Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle), chair of the Council’s Human Services, Equitable Development and Renters Rights, shared her open letter written in response to the arrest of a 13-year-old middle school student and climate justice activist last Friday during a demonstration outside Seattle City Hall, and directed to Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
In her letter, Sawant argued that “… any reasonable person who watches the video of the student being arrested will conclude that this (arrest) was completely unjustified.” Sawant went on to characterize the actions of SPD as “egregious and completely unnecessary”.
From the letter:
“…What makes the Police Department’s actions particularly galling is the fact that these peaceful young activists are helping build a movement to address the climate catastrophe that faces human society. The 20 warmest years on record occurred during the last 22 years. We’re seeing an alarming regularity of extreme weather events, from wildfires across Washington State and in California, heat waves across the world, to a new normal of “once-in-a-lifetime” storms super-charged by global warming.
In her letter, Sawant called on Seattle Police and Chief Best to explain “how the Department could possibly feel this shameful action served the cause of public safety,” and said the 13-year-old was owed an apology. Sawant also urged the County Prosecutor’s office to publicly and immediately announce they will not press charges.
Beginning last December, a group of students and young people have organized the weekly Fridays for Future Seattle protests.
“The role of Seattle’s young people especially underscores the continued stark failure of a political establishment beholden to big business interests – locally, nationally, and globally – to address the crisis,” Sawant continued.
She concluded her letter by urging community members to join the students and other activists on Friday at 1:00 p.m., Seattle City Hall Plaza (4th and James) to “stand in solidarity with the dedicated young people who are helping lead the way on climate justice.”