“Unfortunately, while Donald Trump’s Department of Justice and Jenny Durkan’s Seattle Police Department are superficially the two sides of this court case, they are in total agreement on repression of protests, and both want to continue to use the weapons with impunity.”
Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle), chair of the Council’s Sustainability and Renters Rights Committee, released the following statement after Judge James Robart granted a temporary restraining order preventing the Seattle Police Department from implementing the City Council’s ban on crowd-control weapons.
The Seattle City Council unanimously passed its crowd-control weapons ban on June 15, 2020. The ordinance, sponsored by Sawant, banned police use of chemical weapons and other so-called “crowd control” devices.
“Just over a month ago, Seattle’s #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd movement won a historic victory, when the City Council voted unanimously on the ordinance from my office to ban police use and purchase of militarized weapons such as tear gas, flash bangs, and blast balls.
“Seattle became the first American city with this ban, after the city’s police – under the watch of Democratic establishment Mayor Jenny Durkan – had viciously used the weapons repeatedly against the Black Lives Matter protests.
“Now a federal judge has shamefully ruled that these weapons can continue to be used by Seattle police. While the judge says this is temporary, our movement understands this is a serious threat. It is particularly chilling that this comes in tandem with Trump’s decision to send border patrol agents like an occupying army into Seattle.
“Just like in Portland, Seattle’s working people will courageously protest and march against this horrific decision. Rather than ensure that peaceful protestors are kept safe from federal agents, this court ruling reveals the brutality of American capitalism readying its full arsenal of weapons to attempt to violently suppress demonstrations.
“Unfortunately, while Donald Trump’s Department of Justice and Jenny Durkan’s Seattle Police Department are superficially the two sides of this court case, they are in total agreement on repression of protests, and both want to continue to use the weapons with impunity. We will need continued peaceful resistance to send the courts a clear message that our movement demands its right to protest without being met by the heavily-armed forces of militarized police prepared and planning to inflict harm.”