Sawant’s call to shut down highways on May Day ‘reckless and irresponsible’

Apr 26, 2017, 11:00 AM | Updated: 12:45 pm
Kshama Sawant, May Day...
Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant. (AP)

With May Day coming up, police and protesters are gearing up for what some are expecting to be the most confrontational event in years and Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s calls to shut down airports and highways is drawing the ire of the Washington State Patrol captain charged with keeping the freeways moving.

Captain Ron Mead says he won’t have any part of that kind of behavior.

“Any rhetoric like that in calling for the shutting down of freeways is reckless and irresponsible,” he said.

Mead oversees all of King County and says he’s outraged a local leader would jeopardize public safety with such an irresponsible and potentially dangerous incitement.

“While we respect people’s right to protest and other acts of civil disobedience, the freeways are simply no place to do that,” he said. “It’s unsafe for both protesters and motorists alike. And we are simply not going to tolerate that unlawful behavior of trying to shut down the interstate or state highway systems.”

Mead says such protests have the potential to block ambulances, police, and firefighters from responding quickly to emergencies.

RELATED: Seattle council affirms city workers get May Day off

He says state troopers have trained with Seattle Police and the Washington State Department of Transportation to ensure protesters get nowhere near on- and off-ramps, or the freeway.

“We work tirelessly,” Mead said. “My troopers work tirelessly every day at ensuring the flow of freeway traffic. We just cannot accept or tolerate unlawful behavior occurring on the freeways.”

But Sawant told KIRO Radio’s Hannah Scott she’s not about to back down.

“There are tens of thousands of potential peaceful activists in Seattle who will fight for their conscience, will fight for social justice, in a peaceful, non-violent but courageous and militant manner.”

We have seen increasing efforts by protesters to take the freeways. Several years ago they were briefly successful, bringing traffic to a halt. But over the past several years, police and state troopers have been able to keep them away and keep traffic moving.

Mead says it’s all hands on deck to make sure that trend continues.

“No trooper, no commissioned member of the Washington State Patrol in King County has Monday off. So, I mean, everybody that is assigned here from me on down will be working Monday.”

Local News

KIRO 7 News Staff

11-year-old injured in suspected road rage shooting on I-5 near Tacoma Mall

The shooting, which took place on northbound I-5 south of 38th Street near the Tacoma Mall, was reported at about 2:20 p.m.
1 day ago
Frank Sumrall

Lowland snow looming for Seattle region early next week

Washington is expecting anywhere from eight to 18 inches of snowfall in the passes from Saturday through Sunday night.
1 day ago
(KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Nearly 2 dozen people forced out of Tacoma apartments after Thanksgiving fire

Smoke and flames were seen on the second- and third-floor decks of one building and flames had spread into the attic.
1 day ago
Chris Wesolowicz (Photo courtesy of Wesolowicz Family GoFundMe)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Details emerge about man shot and killed in Southcenter parking garage

Mary Wesolowicz told KIRO 7 her husband was selfless, always putting others first, and in his final act, he did everything he could to save her.
1 day ago
(KIRO 7)...
Colleen West, KIRO 7 News

Federal Way gun owner charged after 8-year-old shoots 9-year-old brother in head

LeAnthony J. Todd, 18, was charged on Nov. 15 with first-degree community endangerment due to unsafe firearm storage.
1 day ago
plane crash...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Victims identified in Friday’s plane crash near Snohomish

Four people were killed last Friday after a small plane crashed into a field and caught fire near Snohomish.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Sawant’s call to shut down highways on May Day ‘reckless and irresponsible’