Seattle Residents demand answers!

Police Line do not cross - United Police Fund

by Jonathan Choe, KOMO News reporter

Thursday, January 21st 2021

Seattle City Council members are considering how to defund Seattle police.

SEATTLE — One day after dozens of black-clad protesters left a trail of destruction in Seattle, several community activists on Thursday criticized the response from Seattle City Hall, saying the response by city leaders has missed the mark.

Community organizer Victoria Beach expressed frustration at the tepid response by Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle City Council members about the violence that flared during the Wednesday night protest that left shattered glass and tagged buildings.

Beach said email statements to the destruction was not enough.

“Very weak. Very weak,” she said. “It’s not addressing the problem. I reached out to the mayor today (because) she needs to come out and say, ‘Stop! Enough is enough.'”

KOMO News asked Durkan for an interview but spokesperson Kelsey Nyland replied instead with an emailed statement that read in part, “Violent threats, vandalism, and misogynistic and homophobic hate speech are unacceptable in our community. Mayor Durkan has consistently denounced individuals who are targeting small businesses and government facilities.”

Beach suggested that didn’t go far enough.

“We are not talking about all that other stuff,” she said. “We are talking about these fools (who are) nightly destroying our city. That’s what we want to hear about.”

City Councilman Andrew Lewis also declined to speak on camera to KOMO News about the protests but said in an email statement that “property destruction is a crime, not free speech. Last night a small group of people committed acts of vandalism in Downtown Seattle and were promptly arrested. It has never been hard for me to distinguish between acts of petty vandalism committed by opportunists.”

City Councilwoman Lisa Herbold also did not answer questions from KOMO News, but sent a written statement saying: “I have spoken out against property destruction and violent behavior and will continue to do so.”

“To me, it’s a complete mystery why we’re not having more response,” said Stephanie Tschida, who works with the East Precinct Advisory Council, adding that elected officials should be having news conferences to denounce the destructive protests and reach more people. “Because a lot of people seem to have become apathetic.”

Also, neither the mayor or Seattle council members have yet to post their statements to KOMO News on their social media platforms.

“If voters see them as taking a permissive or a disinterested stance toward violence, that could certainly elevate this issue,” said Patrick Schoettmer, a Seattle University political science professor, adding that it is up to voters to hold the city’s elected officials accountable. “It could focus the election on issues of security, say rather than issues of development and recovery.”

Durkan has previously announced that she is not running for re-election.

Other council members did not respond to requests from KOMO News about the protests.

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