Rantz: WSP refers anti-Israel Seattle protesters for charges, hunts down others

Feb 9, 2024, 6:26 PM | Updated: Feb 20, 2024, 12:21 pm

protest I-5...

Protesters block a portion of Interstate 5 in Seattle on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. (Photo: Jason Rantz, AM 770 KTTH)

(Photo: Jason Rantz, AM 770 KTTH)

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) recommended charges against five anti-Israel activists to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Friday. The recommendations stem from an illegal protest that shut down Interstate 5 (I-5) in Seattle for hours last month.

The suspects include three males and two females, but they have not yet been identified. Charges include second degree criminal trespass, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct, and obstruction. King County Jail does not book on these types of alleged crimes. Thus, none of the five likely saw any time in jail.

Two other activists have been identified and remain under investigation. In addition, dozens more are still being identified.

Snarling traffic for hours

Dozens of activists blocked I-5 for over five hours on Jan. 6, calling for an end to Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists following the Oct. 7, 2023 slaughter of innocent Jews.

The activists cut through security fencing to get on I-5, according to WSP, and ignored several police warnings to disperse. Since the terrorist attack, antisemitic activists have taken to the streets in Seattle and around the world to show support for Hamas, chanting that their “resistance is justified” because they falsely believe Israel is an “occupying force” in Gaza.

According to WSP, at one point, “eight activists bound themselves together in a manner designed to further delay attempts at safe evacuation.”

“While free speech is a sacred right in our democratic system, protests that have illegally moved onto and caused the closing of our freeways and streets have led to deadly outcomes in our state and others and WSP is committed to deterring future incidents,” a WSP spokesperson said in a press release.

Who are the rest?

Detectives are working to identify several other activists who helped shut down the freeway.

In a Friday evening press release, the WSP released images of dozens of protesters of interest, asking the public to send any tips.

“Stepping foot on a freeway to highlight your own individual cause is a self-centered act that is dangerous, foolhardy, disruptive, and most assuredly illegal,” WSP Chief John R. Batiste said in the statement. “We have asked for public assistance in identifying suspected law breakers during otherwise legal protests before and we do so when we see behavior that is too dangerous to be tolerated. We will exhaust all possible investigatory efforts to catch those responsible and deter others from engaging in similarly dangerous behavior in the future.”

Social media helped identify some activists

Using intel and social media videos, detectives reviewed 40 hours of on-site video. WSP says they received additional video from concerned citizens.

Some activists, like business owner Rizwan Samad, posted videos from the freeway on the day of the protest. He admitted to illegally blocking traffic. After an hour of “resistance” (which they justify as much as they do the rape, kidnapping, and murder of innocent Jews by Hamas), he posted a video.

“We blocked the I-5 North Seattle for the last 3 hours. Seattle and State police have several warnings. At any moment, they are going to arrest us,” he said.

It’s unclear if Samad is one of the suspects referred by the WSP.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram, and  Facebook.

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Rantz: WSP refers anti-Israel Seattle protesters for charges, hunts down others