Protesters marched to Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s home Sunday afternoon, outraged over his proposal to add $17 million to the city’s police budget next year.
“What better way to spend our Sunday than marching a bunch of amazing people up to Mayor Bruce Harrell’s house and delivering him a birthday present?” one speaker said, according to KING 5. Harrell’s birthday is later this month.
The protest was called “Justice for Jaahnavi” in honor of the 23-year-old college student hit and killed by a patrol car while stepping into a crosswalk in January.
Harrell’s proposed budget gives the Seattle Police Department more than $391 million, a $17 million increase from the 2023 budget.
But protesters want the department’s budget to be cut rather than expanded in light of Jaahnavi Kandula’s death. The officer who struck Kandula was driving 74 mph in a 25 mph zone with his lights on but no sirens, according to police. Last month, body camera video emerged showing a different officer appearing to joke about the young woman’s death, though the officer said his comments were taken out of context.
Harrell addressed the scandal while announcing his budget proposal last week.
“We cannot have safety without accountability and community trust,” Harrell said. “Sadly, we have seen that trust fractured through recent events where officers have disrespected or dehumanized our neighbors. Those comments make me incredibly sad and incredibly disappointed.”
Dozens of people gathered in a park before marching to Harrell’s home, shouting slogans like “No justice, no peace” and “say her name.”
Police were present during the event but did not confront the crowd, KING 5 reported.
Seattle has already surpassed 2022’s homicide count with three months left in the year. Violent crime and car thefts in the Emerald City also reached a 15-year high in 2022, according to SPD data.
“With homicides up and when SPD is recovering more guns than any previous time in our history … we know we can’t be complacent,” Harrell said.
The proposal includes a nearly $1.8 million investment in a crime prevention pilot program that relies heavily on technology such as automatic license plate readers, surveillance cameras and gunshot detection systems.
Sunday’s protest was organized by Seattle South Asians 4 Black Lives and South Asians Resisting Imperialism, according to KING 5.
Harrell is Seattle’s first Asian American mayor and the second Black mayor.
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