Kshama Sawant calls for investigation after death threats from fire department email account

Jan 21, 2021, 7:57 AM | Updated: 11:06 am

Kshama Sawant, death threats...

Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant. (Seattle Channel)

(Seattle Channel)

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is calling for an investigation after receiving multiple threatening messages from a city email account.

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According to Sawant, the emails began on Dec. 17, 2020, with escalating language that culminated in a threat against her life on Jan. 18, 2021.

“The time is here, and you will not have a place after tomorrow council woman,” the Jan. 18 email read. “Announce your resignation now, or else.”

The emails originated from a Seattle Fire Department account, although SFD contacted Sawant on Dec. 31, telling her that the employee “is claiming he did not send the emails” himself, implying that the account was hacked. Despite the SFD’s awareness of the matter, though, the emails have continued in the days since.

“While I appreciate that this message was sent proactively by the department leadership, I am concerned that I have received two more threatening emails since that time from the same employee’s account, and that they are increasingly serious in nature,” Councilmember Sawant said in a written release. “Meanwhile, I have not been informed of any steps taken by the department in the nearly three weeks since.”

The District 3 councilmember went on to question why there appears to have been “no effort” to secure the employee’s account, stating that assurances from the SFD that the situation is being handled are beginning “to strain credulity.”

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“If the employee is to be believed that he did not send the threatening emails, has there been no effort by the department to secure his account? Has the employee not so much as been asked to change his password? Why have no further steps been reported to me?,” she asked.

Sawant is now calling on Mayor Jenny Durkan and interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz to “follow up with real urgency on this immediate threat,” urging them to further investigate the origin of the threatening emails.

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