‘I didn’t think anybody took me that seriously,’ Seattle candidate says about anti-police tweets

Oct 8, 2021, 5:02 AM | Updated: 7:17 am
Seattle City Attorney abolitionist Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, candidate...
Seattle City Attorney candidate Nicole Thomas-Kennedy. (Campaign photo)
(Campaign photo)

With the general election in Washington now less than a month away, there’s been a lot of attention on two big races in Seattle: mayor and city attorney.

Seattle city attorney candidate: Abolitionist platform is about ‘scaling back, building up’

Seattle city attorney candidate Nicole Thomas-Kennedy has previously stated that she would not prosecute most misdemeanors if elected. When she joined KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show, they asked her to explain how that would be a benefit to the city and how it would help improve our safety.

“Right now, the reality is that a lot of the misdemeanors that are currently being charged are crimes of poverty and disability,” she replied. “And there is nothing about prosecuting crimes of poverty or disability that change the underlying conditions of poverty or disability. So I would like to actually address the root causes of crimes, so that way we can deter crimes in the future.”

Thomas-Kennedy says during her time as a public defender, she’s seen a number of cases like stealing a sandwich, a block of cheese and beer, or sleeping under an awning.

“There’s really nothing about putting someone in jail for a temporary amount of time — because that’s all that’s allowed for misdemeanors, is a temporary jail stay — there’s nothing about those situations that make it less likely from happening again,” she said. “So I would like to spend more money on scaling up resources for people, whether around mental health, around addiction, and around poverty that are going to allow them to be self-reliant and flourish instead of continuing to destabilize people through expensive prosecution.”

Thomas-Kennedy wondered how it’s in the public interest to prosecute someone for sleeping under an awning — adding that each prosecution costs $10,000 in taxpayer money — instead of spending that money on housing.

“We are the only country in the world that incarcerates the way that we do,” she said. “[And] we are far from the safest. I would like to take us in a new direction where we’re actually addressing root problems instead of continuing to cycle through punishment.”

She did admit that prosecution does have to remain an option in some cases.

“What I have said multiple times is that for some cases, especially interpersonal violence and repeat DUIs, traditional prosecution has to remain an option,” Thomas-Kennedy said. “But there’s a huge amount of area in between not doing anything and prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law. So while prosecution has to remain an option in some cases, there are other ways of dealing with these situations, there’s other ways of fostering accountability, there’s other ways of addressing these problems where jail has shown to be a failure.”

“I think one of the biggest indications of this is when people talk about prolific offenders,” she added. “Yes, there are people who continually cycled in and out of jail for misdemeanors and it is a problem. But I want to solve the problem. I don’t want to just keep perpetuating the problem because when we are talking about misdemeanors, the maximum sentence is less than a year.”

If we want true public safety, she says we have to do something different.

Responding to tweets posted in 2020

Before Thomas-Kennedy was a candidate for Seattle city attorney last year, she posted to Twitter, referring to police officers as “pigs,” “Nazis,” and “stains on humanity.”

Host Gee Scott asked: Why did you tweet that?

“So that was in 2020, and the reality of what was happening at that time was it was huge, massive protests all across the country against racist police killings,” she replied. “And the response by police in Seattle was to become even more brutal than they had ever been before.”

“My neighborhood was gassed 11 times in a row,” she continued. “I had to buy a gas mask for my 9-year-old daughter. SPD repeatedly lied about why they did it. They said an umbrella was a riot and a candle was a bomb. I mean, there were a lot of things that were going on at that time and I was angry.”

Seattle city attorney candidate defends past inflammatory tweets as ‘satire and sarcasm’

“And so I definitely trolled police at that time on Twitter,” she said. “I didn’t cause any property damage, I didn’t hurt a cop, I didn’t do anything like that, but I definitely spoke back to power on Twitter. I was not a candidate for office at that time. I was a private citizen, I defend the right of every private citizen to troll whoever they want on Twitter.”

She says she would not tweet like that as a candidate for office, and notes she wasn’t at the time.

Gee says there’s a lot that happened in 2020 that he would want police officers held accountable for, but he hasn’t tweeted it out. He asked if Thomas-Kennedy realizes that even if she didn’t take action against anyone, someone else could read her tweets, be empowered, and take action themselves toward police.

“It’s not like I was the President of the United States of America,” Thomas-Kennedy responded. “I was a private citizen. A lot of those tweets have one ‘like’ maybe, I think the most have six likes. … I’m sorry, I guess I didn’t think anybody took me that seriously.”

Host Ursula Reutin says police officers and community members do take it seriously. She asked Thomas-Kennedy how police officers can feel like she will represent them in civil litigation as city attorney or have their back.

“Because I’m a professional. I’m a professional lawyer,” Thomas-Kennedy answered. “I’ve done over 600 cases and I’ve never lost a trial. I was a public defender, which means I don’t get to choose the cases. I defend the people that are brought to me, I defend my clients, and I always have. And so whether my client is the city or whether my client is the residents of the city, that is what the job is. And I have shown that I can do that job very well.”

Listen to the full interview with Nicole Thomas-Kennedy in the audio player above or online here.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Data shows pandemic has impacted learning for Washington students

Test scores in Washington have dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, with just 30% of students in grades 4-11 meeting standards in math.
1 day ago
dan price...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gee interviews CEO Dan Price on latest episode of ‘Leaving a Legacy’

On episode three of “Leaving a Legacy,” Gee Scott interviews Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price, who famously paid all his employees a $70,000 minimum salary.
1 day ago
Free speech, election fraud...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: No winners in battle over limiting free speech in Washington

Proposals that seek to limit aspects of free speech are coming from both sides of the aisle during the current legislative session in Washington state.
2 days ago
Bruce Harrell inaugural address...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Seattle Mayor Harrell looks to form third public safety department for unarmed responders

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell wants to supplement the city's police and fire departments with a third public safety department.
6 days ago
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Report shows most Kroger grocery workers struggle to afford food

A new report shows that more than two-thirds of Kroger grocery workers are struggling to afford food, housing, or other basic needs.
7 days ago
amanda knox...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gee interviews Amanda Knox on new podcast

On “Leaving a Legacy,” Gee interviews Amanda Knox -- an author, activist, and journalist who was wrongly convicted in the murder her roommate.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
‘I didn’t think anybody took me that seriously,’ Seattle candidate says about anti-police tweets