In a Seattle Times op-ed, Seattle City Council president Bruce Harrell announced his decision that the City of Seattle should pay Kshama Sawant’s legal fees in a defamation lawsuit brought against her by the Seattle Police officers who shot Che Taylor.
As council president, it is Harrell’s duty to determine if Sawant’s statements came “within the course and scope of employment.”
“the job of a council member is broader than just legislative activities conducted in council chambers … A council member’s job includes stepping outside to speak with their constituents on policy matters important to them and addressing controversial matters where every word or sentence can be construed for political meaning … Sawant acted within the scope of her duties as a council member.”
The officers, Scott Miller and Michael Spaulding, claim Sawant used the fatal shooting while naming the officers to further her own administrative agenda and political platform. The lawsuit filing says the two “do not want one red cent of public money.” Their claim alleges Sawant called the officers murderers and stated their decision to shoot Taylor as a product of racial profiling before the two had their day in court.
Sawant’s defense contends the council member continued to speak out on the issue for advocacy and accountability.