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Anti-Police Councilwoman Demands Police Investigation Into Threats She Never Reported To Them

Seattle, WA – A socialist Seattle City councilmember facing potential recall has publicly demanded that the city’s police force investigate threatening emails she allegedly received, even though she never reported them to the police department in the first place.

In a Jan. 18 letter to Seattle Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin, Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, and Seattle Firefighters Union President Kenny Stuart, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant alleged that a handful of emails she has received since Dec. 17 have become “increasingly threatening” and appear to be coming from a Seattle Fire Department email account.

Sawant said she’s grown accustomed to receiving threats since she was elected in 2013, and noted that most of them have been “racist, xenophobic, and misogynist,” but “not specific enough in nature to be taken as immediate threats to safety.”

“They have come with increased frequency recently, which is not surprising given the fury of the right wing at the role my office has played in the Black Lives Matter movement, other progressive movements, and the impact of socialist politics in Seattle,” her letter read.

Sawant said she began receiving threatening emails from a City of Seattle employee’s account on Dec. 17, demanding that she step down.

She included copies of the emails in her letter to city officials.

“After the actions of this Summer, I just don’t think you know what you are doing,” the Dec. 17 message read. “I feel it best if you just leave town. If you know what’s good, you would know it’s time to go. If you need help leaving, try jumping head first off the top floor of your building. I’ll even come push you.”

Another message sent two days later warned her to “get out of this city or else,” according to Sawant.

“If you don’t willing[ly] leave, we will make that decision for you by any means necessary,” a Jan. 4 email read.

“The time is here, and you will not have a place after tomorrow council woman,” the alleged city employee said in another message on Jan. 18. “Announce your resignation now, or else.”

Sawant said it is especially important that the threats against her be taken seriously due to the “emboldened right wing” movement sweeping the nation, and said there could be a “possible link” between the emails she received and “far right protests planned for Biden’s inauguration.”

The city councilwoman said she received a message from Seattle Fire Department (SFD) Executive Director of Administration Helen Fitzpatrick on Dec. 31 telling her that the employee affiliated with the email account the threats came from claimed to have no knowledge of them and denied he sent them.

Fitzpatrick said an SFD investigator was “looking into the matter.”

It is unclear how SFD learned of the threatening emails in the first place.

But when Sawant received two more threats in January from the same account, she said she started to doubt that anything was being done to protect her.

“How is it possible that these threatening emails have been allowed to continue?” she said in the letter. “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?”

“I hope that in fact real action has been taken, but these facts begin to strain credulity,” she added.

Although she neglected to report the alleged “immediate threat” to the SPD since the messages began, Sawant said it is now time for police to launch an investigation “with real urgency.”

According to the SPD, Sawant never reported the emails to police and they only learned of her allegations after her public complaint, KTTH reported.

“Given that the Fire Department appears not to have taken this matter seriously, I request that Mayor Jenny Durkan and interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz follow up with real urgency on this immediate threat,” she wrote in the letter.

Sawant also called on the firefighters’ union leaders to “open a discussion among its members to make it clear that violent threats will not be tolerated and have no place in the labor movement.”

She noted that she is “not the only left-wing elected official under threat,” and went on to criticize U.S. Capitol police for allegedly allowing a “right-wing mob to walk right up the Capitol steps unhindered” during the riot on Jan. 6.

Sawant said the police response at the U.S. Capitol contrasted sharply with “the police violence used against peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters across the nation all summer.”

“While the threats are directly at me personally, I and others recognize that they are in fact directed against our entire movement,” Sawant wrote. “They are attacking me as a means of threatening all who dare to fight for workers’ rights and against racism, sexism, and oppression which stem from the capitalist system.”

The socialist councilwoman issued the demand for an investigation to the same police department she has been working to defund by 50 percent, KTTH reported.

SPD Sergeant Randy Huserik said the department launched an investigation immediately after learning about the threats on Jan. 19, The Seattle Times reported.

“The SPD takes threats against public officials — and all hate speech — very seriously, so investigators from the Department’s Intelligence Unit are now working to identify a potential suspect,” Sgt. Huserik told the paper.

Sawant is also facing a potential recall due to allegations she was responsible for leading a mob of protesters to Durkan’s home last year and for her alleged role in helping to establish the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) autonomous zone this past summer, according to KIRO.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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