Lawless and blue
President Donald Trump signed a memo on Sept. 2 to begin the process of withholding federal funds for Seattle and other Democratic cities that have moved to defund police and refuse “to protect their communities from rioting, looting and mass property destruction.”
The mayors of Seattle, Portland, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and New York City pushed back on the move, calling it “unlawful” and vowing to not be distracted by it.
“For four years, he has raged at cities and threatened them,” the mayors said in a press release. “Consistently Courts have had to reign him in, to tell him he did not have the powers of a despot and is not above the law.”
The threat to cut funds to large, blue cities comes amid a push by the president’s campaign to emphasize his assumed title as the “law and order” president. He has decried looting and rioting in cities across the country sparked by the Minneapolis police killing George Floyd, in one case sending federal agents to Portland over the objections of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.
The Republican National Convention, which took place over four days in August, leaned heavily into these themes, questioning if Americans would feel safe in “Joe Biden’s America.” Trump has been president during the current popular uprising against police violence.
A blistering report from an outside investigator into the 2017 killing of 20-year-old Tommy Le found significant weaknesses in the investigation meant to establish the circumstances of the shooting.
Deputies arrived to the Burien location, responding to reports of a young man with a knife. Le was shot in the back and died. The King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) would later reveal that Le had been carrying a pen, not a knife.
No inquest was held after the shooting due to intended reforms in the process, and the KCSO Use of Force Review Board found that the shooting was “in policy.”
The King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) commissioned a report by outside organization called the OIR Group to look into the investigation of Le’s death. OIR Group’s Michael Gennaco reported that there were “serious gaps” in the investigation.
“There was really not much going on with regard to collecting important facts on this event,” Gennaco told members of the King County Council on Sept. 2.
The OIR Group also conducted an investigation into the 2017 fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens that found issues with the internal review process, “though they were, unfortunately, not acted upon,” according to that report.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC.
Read more in the Sept. 9-15, 2020 issue.