Who is Kshama Sawant? 'Defund the police' champ wants cops to nab person who threw poop at her house

Who is Kshama Sawant? 'Defund the police' champ wants cops to nab person who threw poop at her house
Kshama Sawant implied in a letter that cops had ignored her complaints in retaliation for her calls to defund the Seattle Police Department (Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: The 49-year-old councilmember Kshama Sawant, known as a critic of police who led efforts to defund the Seattle Police Department, is now criticizing police for “failing to investigate” six incidents in which the human feces was thrown into her lawn along with threatening emails calling her "the queen of s**t."

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According to Capitol Hill Seattle, on October 19, Sawant wrote a letter to Mayor Bruce Harrell, Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, and the City Council, claiming police are not doing enough to investigate the incidents. She wrote, “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."

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Talking about it, Sawant further said, "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."

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On October 20, Seattle Police did ask for the public's help to identify a suspect and released photos that were obtained by members of the group known as Socialist Alternative, who Sawant says held a "community safety watch" outside her home. The police said, "Friends of the victim were watching the home when the suspect threw a plastic bag, containing several individual bags of suspected human feces, into the yard. The friends confronted the suspect and snapped multiple photos as he ran away. Witnesses described the suspect, pictured below, as an Asian man, approximately 5-foot 4-inches tall." The department has asked anyone with additional information about these incidents or the suspect pictured below to call the SPD tip line at 206-233-5000.

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Who is Kshama Sawant?

Sawant was a leader of the charge to defund the police in Seattle over the last few years and proposed to cut down the department's budget by $85 million in 2020, KIRO7 reported. She was among the hundreds of protesters who occupied city hall in 2020 for about an hour, demanding then-Mayor Jenny Durkan resign and that the police department be defunded. 

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According to Seattle City Council, apart from being an activist, organizer, and socialist, Sawant is also a teacher, who grew up in India. She worked as a computer engineer and then, came to the US to study economics to understand the causes of oppression and poverty. After completing her PhD, she moved to Seattle and began teaching at Seattle Central Community College, Seattle University, and the University of Washington Tacoma. She joined Socialist Alternative in 2006, and since then has helped organize demonstrations for marriage equality, and participated in the movement to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She also has been an activist in her union, the American Federation of Teachers Local 1789, fighting against budget cuts and tuition hikes.

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