Socialist Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama’s Sawant’s office is working with a lawyers’ guild to propose legislation to “prevent the Seattle Police Department from participating in outrages” in light of the large Sea-Tac Airport protest.
Sawant and her staff have not clearly defined “outrages” or how that would differ from current policies. The councilwoman's office told KIRO 7 they wouldn’t release additional information until the proposed legislation is done.
In late January, at least 3,000 people gathered at Sea-Tac Airport in opposition to President Donald Trump's travel ban in January that barred travelers from seven predominantly Muslim-majority countries from coming into the United States.
Seattle police were one of 11 agencies that responded to the Sea-Tac protest, and a department spokesman said its officers had “no significant use of force or arrests.” Port of Seattle police defend their own actions because of security concerns.
But some leaders and activists still question law enforcement’s handling of the protesters – one focus including a video showing an officer spraying in direction of protesters.
Days later Sawant's office announced it is working on legislation, specifically mentioning Seattle police.
KIRO 7 News reached out to Sawant’s office asking for clarity on what her office meant by “outrages.” This statement from Sawant was sent to KIRO 7 News on Tuesday.
Sea-Tac Airport officials are defending the way they responded. KIRO 7 News attended a Port of Seattle commission meeting on Tuesday where airport director Lance Lyttle explained he was trying to balance freedom of speech with the safety and security of everyone at the airport.
Lyttle said the situation escalated to a safety and security concern when, he said, protesters became violent. In addition to the pepper spray and bicycle barricade, the light rail skipped the airport during the protest.
“That's when the dispersal order was given because it was now getting out of control, happening at multiple points throughout the airport,” Lyttle added.
The Port of Seattle Commission wants to review the incident to see what they can learn from it. Port of Seattle interim police Chief Ron Covey said he gathering information from the 11 departments that responded. He said they should have a completed report by March 6.
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