Councilmember against adding police to school district after drive-by shooting forces children to crawl to safety | #schoolsaftey

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant said the city should not add police resources to the Central District neighborhood after a day-time shooting sent bullets into a day care.

The owner of the day care called out Sawant after the drive-by shooting on Oct. 16, which involved 24 children crawling to the bathroom for safety.

“Show your face because your presence is needed to support us. Who is [Sawant]? I’ve reached out to [her office] for two years. Nothing, they never support anything that people of color do in this community,” said Appollonia Washington, the co-owner of A 4 Apple Learning.

Washington and other Central District advocates have asked for additional police resources to be brought to the area in response to the shooting and long-standing safety concerns.

“We need police presence,” Washington said.

Sawant, who represents the area on the City Council and is a vocal proponent of defunding the police, said she does not support an increase in police resources in her district.

“No, I am in solidarity with all small business owners, but the facts are that bloating the police department does not work,” Sawant said Friday in response to KOMO News questions about the day care shooting. “My message to them is that increasing funding to police is not going to help them, you know why? Because that is the strategy that has been tried for a decade and a half. Police have got more and more money. This whole idea that ‘police got defunded’, no it did not, unfortunately.”

Seattle police added a mobile precinct outside A 4 Apple Learning when it re-opened Thursday.

“Around our day cares, around our school, if we can’t keep that safe then we really have a problem,” Police Chief Adrian Diaz said. “Literally having kids crawl to safety — that’s just horrible. We are going to make sure that day care feels it has the resources it needs to be safe.”

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, county councilmember Girmay Zahilay called out Sawant for not visiting the day care after the shooting.

“Where is the city council representative who represents this district?” Zahilay said. “There is more to this job than marching against Amazon. There is more to this job. That means you have to be here on the ground, responding to the communities helping them go through their issues… we need to hold every level of government accountable to be on the ground responding to these issues.”

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell met with Washington several times this week and pledged to invest in safety resources for the area.

“I don’t ever want to experience this again,” Washington said. “Can we get patrols? Can we get officers walking by? We’re known out in the community for serving the community, but I need the support of protection so my families and my staff, and we, can feel OK walking these streets every day.”

Sawant is not seeking re-election and a replacement will be decided in the upcoming City Council election.

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