JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Seattle councilmember dangerously endorses looting and riots

Jun 1, 2020, 9:51 PM | Updated: Jun 2, 2020, 5:37 pm

Some Seattle City Councilmembers dangerously endorsed or justified looting and violent riots that nearly destroyed downtown Seattle. It’s a sharp contrast to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Governor Jay Inslee, both condemning the violence that distracted from the message of good-faith protesters.

Councilmembers didn’t just back peaceful protesters, something all of us do. Some councilmembers literally sided with and endorsed the violence. Indeed, one councilmember warned against telling people that “looting doesn’t solve anything.”

Though not quite shocking given the makeup of this council, it is certainly dangerous.

Seattle Council first attacks cops at protest

In the day’s least shocking news, the council was sharply critical of SPD after a weekend of protests, which on Friday and Saturday turned violent. This is nothing new for a council that makes cop-hating a sport.

“The very thing that everybody was protesting, excessive police force, was met by a militarized response,” councilmember Teresa Mosqueda falsely claimed to her comrades during a digital council meeting Monday. “Yes, it was stoked by the President, and yes, it was stoked by others, but it was carried out right in our city.”

Mosqueda’s opening comments did not mention the Seattle riots or looting directly. Her comments seemed scripted, so she put great effort into her attack on cops.

“We need an independent community-led investigation into what happened on Saturday,” Socialist councilmember Kshama Sawant demanded.

By “community-led” she means a hand-picked group of anti-police activists to determine a finding Sawant has already scripted. She went on to blame, not shockingly, capitalism, while exploiting the death of George Floyd.

“We have had hundreds, if not thousands of accounts from ordinary people, community members, of unacceptable conduct from the Seattle Police Department,” Sawant claimed. “It is tragically ironic that we live in a society where a protest against police brutality and violence was met with police brutality and violence.”

Sawant made no mention of the rioting and looting in her opening remarks, claiming the police targeted peaceful protesters.

She also falsely claimed that SPD officers were covering up their identities by putting a band over their badge. The band is actually a commonly used symbol to mourn the loss of their colleagues that Sawant obviously doesn’t care about. And, of course, she used the George Floyd murder to push her Amazon tax. Her selfishness is her brand.

Similarly, Socialist councilmember Tammy Morales said the cops instigated the violence. Her evidence? The “feeling” of some anti-cop protesters she spoke to.

Defending violence and looting

Councilmember Andrew Lewis spoke with the most common sense, but he made one giant error by claiming no one on the council would dare back the violence and looting.

“We can’t let the actions of a few people who engaged in looting distract from the core message of those millions of people who took to America’s streets to demonstrate,” Lewis said, though very clearly downplaying the number of looters taking to streets in the country. “Of course we all flatly condemn looting.”

But they don’t all “flatly condemn looting” at all. Sawant and Mosqueda justify it. Morales endorses it.

“Colleagues, I hope we’re all saying we understand why that destruction happened and we understand why people are upset,” Mosqueda said two days after looters broke into an Old Navy, Nordstrom, and Banana Republic to steal clothes.

Others broke into the nearby Cheesecake Factory and were seen walking out with an entire cheesecake.

Most of these criminals weren’t looting and rioting because of anger over Floyd or systemic racism; they did it from a place of selfishness, stealing items they refuse to pay for, exploiting anger of a murder for personal gain. Then you had the Antifa and antifa-like groups that, taking Sawant’s anti-capitalist message to heart, destroy businesses to bring down an economic system they don’t even understand.

Socialist Morales backs looting

Later in the meeting, Socialist councilmember Tammy Morales dangerously endorsed the riots and looting.

“But what I don’t want to hear is for our constituents to be told to be civil, not to be reactionary, to be told looting doesn’t solve anything,” Morales said. “It does make me wonder why looting bothers people so much more than knowing that across the country, black people are being killed around the country.”

Isn’t she a hero, folks? Angry about your business being destroyed? Angry about not having a job to go back to this week during a time of economic pain due to the coronavirus? Privileged Morales, with a high paid council salary you pay for, thinks you’re selfish for standing against destruction of businesses and jobs.

In her world, you can’t be angry about more than one thing at a time. And something tells me if someone broke into her home and stole her belongings, she wouldn’t be so quick to defend looting.

This rhetoric must be rejected

This rhetoric is dangerous. Morales is openly endorsing looting as a means to solve problems. What problems does looting solve? She has no answer.

You can concurrently call out the murder of George Floyd and say looting and violence is wrong. It’s not difficult. It’s not contradictory. It’s not offensive, nor controversial. People have the right and duty to be upset with both. Morales pretending not to understand that will just make the situation worse. Is that her intent?

This entire country is outraged by the murder of George Floyd. But instead of uniting behind the criminal pursuit of the officer, Derek Chauvin, nefarious actors like Morales, Sawant, and Mosqueda either encourage or justify violence and stealing.

This guarantees the police will come under assault by the bad elements that Morales eggs on. And it guarantees they will be in a position to use force.

As I write this, I’m watching criminals throw rocks at police on Capitol Hill. This is what Morales and Sawant want; it’s what Mosqueda justifies. It’s going to get people killed. And then, of course, these same councilmembers will reemerge to condemn the situations they caused.

UPDATE 06/02/20 5:33PM

When reached for comment by our sister station KIRO Radio, Council communications director Dana Robinson Slote said “CM Morales’ office has no comment at this time.”

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Rantz: Seattle councilmember dangerously endorses looting and riots