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Will Seattle politicians ever be held responsible for anti-cop rhetoric?

Kshama Sawant. (AP)

I’ve spoken about the inflammatory rhetoric of Seattle politicians regarding our police department before and how they rushed to judgment after Charleena Lyles, a black, pregnant mother, was shot and killed by two white officers.

Some politicians, including councilmember Kshama Sawant, have branded police as racist. Former mayor and current candidate Mike McGinn even linked racism to his original tweet about Lyles’ death, before knowing all the facts.

What I want to know is if public officials and politicians are going to be held responsible for their anti-police rhetoric if it causes dangerous consequences.

Early Wednesday morning we saw what can happen if someone truly hates the police. A New York City officer of 12 years was shot in the head by an ex-convict. Miosotis Familia, black and Hispanic, was killed inside a mobile command post by Alexander Bonds, a black man.

Though there isn’t a direct link between the shooting in New York and the killing of Charleena Lyles, I did find a strange and disturbing connection between the anti-cop rhetoric in New York and what’s been going on in Seattle.

After Lyles was killed, councilmember Sawant stated the following during a rally:

“We cannot rely on the existing process to determine why Charleena was killed because that process has failed Che Taylor, that process has failed every person who was killed at the hands of the police.”

As I was researching this, I stumbled upon a YouTube video of a Black Lives Matter rally in Harlem. During the rally, they mention the Lyles case.

Here’s the video (WARNING: Strong language):

The context and tone of the rally are similar to that of Sawant’s speech, an elected councilmember who did nothing but a bit of political grandstanding after the shooting. She took the opportunity to reinforce a notion that police are cold-blooded murderers.

While the country loses its collective mind about Trump’s Twitter account, I wonder if anyone will do the same about politicians who tell anybody who will listen that police are murderers — solely for their political gain. Perhaps it’s maybe a little dangerous, maybe just a little irresponsible for politicians to push that story line for their political gain.

Local politicians in their desire to foment hatred of police to score political points may be connecting with anti-cop drifters.

I wonder when Sawant heard about the assassination of a New York cop, did she feel any remorse? In the hours and days after Charleena Lyles was killed, Sawant was retweeting the news and making statements in person and on social media. After the fatal shooting of Familia, the only thing from Sawant (as of 1:30 p.m.) on social media was a tweet regarding income tax.

Maybe she and other politicians should tone it down a bit.

When councilmembers host three-hour townhalls that turn into three-hour anti-cop forums, maybe they are making things more dangerous for the police.

It’s up to our politicians to be the voices of reason, or moderation, of waiting for facts before they rush to judgment. But no, it’s about how they can spin it for political gain.

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