Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant is a Democratic Socialist and she may soon cost her city a pretty penny.
Two Seattle police officers are suing Sawant for defamation…
According to Officers Scott Miller and Michael Spalding, Sawant publicly and falsely accused them of a “brutal murder.” Sawant was referring to the shooting of Che Taylor. A jury later cleared both officers of any wrongdoing.
Miller and Spalding argue that Sawant’s outburst was, in fact, defamation. In their suit, they allege that Sawant, an “ambitious politician,” “ruined” their “reputations” for “personal gain.” Further, Sawant’s statement “implied awareness of inside factual information,” of which she had none. Indeed, “[Sawant] tried and convicted the officers herself in the court of public opinion.” Again, a jury found that Miller and Spalding “believed that Taylor … posed a threat of death or serious injury.” They did not act unlawfully.
Currently, the fate of the officers’ suit is unclear. Defamation, of course, is hard to prove – and rightfully so, according to ACLU legal director Emily Chiang. “We want people, including our public officials, to be able to speak freely,” she says, “without fear” of lawsuits. Miller and Spalding would have to prove not only that Sawant acted maliciously, but that her malice was directed, specifically, at them. Her remark – “brutal murder” – could be interpreted as a general condemnation.
Further, as all parties involved are public figures, Miller and Spalding will have to prove that Sawant was lying, purposefully, or that she was being “recklessly negligent.”
Who is Kshama Sawant?
In their suit, Miller and Spalding refer to Sawant as a “socialist folk hero.” While acerbic, this label is not far from the truth. Kshama Sawant really is a proud socialist. In fact, she is the “first socialist elected in Seattle in 100 years.”
One of Sawant’s major goals was to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. Ultimately, she was victorious.
However, Seattle’s minimum wage hike has had mixed results, to say the least. According to one study, the “costs to low-wage workers in Seattle outweighed the benefits by a ratio of three to one.” Employers have had to “cut their payrolls, [put] off new hiring, [reduce] hours, or [let] their workers go.” Interestingly, none of this is mentioned on Sawant’s website.
Unsurprisingly, Sawant wants to “Tax the Rich!” Specifically, she calls for a “Millionaire’s Tax to fund mass transit, education, and social services.” She also wants to tax “large corporations” via “an employer head tax,” a “major increase in developer impact fees,” and even an “increased tax” on “parking lot owners.” Sawant also believes in the gender pay gap.
In short, Kshama Sawant wants to spread the wealth. Also, parking lots are bourgeois. But what about her social views?
Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant
Sawant dedicates an entire page on her website to the Black Lives Matter movement. She calls, among other things, for an “elected community oversight board” to have “full powers over the police.” Why? The police are “biased.”
Indeed, Sawant’s apparent animus toward police will no doubt play a key role in Miller and Spalding’s suit. Did her remark (“brutal murder”) stem from a desire to earn political points? Was she playing to her base? Was it predictable, if not inevitable, the outgrowth of her views regarding Seattle’s “biased” police force?
Kshama Sawant: Weirdly Expensive, For a Socialist
Seattle City Council voted today to tax the rich! Congratulations to the Trump Proof Seattle Coalition, Socialist Alternative, and all the activists who have fought for this!
Fascinatingly, Sawant never explains how she wishes to accomplish socialism – that is, the abolition of private property – via “democratic” means. What if people are unwilling to go along with her vision? What would she do with all those retrograde capitalists?
Sawant is also no stranger to controversy – or defamation suits, for that matter. She is also being sued for defamation by a notorious Seattle landlord. In all, Seattle may pay up to $300,000 in litigation costs to defend her.
On a final note, 3,257 people have signed a petition to stop Seattle from defending Sawant’s lawsuits. They believe that “the people of Seattle deserve to have their tax dollars spent more prudently.”
(H/T: Seattle Times)