KEY POINTS

  • About 250 employees at Microsoft asked their CEO to end the company's contracts with the Seattle police
  • The letter was originally signed by 20 employees who said their neighborhood had become a warzone
  • "Yes. We have to act," CEO Satya Nadella said

Microsoft workers have come together to ask their CEO, Satya Nadella, to cancel the company's contracts with the Seattle Police Department (SPD).

The letter sent to Microsoft's top boss and other executives was signed by over 250 employees, in which they also asked the company to support the Black Lives Matter movement. The employees requested their chief executive to call for the defunding of the SPD and the resignation of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, whom they hold accountable for failing to control the police's "inhumane responses" against peaceful protesters in the city.

According to One Zero, the letter was sent out via email and originally signed by 20 employees. These 20 workers said they live in the Capitol Hill area in Seattle where protests, against police brutality and racism triggered by the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, have become violent.

"Our neighborhood has been turned into a warzone," the letter stated. "Every one of us in the CC line are either firsthand witnesses or direct victims to the inhumane responses of SPD to peaceful protesting."

These employees said they have to deal with "24/7 helicopter noise, teargassing, flash banging, rubber bullet, gunshots, and vans/buses filled with armed law enforcement" so they want their leaders at Microsoft, such as Nadella and Executive Vice President Kurt DelBebe, to "bridge this gap of disconnection, misinformation, and complacency."

“Every passing day, we feel that our fellow co-workers, managers, and leaders who live miles away outside of Seattle are severely disconnected to the violent reality thousands of people have been facing every single day since last Saturday," the letter stated.

The letter was shared in a Facebook group for Microsoft employees, where it reached over 250 signatures.

1920px-Building92microsoft Microsoft employees want their CEO to end its contracts with the Seattle Police Department following its violent response to the protests. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In an interview with Fox Business, Nadella said his company has to act on the employee's calls for reforms.

"My response is this: Yes. We have to act," the Microsoft boss said. "And our actions must reflect the values of our company and be directly informed by the needs of the Black and African American community."

Microsoft’s specific contract with the local police department was not clear, but the company provided the authorities with surveillance products that gathered data for investigations into criminal activities. The company also created a technology Washington judges used for legal decisions.