By Lee Brown
Seattle now has on its payroll a convicted pimp who once vowed to “go to war” with the city — a $150,000 “street czar” whose mission is to come up with “alternatives to policing,” reports said.
Andre Taylor — who appeared in the documentary “American Pimp” about his life as “Gorgeous Dre” — is getting $12,500 per month for a year, along with an office in Seattle’s Municipal Tower, according to the contract published by PubliCola.
It comes just a year after his organization, Not This Time, was paid $100,000 to sponsor a speaker series that was called “Conversations with the Streets.”
Taylor led one of the first rallies in Seattle after the police-custody death of George Floyd, the Seattle Times said.
He was later accused of trying to get millions from the city for militants who set up the controversial police-free Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone, the Seattle Times said.
“Don’t just leave. Leave with something,” he told activists in a meeting caught in a recording, telling them to demand $2 million to exit the site of much of the city’s worst violence this year, the report said. They ignored his advice, the paper said, with one saying the money grab felt “off.”
Some of those militants then accused him of betraying them, too, when he appeared at a press conference with the mayor to tell them to shut down CHOP — the same day he was given his six-figure contract, the paper said.
The new street czar justified the contract to KOMO News as payment for his “particular genius in a particular area” — saying he can talk to “gang members, pimps and prostitutes” who “won’t sit down with anybody else.”
“Black people as a whole have not been in a place to be compensated for their genius or their work for a very, very long time,” he said.
“Not too many people can go talk to gangbangers in their territory, and then go talk to the government in their territory,” Taylor also told the Seattle Times.
Taylor first found notoriety in Las Vegas, where he was sentenced in 2000 to more than five years in prison, serving little more than a year, the Seattle Times previously noted.
Some of the girls he pimped for were underage, according to court reports in the Las Vegas Sun.
“I was born from the streets; I come out of the deep darkness,” he said in a YouTube video earlier this year, bragging how he “had children with some of the women who were with me” when he was a pimp.
“We decided we were going to be in this subculture, like the Mafia, whether you liked it or not,” he said of his life. “We knew you considered us the waste of the world from the beginning. We didn’t care what you thought about us … just like I don’t care what you think about me now.”
He came to Seattle in 2016 after his brother, Che Taylor, died in a police shooting — saying he was “here to go to war,” the Seattle Times noted.
As street czar, his contract tasks him to “provide recommendations to the City on de-escalation, community engagement, and alternatives to policing.”
Mayor Jenny Durkan’s spokesperson Kelsey Nyland told the Seattle Times the contract was offered because of an “existing working partnership.”
Taylor’s group was chosen because of its “lived experience with the criminal legal system, and their history of successful advocacy and activism on issues of policing and dismantling systemic racism,” Nyland added, noting that the city is spending millions this year on similar contracts with various groups.