Seattle, WA – A Seattle radio host who previously claimed the Seattle riots were peaceful quickly changed his tune after rioters set the Starbucks located in the first floor of his apartment building on fire last Saturday.
ESPN radio host Paul Gallant poo-pooed President Donald Trump’s concerns about the burning and looting in Seattle in a tweet in June, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Seattle Mayor says, about the anarchists takeover of her city, ‘it is a Summer of Love’. These Liberal Dems don’t have a clue. The terrorists burn and pillage our cities, and they think it is just wonderful, even the death. Must end this Seattle takeover now!” President Trump tweeted on June 12.
“Walked through it last night out of curiosity and saw no burning, pillaging, or deaths. Chill dawg,” Gallant replied.
Walked through it last night out of curiosity and saw no burning, pillaging, or deaths. Chill dawg
— Paul Gallant (@GallantSays) June 12, 2020
Multiple people were shot, and several were killed, during the cop-free occupation of what was called the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) before Seattle police cleared the area.
Two of the shooting victims who died were juveniles.
But when violent activists rioted their way across Seattle on July 25 and crossed through Gallant’s own neighborhood, the ESPN host had a very different perspective.
More than 5,000 protesters began gathering at about 1 p.m. on July 25 for what began as a peaceful protest.
The march in support of the months of Black Lives Matter protests and rioting in Portland started out at East Pine Street and Broadway and stretched for more than a city block, KIRO reported.
But at around 4 p.m., the protest devolved into a riot as violent activists targeted the construction site of the former King County Youth Detention Center, which is being turned into a parking lot.
Rioters had brought sledgehammers with them on the march, and used them to smash the windshields of employees cars in the parking lot, KIRO reported.
They also scaled a fence and firebombed a row of construction trailers located on 12th Avenue.
From the construction site, the vandalism and destruction continued up the street and multiple businesses were attacked, KIRO reported.
A Starbucks at 12th Avenue and Columbia Street had its windows smashed and was looted before it was set on fire, KTTH reported.
The Starbucks was located on the first floor of an occupied apartment building and residents had to be evacuated when it was set ablaze.
Gallant tweeted that he lived in that Starbucks and came home to find his building vandalized and partially burned.
Came home to my apartment complex. The Starbucks underneath has been destroyed, and cops are telling us to stay away in case something explosive is inside. pic.twitter.com/OOJgzUmusk
— Paul Gallant (@GallantSays) July 25, 2020
I feel like I need to buy a firearm, because clearly this is going to keep happening. Enough is enough. It looks like a block party down the street from me. Really angry right now.
— Paul Gallant (@GallantSays) July 25, 2020
He did not classify the actions of the rioters to be peaceful when his own building was destroyed and was widely mocked for the double standard on social media, including numerous accusations that the radio host suffered from “Not In My Back Yard” (NIMBY) syndrome.
“Trump wanted to help in June but you trolled him that he should stay out because you don’t see any problem. You cared less when someone else’s street was in anarchy a few weeks back. Now it’s your place. Sad but this is how it always [works]. Good luck buying a firearm,” Yossi Gestetner tweeted.
Gallant should have expected the rioting to be bad over the weekend because he was warned by local officials.
The day before the riot, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best sent out a letter to residents and businesses to let them know that the new city ordinance banning the use of crowd control weapons would go into effect on Saturday, and at that point, they were on their own as far as defending their property.
“Please know that the Seattle Police Department is committed to addressing life safety incidents and calls for service, and responding to ongoing demonstrations and unrest in the city,” Chief Best wrote in letter dated July 24.
“Please also know that the City Council Ordinance 119805 Crowd Control Tool goes into effect this weekend on Sunday, July 26, 2020. This ordinance bans Seattle Police officers the use of less lethal tools, including pepper spray that is commonly used to disperse crowds that have turned violent,” the chief wrote.
“Simply put, the legislation gives officers no ability to safely intercede to preserve property in the midst of a large, violent crowd,” the chief explained.
She said in the letter that she had notified the Seattle City Council about what was going to happen multiple times, and shared a copy of the letter she had sent to the lawmakers, Westside Seattle reported.
Chief Best warned the city council in a letter on Thursday about violent riots expected as soon as the weapons ban went into effect, and said she couldn’t send officers in to stop the riots if she wasn’t allowed to properly equip them, according to Westside Seattle.
“Under these circumstances, as created by Council, we cannot manage demonstrations as we have in the past,” the chief wrote. “If I am not allowed to lawfully equip officers with the tools they have been trained to use to protect the community and themselves, it would be reckless to have them confront this level of violence under the current legal restrictions imposed by Council.”
But U.S. District Judge James Robart issued a temporary restraining order during an emergency hearing late on Friday night that put a hold on the city’s new ordinance, the Seattle Patch reported.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed the challenge to the city’s ban on less-lethal tactical devices and argued that it conflicted with the consent decree in the federal oversight agreement that has been in effect since 2012.
Robart called the injunction “very temporary” and said he would rule after he had feedback from the city’s three police accountability branches, Seattle Patch reported.
The judge said he didn’t think it would increase public safety to take away all of the officers’ crowd-control tools in the middle of violent protests without training them in “alternate mechanisms to de-escalate and resolve dangerous situations” during rioting.
Chief Best said police used pepper spray, pepper balls, and 40 mm sponge rounds but did not deploy tear gas.
Fifty-nine police officers were injured in the attack on the precinct.
Police arrested 47 protesters for assault on officers, obstruction, and failure to disperse, KIRO reported.