On Tuesday evening, far-left Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant and her staffers unlocked the doors of City Hall to allow hundreds of radical protesters in to occupy the premises and demand the resignation of Democratic Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan amidst calls to defund the Seattle Police Department.
“A large group of protesters and Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant met inside City Hall Tuesday night during the 12th consecutive night of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death,” KOWO News reported Tuesday. “Councilmember Sawant and her staff allowed the protesters inside the building, which is typically locked up at night.”
Along with calling for the defunding of the Seattle Police Department, many of the protesters demanded that Durkan resign.
“Chanting for the removal of Mayor Durkan inside City Hall as they head up the steps toward the council chamber,” wrote Jake Goldstein-Street, editor of the The Daily of the University of Washington, captioning a video of the chaos.
“Councilmember Sawant has a key to City Hall, allowing protesters to enter and chant for the mayor’s removal,” he captioned a second video.
Sawant spoke at the protest, calling her fellow council members “sellouts” and “corporate politicians.”
“Every day, when I’m sitting on the dais, I remind myself, they’re not my people, you’re my people,” she told the protesters.
“Protesters now singing ‘You About To Lose Your Job’ aimed at Mayor Durkan at City Hall,” Goldstein-Street reported.
Opening City Hall, speaking in support of the protesters, and trashing her colleagues wasn’t enough, however. Sawant was scolded to not “co-opt Black Lives Matter as a vehicle for her political ambition and agenda.”
“And after over an hour inside City Hall, protesters are headed out and chanting ‘Defund SPD’ as they leave,” Goldstein-Street captioned another video.
Following the protest, Mayor Durkan issued a lengthy statement, addressing city “concerns” and emphasizing that reforms to the Seattle Police Department are on the way, though she stopped short of agreeing to the defunding of the department.
Read the statement below, via KOMO News:
Mayor Durkan will not be distracted from the critical work that needs to be done at a moment that Seattle is facing its most challenging time in its history. The disparities, health, and economic impacts of the pandemic are an unprecedented challenge. Now we are faced with the pain and trauma relating to the murder of Mr. Floyd and the generations of systemic racism in our city and country that rightfully need to be addressed not through words but action. The City has so much healing and work to do – that is where Mayor Durkan will continue to spend her focus in the coming days, weeks and months ahead. At this pivotal moment, we cannot fan division when we need to come together to make actual steps on policing, invest in community, safely reopen our city to get workers back to work, and address the inequities in every system, including in education, housing, access to wealth building jobs and the criminal justice system.
As the person who originally investigated the Seattle Police Department for the unconstitutional use of force, Mayor Durkan believes that SPD can lead the nation on continued reforms and accountability, but knows this week has eroded trust at a time when trust is most crucial.
Mayor Durkan has worked non-stop over the last three months to keep our community safe and to address the inequities of the pandemic in our community. Working together, we must focus our investments in opportunities for communities of color and increase efforts that go even beyond what we built the first two years, like free college, expanding preschool, protecting domestic workers and rideshare drivers, building affordable housing, and investing in community led youth safety programs.
Author: Amanda Prestigiacomo