Last week, the Seattle City Council voted to slash funding for the police department, leading the city’s first black female police chief to resign. The council defunded the police even after antifa rioters had wreaked havoc on the city in the name of racial justice. In one particularly memorable case, rioters used a van loaded with explosives to blow open a police station. On Sunday, rioters fired explosives at police, wounding at least three of them. Some businesses in the city have had enough.
“What [the] city council has done has been more detrimental to our business than a global pandemic, by far, absolutely,” Joe Raetzer, co-owner of Steepologie Teas with his wife Andrea, told the Fox affiliate Q13 last week. His wife said there are “only so many times you can hire people and lay them off because they don’t want to be in this location, they already didn’t feel safe pre-COVID, pre-riots.”
Steepologie Teas boasted more than 300 loose-leaf teas on 4th Avenue. Seattle Apartments Magazine rated the tea shop “hands down the best tea in Seattle.” Now, the tea store has closed down permanently.
Of the city council’s move to cut police funding, Andrea Raetzer told Eater Seattle, “It might seem like a small cut, but this is where it starts. “The SPD was already shorthanded. We would have rather paid more taxes to help the homeless and drug crisis situation than take SPD off the streets.”
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Andrea Raetzer explained that protest is a feature of life in Seattle, but the violent rioters have completely subverted peaceful protest.
“Our ability to express ourselves and protest what we believe in now has completely been overtaken by violence and rioting and complete lack of respect for each other,” she told Q13. “I’m a Hispanic female, my mother wasn’t even born in this country, and I am proud to be a business owner in the city of Seattle. When you come to downtown Seattle during a time like this and you can’t see a single officer in the street corner, that is scary.”
Jamie Munson, owner of the gift shop Simply Seattle, also closed his store for good.
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“We’ve just been a constant target since opening the store three years ago,” Munson told King 5. “While we’re getting ready to close, four guys come into our 1st and Pine location, guys just come in, and aggressive, no regards for our staff or anything, just do whatever they want, grab armloads of stuff and walk out.”
Munson described “a string of break-ins, bricks through our windows, people coming in just in broad daylight with big groups, taking armloads of gear.” He said it is “hard to operate and keep our staff safe at the same time.”
While riots have continued almost nightly for more than two months in Portland, the more sporadic Seattle riots have also done a great deal of damage. Seattle also distinguished itself by hosting the Capitol Hill
Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) Occupied Protest (CHOP) also known as antifastan (no offense to Central Asian countries).
A riot on Sunday night served to underscore the continuation of the Emerald City’s violence.
Antifa rioters marched in protest against the police union, the Seattle Police Officer Guild building. About 100 rioters targeted the police union, with vehicles following behind them, Seattle Police reported. Shortly after 10 p.m., a rioter fired off a large explosive and tried to break the window of a police vehicle.
When an officer issued an order to disperse the crowd, antifa rioters pelted cops with rocks and water bottles. Some threw explosives at the police, injuring at least three of them. One of the officers was hospitalized. Police declared a riot and used blast balls to stop the assaults on officers.
Cops arrested eighteen rioters.
When antifa rioters turn the streets of Seattle into a war zone, they make the city unsafe for businesses — even the businesses owned by racial minorities, the people the rioters are ostensibly trying to help.
When budget cuts have already stretched the police thin, officers who have to spend all their time fighting violent rioters cannot defend the properties those rioters put in harm’s way. Looters have free reign as police are tied up. Perhaps even worse, murders go unsolved as police have to divert scarce resources to defending their own offices.
In her resignation letter, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best attempted to reassure her fellow cops. “Please trust me when I say, the vast majority of people in Seattle support you and appreciate you,” she wrote. Yet it seems the Seattle residents and business owners who appreciate police are getting pushed out by the crime exacerbated by the city council’s move to emasculate law enforcement.
Recent events may prove to be the death knell of a great American city.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.