seattle Police Department and the military, police, intelligence, security or other armed forces of countries found to be in gross violation of human rights under international law. Endorsed by a broad range of Seattle organizations, the bill prevents the further militarization of the Seattle Police Department, upholds the city of Seattle’s commitment to supporting human rights here and around the world, and helps create conditions for real safety in our community.
A SAFE AND HEALTHY SEATTLE MUST BE GROUNDED IN RESPECT FOR THE HUMAN RIGHTS AND DIGNITY OF ALL PEOPLE
The Seattle City Council has long upheld the principle of human rights and dignity for all people, including through the passage of Resolutions 31858 and 31928, in which the council affirmed Seattle a “Human Rights City,” endorsing the rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and committing to protecting and promoting the human rights and dignity of Native peoples and all residents and visitors to Seattle, including civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights.
RESPECT THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL SEATTLEITES BY INVESTING IN COMMUNITY, NOT RACIST AND MILITARIZED POLICING
The Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) record of militarized, discriminatory policing is well established. Nearly a decade of being subject to a Department of Justice Consent Decree, and the SPD’s own 2019 Annual Use of Force Report found that Black men are disproportionately subjected to use of force by the SPD. In the summer of 2020, SPD deployed chemical weapons against thousands of protestors in the uprisings in support of Black Lives.
Respect for human rights means every Seattleite should be free to live without daily fear of violent and discriminatory policing. Free to protest without military-force repression. Free to go about our lives without invasive and unconstitutional surveillance.
The City Council committed to defund and demilitarize the police last summer. It stands in direct contradiction to those commitments to support police exchanges with foreign militaries.
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ABROAD REQUIRES REFUSING TO TRAIN WITH HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSING MILITARY AND POLICE FORCES
Through passage of Resolution 31928, the City affirmed Seattle as a welcoming city, condemning all forms of oppression throughout the world, and stating that the Office of Intergovernmental Relations will continue to alert the Seattle City Council about international issues impacting Seattle and inform Councilmembers when City Council action could contribute meaningfully to a positive outcome. Trainings between US law enforcement and the human rights abusing military and police forces of foreign countries are a departure from our city’s resolutions and commitments to rights guaranteed in international law.
Although U.S. police have for decades collaborated on intelligence and military initiatives with foreign governments, including those in violation of international law and human rights norms, these partnerships have taken on new formations and significance since 9/11--a period defined by the application of counter-terrorism logics, technology and tactics within domestic policing and immigration policy in the U.S., paving the way for the targeting and harming of communities of color.
A prominent example of such collaboration are US-Israel partnerships. Israel promotes itself as a model for law enforcement around the world by reframing more than 73 years of illegal military occupation and an apartheid system of discriminatory laws as “counterterrorism expertise.” Under the pretense of sharing this expertise, the programs involve visits to checkpoints, prisons, settlements and other sites of gross violations of Palestinian human and civil rights. SPD should not be studying the tools of occupation -- racial profiling, violent suppression of protest, and massive surveillance.