Seattle City Council President M. Lorena González issued a statement Tuesday in response to “targeted protests at the homes of council members.”
Some people have protested outside the homes of council members Alex Pedersen and Debora Juarez recently. Pedersen and Juarez have said they support making cuts to the Police Department’s budget but have not, unlike their colleagues, committed to a goal of defunding the department by 50%.
Defunding advocates say money should be transferred from a police department with officers who too often hurt Black people and others to community-based solutions that can better prevent and resolve crimes.
“I want to acknowledge the frustration that people in our community are experiencing during this trying time,” González said in a news release.
“Political pressure, demonstrations and advocacy are part of how people in America disrupt the status quo and meaningfully move governments towards social change,” the council president added. “Our collective efforts, however, cannot devolve into personal attacks, intimidation or potential violence.”
Earlier Tuesday, the Neighborhood for Smart Streets political action committee, which backed Pedersen and Juarez in last year’s elections, sent out an email asking residents to pressure González and the council’s other citywide representative, Teresa Mosqueda, to denounce the targeted protests. Pedersen represents Northeast Seattle and Juarez represents North Seattle.
Protesters have made noise at night outside Pedersen’s Ravenna home and written messages on his door (such as “Don’t be racist trash”) — in pen and on post-it notes, according to the PAC. They have left literature about defunding the police on Juarez’s Lake City doorstep and marched past, the PAC said.
Juarez didn’t immediately comment Tuesday. Pedersen sees “common ground … to dramatically reimagine policing” and respects protests but objected to “harassment and vandalism” at his home that included profanities written on his door and on windows, he said.
In an email, North Seattle resident Tsukina Blessing said she attended a daytime march at Juarez’s house partly because it’s been more difficult to interact with council members during the pandemic. She said protesters were reminded to stay off the lawn and leave no trace other than a letter.
A large group of protesters visited Mayor Jenny Durkan’s house last month, and her property was tagged with spray paint; her address is protected under a state confidentiality program due to threats related to her time as a U.S. attorney. Durkan asked the council to investigate Councilmember Kshama Sawant, partly for taking part in that action. González declined.
“People have taken to ‘doxxing’ the personal phone numbers and home addresses of elected officials and community leaders, when they do not share your point of view,” González said in her statement Tuesday.
“Demonstrations are a protest tool but using that tool to create an environment by which people and their family members feel unsafe in their own homes is not something I can support,” she added, urging protesters and her colleagues to engage with each other in other ways.