Letter Urging Pete Holmes to Drop the Charges Against Peaceful No New Youth Jail Protesters

Home » Letter Urging Pete Holmes to Drop the Charges Against Peaceful No New Youth Jail Protesters

On November 29, 2018 I sent the following letter to City Attorney Pete Holmes, urging him to drop all charges against the three clergy arrested while peacefully protesting the new youth jail.

Dear Pete Holmes,

I am writing to urge you to drop all charges against the three courageous members of the clergy who were arrested on April 20 while protesting peacefully at the new youth jail construction site. It is unacceptable that your office has used the power of the criminal justice system to attempt to repress their advocacy. This prosecution is a harmful waste of the resources of your office and the Seattle Municipal Court.

As I mentioned in a letter to you last April: “The activists were arrested while peacefully putting their bodies on the line for a righteous cause against the incarceration of young people, especially black and brown young people, in our society.” They should be congratulated on their courage, not faced with repression, and I hope that more people will be inspired to take a stand like this.

On Tuesday, you announced filing a motion to clear some nonviolent misdemeanor warrants in Seattle, which though limited, is a step in a good direction. In doing so, you said, “Public safety is well-served in this action, as this clears the field to allow officers to focus on finding those people who’ve committed more serious offenses.” Is peaceful protest a more serious offence? It is entirely inconsistent to prosecute the nonviolent demonstrators who are building the movement against youth detention and mass incarceration.

As Nikkita Oliver said in her article on Medium yesterday, “Seattle’s prosecution of the Anti-ICE 9, 16 climate justice protesters (fighting pipelines and tar sands), and now the three clergy for exercising their First Amendment right is repressive.”

Please drop all charges against these peaceful protesters. Join with me and the growing movement to demand an end to the construction of the youth jail, and to tax big business to fully fund public education, affordable housing, and social services.


Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3)