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Somebody is throwing bags of poop in Kshama Sawant’s yard and SPD reportedly doesn’t give a shit — UPDATE

Oct 18, 2023

Somebody is throwing bags of suspected human poop into City Councilmember Kshama Sawant's Central District yard. The District 3 representative is calling on Mayor Bruce Harrell to direct the Seattle Police Department to do more to investigate what Sawant is calling "a series of disturbing incidents at my home."

She also says she has photos and video of the man Sawant says was caught in the act that police aren't using to pursue the case.

UPDATE 10/20/2022 4:45 PM: SPD has posted pictures of a suspect and is asking the public for help identify the masked man.

Can you help identify man suspected of throwing feces at city council member's home?

— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) October 20, 2022

In a press release sent by the Socialist Alternative political group Sawant heads and not from her City Hall office, the veteran councilmember shares a letter sent to Harrell documenting six attacks involving excrement and what Sawant says has been SPD's apathy in investigating the fecal matter.

"As a socialist City Councilmember who has participated in Black Lives Matter protests, I am being told that my case of six threatening incidents involving human excrement doesn't merit even a serious investigation, let alone protection," Sawant writes.

Sawant also criticizes the SPD leak of information from the case to "right-wing media" that she says has encouraged "further attacks" on her and her family.

Sawant's full letter is below.

We have asked the mayor's office for a statement and will update when we hear back.

Now the longest serving member on the council, Sawant faced down a hard fought recall battle last year but remains a divisive figure in Seattle politics. That recall fight hinged on charges including Sawant's participation in a protest march to then-Mayor Jenny Durkan's home address that had been kept secret due to her past role as a federal prosecutor.

Threats against her have made past headlines but the latest incident involves a more direct assault on the councilmember's private life and follows a disturbing incident earlier this year involving an armed man making threats outside the Seattle home of Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Security for Seattle electeds facing threats, meanwhile, isn't unheard of including Durkan's permanent SPD security detail following the march that got Sawant in political hot water in the recall.

In her letter, Sawant says SPD has closed its investigation and did not follow up on a threatening email calling her "the queen of shit" and saying the councilmember "can sit on your throne of human excrement."

Sawant's full letter to Harrell is below:

I am writing to express my concern that the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is failing to investigate a series of disturbing incidents at my home. Six times now, bags of human excrement have been thrown into my yard, most recently on Thursday, October 13th. The events seem likely to be politically motivated, given their targeted nature and repetition.

The material used in these repeated attacks is classified as biohazardous waste.The police informed me the material can't be sent to their lab for further investigation due to its hazardous nature. That seems quite odd considering that hospital labs do tests on human fecal matter all the time, but it does speak to the danger of having it repeatedly thrown in one's yard. It does not help that on at least one occasion, our dogs got into one of the bags before we realized what had happened. We had to call the animal poison control hotline, not knowing what the material was.

Most concerning is the very high likelihood that this extreme and hostile behavior is politically motivated, and could turn into more serious and dangerous harassment.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that the Seattle Police Department agrees that this is in any way a serious matter. I was informed yesterday, just five days after an investigation was opened on October 13th, that the case is being inactivated and no longer pursued at this time. This was after my husband reported an earlier incident (the fourth) on October 8th, when SPD officers immediately asked him, "What do you expect us to do?" and did not open an investigation.

There is obviously a glaring inconsistency between this approach and the way in which former Mayor Durkan, after a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest was held a short distance from her mansion, was provided with a 24-hour stakeout for a full year. As a socialist City Councilmember who has participated in Black Lives Matter protests, I am being told that my case of six threatening incidents involving human excrement doesn't merit even a serious investigation, let alone protection.

I’m also told that the police did not follow up regarding a potentially-related threatening email recently sent to my City Council office, which includes the language "the queen of shit" and "you can sit on your throne of human excrement," even so far as to determine the sender of the email. The police also failed to do basic follow-up with our neighbors who have security cameras, after assuring us they would do so. We found out yesterday from our immediate neighbor — who has a security camera facing the area where the incidents occurred — that she was never contacted, though she's happy to provide any footage requested.

We do, in fact, have video and photos of the person responsible, though it is not because of any police investigation. In the absence of any police support, members of my organization, Socialist Alternative, held a community safety watch outside of my house. Two of these community members witnessed the individual in the act and have a video where they question him immediately afterward. The police did not bother to even interview either of these two community members.

We’re also now being told by the police that they won't be posting the video or photo publicly in order to identify the person responsible, and that they will not make any further efforts to attempt to identify this person. We can understand the hesitation to post such a video, but don't understand the failure to follow up generally in this matter. Most of all, it is outrageous that the police have decided to deactivate the investigation after having barely launched it.

I am also deeply concerned that information about this investigation was apparently leaked to the right-wing media by Seattle Police. A number of details included in the media could only have been provided by police. This leak is no small matter because the right-wing articles now serve to encourage further attacks on me and my family. Already on social media there are a number of right-wing posts praising the throwing of feces in my yard and calling for more of the same, or worse. This leak is a very serious matter, and I will be filing a complaint with the Office of Police Accountability.

I appreciate the efforts of Detective Belshay and of the two other officers who came on Saturday to attempt to get fingerprints. However, it appears those efforts by the officers are being completely undermined by the department and its leadership.

So much so, that after having reported these serious incidents to the SPD, my family now find ourselves in a far more unsafe position than before. The investigation has been dropped almost immediately as it was begun, and now the right-wing is further on the attack likely because of one or more unethical leaks from the police department. This unfortunately is not a new experience. Last year, when I had received multiple threatening emails from a firefighter, the details of that case were also soon leaked — at the same time I was told I could not be given any updates in the case, the right-wing media was kept well-informed.

Is this the kind of "help" working people and communities of color can expect from the Seattle Police?

Do you, Chief Diaz, endorse the approach your department has taken to this serious issue? Do you, Mayor Harrell, endorse the decisions of this department?

I believe that working people should feel safe in their communities and their homes. It is deeply unfortunate that the experience of so many working people and communities of color is severely biased policing, lack of support when needed, or far worse. The right-wing culture of the SPD and other departments is also deeply concerning, and the links to right-wing media is just one aspect of that. The SPD being responsible for the largest single delegation of officers to participate in the January 6 attempted coup by the far right in Washington, D.C. is another.

For all these reasons and more, I support democratically-elected community oversight of the police, here and nationally, with full powers to hold the police accountable and set department policy. As I have made clear on many occasions, I do not agree with those who call for the abolition of the police, because that is not possible under the bankrupt system of capitalism.

Needless to say, it is disturbing that right-wing media, including a police-run website named, portrays these attacks on my home as justified against an elected representative who has the temerity to criticize the police or attempt to hold them accountable. That is certainly a dangerous direction, especially if it is embraced by police and de facto supported by SPD leadership and the city's Democratic Party establishment.

UPDATE 4:05 PM: In a statement sent to CHS, a spokesperson for Harrell said the mayor's office has been "assured that SPD will follow all standard protocols and practices regarding these incidents" —

These incidents go against our core values as a city. Elected officials should not be harassed at their homes. While Mayor Harrell does not direct individual investigations, we have been assured that SPD will follow all standard protocols and practices regarding these incidents in the appropriate manner. The mayor has spoken directly to Councilmember Sawant to discuss and understand her concerns.

UPDATE 4:55 PM: Here's the statement SPD is sending to media about the investigation. We’ve asked for more information about how the department is responding to Sawant's concerns over providing security at her residence and the media leaks in the case.

The Seattle Police Department continues to work to identify a man suspected of leaving human waste at the home of a city councilmember. The department takes incidents involving public officials seriously, and investigators have canvassed for evidence, gathered information from witnesses and reviewed everything collected thus far. At this time, the department has not found any evidence this case would meet the city or state standards for hate crime laws, but SPD will follow available leads should new information arise. The department encourages anyone with additional information about this case to contact police.

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UPDATE 10/20/2022 4:45 PM Mayor Jenny Durkan's Rep. Pramila Jayapal UPDATE 4:05 PM UPDATE 4:55 PM CHS SPRING SUBSCRIBER DRIVE subscribing to CHS