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Snohomish County Sheriff says they’re taking seriously all looting threats

A woman sweeps up broken glass from already boarded-up windows in downtown Seattle, Sunday, May 31, 2020, following protests Saturday over the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney told The Jason Rantz Show that the county has been busy with calls and threats of destruction from antifa, anarchist, or activist groups who not interested in peacefully protesting all weekend and have threatened to loot local businesses.

“Just to clarify right off the top of this discussion, … if people are gonna protest peacefully, as they rightfully should over what happened, … we’re gonna support that all day long. All day long,” Fortney said. “People have a right to protest, I’ve been pretty outspoken on constitutional rights, and we absolutely support that right. But there has to be a clear distinction between a peaceful protest and then the other stuff that we’re seeing, the damage to property, the burning of of cars.”

In Snohomish County, Fortney says they’ve seen a number of threats on social media.

“The problem on the police end is that we have to take them seriously, because if we don’t and they actually show up, and then we’re going to be behind behind the ball and we can’t let that happen,” he said.

As far as imminent threats of looting, Fortney said he’s not sure what to take seriously at this point, but assured that they are ready to respond.

“I just don’t know which ones are going to come to fruition and which ones aren’t,” he said.

In the city of Snohomish, there were individuals who armed themselves alongside law enforcement to protect against the potential looting on Sunday, with photos that circulated on social media.

“There is some stuff being said about what happened in Snohomish yesterday, and I was there all day long and into the evening, that just is not accurate” Fortney said. “Where there was a credible threat not of a peaceful protest, but of a quote, violent protest by Antifa that was gonna target the city of Snohomish to bring it out to the rural communities.”

“So we had reports of two groups of citizens gathering at different ends of the city that were there to help protect the city,” he added. “I actually went out there personally and talked to them. One was a group of about 10, one was a group of about 30.”

Fortney said these people owned businesses, or their friends owned businesses, and they wanted to prevent any looting like what was being seen in Seattle, Bellevue, and other cities, should the threats be acted upon.

“We at the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, we did not ask for their help or anything like that,” Fortney said. “As a matter of fact, we said, we’re not going to make you leave, but if you can be our eyes and ears, please call 911 because we don’t want citizens getting mixed up in this stuff.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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