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Uncle Ike’s owner on riot damage, says city not letting police do their jobs

Broken windows in the Capitol Hill area after a protest Wednesday. (KIRO Radio/Hanna Scott)

Wednesday night’s riot in Seattle took their toll on a number of businesses, including Starbucks, Whole Foods, Key Bank, and Uncle Ike’s.

Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss what happened.

“I don’t think this had anything to do with protests about George Floyd or police brutality. This was just straight up anarchist kids having fun, no message whatsoever, high-fiving each other and laughing. They’re having a good time and nobody’s gonna stop them. The city’s doing nothing,” he said.

“We had lots of graffiti, broken windows, fires set, pretty severe fire damage, smoke damage, security doors pulled down,” Eisenberg said. “The video says what it is, 100 or so people smashing and throwing stuff. It’s crazy.”

Why does he think his store was targeted?

“Is the same reason in Seattle where a lot of people don’t want to go to Starbucks, they want to go to an independent shop because anything that successful has to be bad and should be torn down,” Eisenberg said.

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Eisenberg is no stranger to vandalism with his other shops regularly receiving it throughout the year.

“What changed in the past year is that the activist crowd — especially the Twittersphere — has just gone to making up random lies about people they don’t like. I don’t know how else to put it. Last night, I was an ‘IDF member, an ex-cop, I’m an ex-cop who shot Charleena Lyles somehow. The stories were just absolutely insane,” he said.

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“The Black and brown businesses I’ve supposedly pushed out of the Central District in the CD and Capitol Hill, the luxury condominiums I’ve built, the lies just go on and on and on,” Eisenberg said. “They’re kind of published once in a while in these neighborhood blog’s publications. They’re not really newspapers, they don’t have fact checkers, and all of a sudden a lie becomes gospel, it becomes true.”

Eisenberg says the city isn’t allowing the police to do their jobs and over time, he’s seen things get worse.

“I think it has got worse,” Eisenberg said. “The police, their hands have got more and more tied. They’re understaffed, they’re under budgeted, they’re overworked, they’re tired, they’re demoralized. The policemen I know–it’s visible. They look tired, constantly being attacked by protesters, calling them names, the city council, not supporting them whatsoever.”

“Chief Best–she’s a scapegoat now for the city it seems like,” Eisenberg said. “Let them do their jobs. They’re a good group of people that want to do right by the citizenry.”

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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