Seattle mayor asks city council to consider expelling member who led huge crowd to occupy City Hall

Councilwoman Kshama Sawant also reportedly led a protest to the mayor's private residence

Last Updated:
June 30, 2020 - 7:14pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan on Tuesday asked the City Council to investigate and consider expelling one of its members over what she claimed may have constituted "disorderly or otherwise contemptuous behavior," including leading large protests to City Hall and to Durkan's own private residence. 

Durkan in the letter requested that the council "exercise its charter duties and fully investigate Council member Kshama Sawant" for, among other things, "using her official position" to "admit hundreds of individuals at night into City Hall when it was closed to the public."

Sawant was observed earlier this month leading a huge crowd into Seattle's City Hall as part of sustained protests in the downtown. The councilwoman told media at the time that she believed it "essential that the power and uprising evident in the streets be seen in the halls of power in Seattle."

Durkan said that Sawant this past Sunday also encouraged activists to "occupy" the city's East Precinct police station "at a time the city has been trying to de-escalate the situation" there.

Activists earlier this month seized control of a part of the downtown including the East Precinct, delegating it the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone."

Durkan has throughout the month been largely tolerant of that forcible annexation, to the point that she has been named in a class-action lawsuit brought by numerous city businesses and residents. 

The mayor also claimed that Sawant "lead a march to [Durkan's] home," even though that address is "protected under the state confidentiality program."

"The City Council may choose to ignore and dismiss her actions," Durkan wrote in her letter, "but I think that undermines public confidence in our institutions."

The council "may punish or expel a member for disorderly or otherwise contemptuous behavior," she also said.

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