Dori: Seattle riots a stunning failure of political leadership

May 31, 2020, 10:20 AM | Updated: Jun 1, 2020, 11:14 am
Seattle riots...
Protesters riot in the streets following a peaceful rally in downtown Seattle. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Apparently, there were only four people in the region on Friday who did not know Seattle was going to erupt in flames and rioting Saturday night. Sadly, those four people were Jay Inslee, Dow Constantine, Jenny Durkan, and Carmen Best.

All Americans were unified in our disgust over the nauseating police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. That cop has rightfully been charged with murder.

And there were a lot of good-hearted people — including here in our region — who wanted to peacefully gather and demonstrate and be heard about how heartsick and angry they are about this senseless killing.

But for days, in city after city, we saw those peaceful protests get hijacked by rioting and looting that had zero to do with George Floyd — in fact, all the rioting did was dishonor Floyd’s memory.

Having seen for days what was happening in city after city, how did our political leaders not know that was going to happen in Seattle on Saturday? When the Seattle protests were announced, I said on my show Friday that they were inevitably going to lead to disaster for our city.

So, why did our political “leaders” allow this mayhem to happen? There are only two possible answers: That they truly did not see this coming, in which case they really are too ignorant for their jobs and should resign immediately; or that they did see this coming and decided to allow it to happen anyway.

They all talked about the constitutional right of people to peacefully assemble. But of course, in that same First Amendment, it says government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion.

For more than two months, Jay Inslee took away the freedom of people to gather at church, saying his power as governor trumps the U.S. Constitution during a health crisis. So, why didn’t he ban the downtown events that everyone knew were going to lead to rioting under his same “health crisis” claim?

Then, when Inslee announced he was calling in the National Guard, he specifically said they would be “unarmed.” Why would he announce to rioters that the military members called in to quell the violence wouldn’t be able to defend themselves? That only emboldened them as stores were looted and cars and businesses were set aflame.

Jenny Durkan also showed an incredible lack of leadership. Her press conference on Saturday was as tone-deaf as I’ve ever heard. A few of the things she said:

“Weapons are not allowed in downtown Seattle.”

As rioters were swinging poles through store windows. They should have posted some “weapon-free zone” signs!

She said they were caught off guard by the riots. Again, they’re the only ones who didn’t see this coming

She said to the rioters, “you cannot use inappropriate activity to destroy businesses.”

Uh, Jenny? Were you watching the coverage? They can — and did — use “inappropriate activity.” Did you really think talking to rioters like a scolding kindergarten teacher was going to make a difference?

She ended her presser by saying if you are determined to cause chaos and destruction, “stay home.”

That scolding also didn’t seem to have any impact on the rioters.

And then there’s Dow Constantine. All available LEO personnel were being dispatched to the riots, except for two King County Sheriff’s Detectives who were forced to sit outside Dow’s house all day Saturday.

According to my sources within KCSO, Dow made the request early in the day Saturday because he was scared for his family, even though no threats had been made against him. Command leadership initially rejected his request. Dow persisted, and King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht relented and took two cops off the streets so Dow could have his private security detail.

Dow sat inside his home and tweeted about how they were passing out masks so the rioters would be safe from COVID-19.

Constantine could have just taken his family to his beach house in Snohomish County if he was so scared. But he decided instead to take cops off the most urgent needs in his county to they could sit outside of his West Seattle house all day doing nothing.

I’m happy to report there were zero incidents at Dow’s house Saturday. Wouldn’t it be nice if we little people could also get a personal security detail in times of crisis?

So, that’s who we had in charge as Seattle burned Saturday night. Why did they allow this to happen? We have very powerful forces that want to destroy us from within. Are our politicians ignorant of that threat? Or are they in on it?

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Seattle riots a stunning failure of political leadership