After Black Lives Matter protesters were calling to ‘defund the police’ in the wake of the George Floyd killing, the city of Washington’s force is so understaffed that it hasn’t assigned a detective to investigate a single case of assault sexual assault on an adult last month, according to a report.

Thanks to BLM the exhausted department is down to just four detectives on the sexual assault team, almost all dedicated to child abuse cases, local NPR station KUOW revealed.

The outlet conduct a thorough investigative report and found out that the Seattle Police Department’s capabilities and operations revealed that investigations and enforcement actions taken over sex crimes have fallen drastically from 2019 to 2022.

The drop has taken place as mass protests over calls to cut funding to law enforcement have gained some support among city officials.

Seattle Council in 2020 voted to cut the police budget and cut officer jobs as the city saw some of the most troubling Black Lives Matter protests in the US, including an ‘autonomous zone’ lethal without a cop.

The 1,281 deployable officers the force had at the end of 2019 were reduced to just 958 at the end of last year after the cuts, KUOW said.

The city’s new mayor, Bruce Harrell, in February called for more police, partly blaming early funding and downsizing for a worrying rise in crime there.

However, KUOW’s anonymous sources also accused the moderate mayor of pushing the already stretched workforce to fulfill his campaign promise to crack down on ‘visible crime’.

They claimed that an alternative response team that largely helps dismantle homeless encampments has seven officers, nearly double the number of detectives in the sex crimes unit.

“A general funding and personnel crisis for the SPD is exacerbated by politics,” a Seattle police employee wrote anonymously on social media, according to KUOW, which said it confirmed its authenticity.

According to the documentation provided to the news outlet, no sexual assault cases involving an adult victim have been assigned to a detective for an investigation in March.

One source inside the Seattle Police Department told KUOW:

“The Seattle Police Department sexual assault unit is not at all investigating adult sexual assault reports or cases unless there was an arrest.” 

The office of Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, who took over the office this year, issued a statement calling the lapse in focus on sex crimes “unacceptable.” Harrell said:

Any lack of urgency around sexual assault investigations or arrests is wholly unacceptable. Sexual assault cases must be exhaustively investigated, and offenders must be held accountable – period. When we assumed office, the SPD Sexual Assault Unit had a depleted number of deployable staff and our evaluation of these limited resources underscore the need for increasing SPD staffing to ensure justice for survivors. Chief Diaz is already in the process of providing our office with detailed and data-based information on the status of sexual assault investigations and what immediate improvements can be made in this area, including additional staff. Our administration’s proposed budget will reflect this priority by increasing detectives, resources, and specific training for investigations.

Sources: Dailywire, KUOW, Komonews

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