Seattle city attorney candidate Nicole Thomas-Kennedy’s inflammatory use of Twitter has revealed the immense risk of electing this political firebrand.

Before liberal-minded voters hand Thomas-Kennedy the keys to the city’s law firm and power over misdemeanor prosecutions, Thomas-Kennedy’s troubling online history and her proposals to eviscerate the justice system require a wary evaluation.

The case for Ann Davison as city attorney grows only stronger

Thomas-Kennedy is campaigning as an advocate for abolishing police, jails and prosecution of many misdemeanor offenses. Online, she is also a prolific toxic presence who repeatedly cheered violence against police and lobbed a range of sweeping, crude insults against the justice system. Among many noxious examples: Last December, Twitter’s “@ntkallday” publicly responded to a holiday message from Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz with “Eat some covid laced shit & quit ur (sic) jobs.” 

Another reply to Seattle police, from July 25, 2020: “Thank you to the heroes that set the Children’s Jail on fire.” 

Screengrab from Nicole Thomas-Kennedy’s Twitter account.

One from July 11, 2020: “I’m way left but atm (at the moment) can only tweet about my rabid hatred of the police. I currently read like a single issue law enforcement abolition anarchist.” 

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Among other broadsides, she insulted the existence of the U.S. Supreme Court “SCOTUS has never been legit,” called a massive protest fire in Wisconsin “a good start” and wrote in September 2020 that “I have not taken any of this anti bias training but i (sic) for sure hate this country.” 

That last tweet is among several dozen she has deleted during the last few weeks before ballots are cast, after months on public display. It can still be found in the nonpartisan records maintained at archive.org. She has not retracted the toxic sentiments. Rather than apologize, she said the tweets predated her candidacy and shrugged them off. “I am not a political insider, and I did not choose my words very carefully,” she told The Times’ Jim Brunner.

That’s the point.

Public service needs people who behave like words and actions have consequences, not candidates who mask their reckless aggressions behind niceties during late-stage campaigning. Thomas-Kennedy hasn’t recanted calling property destruction “a moral imperative,” just the way she said it. Her advocacy of “abolition” — ending jails and policing — includes antagonizing police openly, and she would be declining prosecution on most, or all, of the misdemeanor cases officers bring in. Her existing Twitter stream still contains numerous posts praising riots. This is who she is and why she is unfit to be city attorney.

Former Washington Govs. Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire were right to say Thomas-Kennedy’s high-risk, crime-tolerant proposals and online antics are disqualifying. Regrettably, these two Democratic stalwarts have been attacked for daring to endorse the well-qualified Ann Davison for city attorney, a nonpartisan office, because Davison doesn’t pass a party purity test. Such partisan lockstep is an enemy of good governance.

Davison is a far stronger candidate for city attorney. She’s also the only reasonable one for voters who believe Seattle needs more civility, not online bombasticism and foolishness.