First off, it goes without saying that everyone should feel safe from violence and vandalism.
Last week Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant complained to Mayor Bruce Harrell that she wasn’t receiving a vigorous police response after someone repeatedly threw human excrement on her lawn. The perpetrator must stop and be brought to justice.
But this story is rich with irony, and demonstrates the hypocrisy and cluelessness of the three-term lawmaker.
Sawant describes the six occurrences as a “serious matter” and “serious incidents.” Detectives stopped by her house and tried to take fingerprints (of the bags containing the feces, one hopes) but, in her mind, cops did not display the expected professionalism and investigatory zeal.
“Is this the kind of ‘help’ working people and communities of color can expect from the Seattle Police?” Sawant rhetorically asks.
This criticism is just too much. Sawant led the unsuccessful charge to defund SPD by 50%. She has been a relentless critic of police. In 2019 exit interviews, three former cops cited Sawant by name as a reason why they left the department. Police ranks dropped precipitously since 2020, increasing 911 response times across the city and leaving many, many residents frustrated that police arrived hours late to nonemergency calls, if at all.
And then there is Sawant’s contention that her case should be given special treatment because she is an elected official.
Remember, it was Sawant who led protesters in June of 2020 to former Mayor Jenny Durkan’s house in an action dubbed “March to the Mayor’s Mansion.” Durkan and her family are in a state program to keep their address confidential because of death threats related to her work as Seattle’s U.S. Attorney under President Barack Obama.
A series of protests turned ugly, with homophobic and misogynistic graffiti left on her property and her neighbors’. SPD never investigated any of the vandalism Durkan experienced.
Last year, Sawant faced a recall effort, based in part because she “led a protest march to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s private residence, the location of which Councilmember Sawant knew was protected under state confidentiality laws,” the ballot read.
Sawant survived the recall by 310 votes out of 41,002 cast.
So here we have a city lawmaker who actively seeks to reduce police ranks and has no qualms about bringing protests and violence to someone else’s house. Now she has the audacity to knock police for not moving fast enough when she is the complainant, implying that detectives and crime lab personnel set aside sexual assault cases or any number of other needs that cops are struggling to balance.
Sawant doesn’t like to feel like a helpless victim. Maybe that empathy will lead to a more nuanced view about public safety and respect for the personal well-being of politicians with whom she doesn’t agree.
If not, voters in District 3 should take note: Unless she bows out, Sawant will be on the ballot in just over a year. Without a doubt, Seattle has had enough of this … show.
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