Dori: Mayor Durkan has no consistency on takeover of private property

Jun 17, 2020, 5:57 PM | Updated: Jun 18, 2020, 5:48 am
Durkan, CHOP...
People hang out on roof tops in an area previously called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) on June 12, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The area had been the site of recent clashes between the Seattle Police Department and Black Lives Matters demonstrators advocating against police brutality. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

In 2016, a group of right-wing extremists took over a wildlife refuge in Oregon. That group believed the federal government was constitutionally required to turn over most federal public land to individual states. After a long standoff of more than a month, federal law enforcement finally moved in and arrested most of the militants.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan — a former U.S. Attorney — was absolutely in favor of the government moving in and forcefully ending the standoff. She told NPR in 2017:

DURKAN: If there was ever a conspiracy, this was it.

WILSON: From 2009 to 2014, Jenny Durkan served as the U.S. attorney for western Washington. She says prosecutors will try and argue this wasn’t a political protest.

DURKAN: They did not come with flowers. They came with AR-15s. They did not respect the property. They dug trenches and trashed it. And so I think you take each of their arguments and you show the reality.

Fast forward to 2020. A group of left-wing extremists have taken over public and private property on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Like the Bundy family and their associates in the 2016 Oregon takeover, the Seattle group is well armed. We’ve seen videos of men with rifles patrolling the area they now call the “CHOP.” The group was first given control of the area by making terroristic threats to burn down the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct.

As U.S. Attorney, Durkan said when two or more people work together in a lawless action, that is a criminal conspiracy.

Like the Oregon group, the Capitol Hill militants have been spotted with AR-15s. They are not respecting the property. Beautiful, 100-year-old brick buildings in the CHOP are covered with profane graffiti every night.

Durkan remarked that the Oregon militants trashed the property they seized. So has the Seattle group.

But there is one key difference: Jenny Durkan wanted federal law enforcement to end the 2016 standoff. She does not want the same in the city she governs.

In fact, she said of the Capitol Hill group: “Lawfully gathering and expressing First Amendment rights, demanding we do better as a society, is not terrorism, it is patriotism.”

Whether Jenny Durkan wants to admit it or not, the 2016 and 2020 stories, legally, are almost identical. Armed militants illegally take over private and public property.

But when the militants were viewed as “right-wing,” she called them terrorists and wanted federal law enforcement to intervene and put an end to it. When the militants are viewed as “left-wing,” she calls them patriots, has a completely hands-off policy, and is letting their illegal takeover to continue — with no end in sight.

There is no other city in the United States that would allow what Jenny Durkan and Governor Jay Inslee are tolerating and enabling in Seattle. We the taxpayers own that historic East Precinct building. Private citizens own those apartment and business properties. Armed militants have taken over part of our city.

Dori: Seattle riots a stunning failure of political leadership

When politicians arbitrarily decide when to not to enforce laws because they agree with the ideology of the law-breakers, we have entered incredibly dangerous territory.

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Dori: Mayor Durkan has no consistency on takeover of private property