Seattle Planned on Giving Police Station to Black Lives Matter

Rioters converged on East Precinct as mayor directed transfer of multimillion-dollar building

Seattle protests
Seattle protests / Getty Images
January 31, 2022

Former Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan (D.) planned in June 2020 to give the police department's East Precinct building to Black Lives Matter activists, who were then rioting and looting throughout the city, the Seattle Times reported Sunday.

Calvin Goings, a Durkan appointee who still serves as the city's director of finance and administrative services, on June 8, 2020, emailed a draft resolution to the mayor that would have transferred ownership of the multimillion-dollar building to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, the far-left group's local affiliate.

While the city ultimately did not transfer the building, rioters converged in front of the East Precinct as Goings sent the email, leading police to abandon the building. After officers evacuated, activists took control of Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, which includes the East Precinct, and set up a police-free "autonomous zone."

During the nine-day period in which anti-police activists ruled the "zone," the area saw four shootings, two of which were fatal, in addition to arson and multiple sexual assaults. The crime spike led Durkan to send police back in to retake the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone," or "CHAZ" as it became known.

While Durkan administration officials denied they were seriously considering handing the East Precinct over to Black Lives Matter, the Times found evidence that staffers for weeks sent memos about a transfer.

"The Durkan administration directed [the Department of Finance and Administrative Services] … to outline the process to transfer the East Precinct" to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, department spokeswoman Melissa Mixon told the Times.

Looting and vandalism skyrocketed during the summer 2020 riots, which began after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Hundreds of Seattle business owners begged Durkan to protect their businesses and communities, saying that the city was ignoring them.

Durkan announced in December that she would not run for reelection. Police chief Carmen Best, who led the department during the riots, resigned in September 2020 after Durkan and the Seattle City Council agreed to slash the police budget. A record number of officers left the Seattle Police Department in 2020, with one citing a lack of support from the "socialist" city council as his reason.