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‘KILLER COP’ — Why they busted into Rove

Groups smashed and burned their way across Capitol Hill in a night of protest late on a Wednesday two weeks ago. It wasn’t a new scene — Capitol Hill has seen “direct action” protests before. But as larger marches and rallies have stepped off on an expanded effort to reach more communities and different parts of the city, groups seeking to make a more forceful statement or simply looking to do more damage have increasingly marched alone across Capitol Hill and the Central District.

That night in late July, the damage to buildings and businesses by some in the groups may have looked like random vandalism and graffiti. But it was targeted. And the owner of one of those targets says the message from her shop’s goods being dragged into the street and set on fire has been delivered loud and clear. It is time for Rove to leave the neighborhood.

“It went viral which I was kind of expecting,” Rachel McNew said of the weeks she spent waiting for the threats to come to fruition as the story spread of a store on the edge of the CHOP protest zone owned by a cop’s wife.

“It got real real ugly, real real quick.”

McNew is married to a Seattle Police officer. Her fashion and vintage shop Rove opened on 11th Ave in early 2017. Her husband Steven McNew was one of the two officers who shot and killed Charleena Lyles later that year.

Three years later, as CHOP grew nearby, McNew says the threats increased as people began to post about Rove and its connection to the Lyles killing. The store had been boarded up for weeks due to the COVID-19 restrictions but not emptied. With CHOP’s presence, she was worried any attempt to move her goods out could set off a dangerous situation in the protest zone.

Similar concerns were a factor for CHS’s decision not to publish details about Rove during the protest camp. Earlier in July, the owner of a neighborhood business said they were contacting CHS and other Seattle media outlets to call for Rove’s closure. The store’s location in a 1913-era building below three floors of condos added to the worries and the decision not to add to a potentially dangerous situation. No Seattle media reported on Rove during CHOP.

It didn’t matter. In black spray paint, someone tagged the Rove storefront — “KILLER COP.” The story was out. People knew about Rove.

McNew said she tried deleting her social media but said the threats against the store became death threats against her and her husband. McNew said she supports Black Lives Matter causes but would not have been comfortable publicly addressing Lyles, the threats, and the store’s place in the Capitol Hill community.

“There was just nothing I can say at this point,” McNew said of the time.

The messages, McNew said, called her racist because of who she is married to. “People say I should have divorced him,” McNew said.

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

But, after weeks of waiting it out, the situation around the store changed quickly the night of July 22nd as a group marched around the East Precinct, and up and down the Hill.

One of the main targets on the night was the still under construction Uncle Ike’s expansion on E Olive Way which suffered fire damage. The store opened for business this week.

Rove was another. As the demonstrators marched near the East Precinct later in the night, protesters ripped down plywood and busted into the vintage store where they gathered  clothing and items from inside before setting the goods on fire in the street at 11th and Pike.

Photographs from the night show a bonfire-like blaze. Seattle Fire was called but did not respond after personnel from private security firm Iconic Global took care of stamping the fire out.

There was no reported fire damage to the building and its residents were not at risk but Rove suffered serious losses. McNew said she was at home and alerted by her security system of the break-in and fire but did not come to the scene.

There wasn’t anything to do, McNew said. It was time to close Rove and time for her to stop doing business in the neighborhood.

“Once they started burning stuff,” McNew said, “it just reinforced that Capitol Hill is not a safe area to conduct business.”

Regular demonstrations continue on Capitol Hill organized by “direct action” protesters separate from the Every Day March groups and other larger efforts organized by groups like King County Equity Now and Decriminalize Seattle. On a night earlier this week, the direct action marchers again circled the East Precinct for a few hours, turning over garbage cans, and dragging objects into the street before being corralled and pushed away from the area by police in riot gear carrying batons.


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37 thoughts on “‘KILLER COP’ — Why they busted into Rove” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Correction: people weren’t burning things just because she’s married to Steven McNew. He’s also a co-owner of Rove.

    Regardless, boo hoo over it. Maybe don’t marry a murderer next time.

    • A couple things. One is that Steven McNew and his partner were cleared in the incident you refer to as murder. If justice wasn’t done, then by all means pursue a legal action and correct the injustice by asking for a review of the Superior Court judge ruling.

      Secondly, we have a legal system in this country that prosecutes crimes based on the conduct of individuals. Therefore, being married to or associated with someone who commits a crime doesn’t make one also guilty of that crime.

      Targeting her business (which she does personally own and run, but in Washington – a community property State) is a cowardly tactic committed by people who are too lazy and weak to organize any better strategy. Mob justice usually results in further injustice, as this example shows and which you seem to be advocating.

      • Your entire argument relies on the presumption that the system of justice is equal for cops who commit crimes and civilians who commit crimes. It’s not. Cops are both prosecuted and charged at about half the rate as the rest of the public. When cops know that only 33% of cops who use deadly force are convicted and only 36% of those result in any jail time, you end up with a police force all the more likely to rely on excessive use of force. All a cop has to do to escape prosecution is claim they felt their lives were in danger.

        Without police reform and reform of laws that rely on intent to commit murder in order for a conviction to be made, cops will continue to escape accountability for their actions.

    • So what are you saying? That its ok to destroy the property and livelihood of an innocent person because they are related to a person who you believe escaped justice because the law was unfair?

  2. Replace “protesters” with rioters and this story (and publisher) will seem a little less bias. Arson, looting and destruction of property isn’t ok at all and the perpetrators should be prosecuted like any other felonious act of violence. Its no more acceptable to liken the destruction of Rove to ‘direct and targeted protest’ than it was for Cliff Mass to liken BLM protestors to nazis.

    • But you’re demanding that “rioter,” a conservative propaganda term, be used in lieu of the correct term “protester?”

      Not going to happen. You’re both wrong, and a moron.

      • a quick google search reveals magic: riot – a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd. Nothing conservative or propaganda like about that… and smashing windows, burning businesses and intimidating people is just that…whether it’s ‘us’ or ‘them’ – got it, moron?

      • It’s interesting, Erica, that you seem to understand protests as only protests when there is zero damage and no one is inconvenienced in any way, shape, or form.

        **Waves hands around** “That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works!”

        So Google away!

        That doesn’t change the fact that you are using the preferred conservative propaganda term–designed specifically to demean and reduce people’s legitimate protests to something illegitimate–nor does it change the fact that my criticism of you was correct and that you, were in fact, wrong.

        Got it, Karen?

        But look on the bright side, Karen: My calling you out will allow you to clutch your pearls, say “well, I never!” and stomp off in a huff while (1) pretending to be the offended victim and, (2) do what you Karens do best of all: feed your batsh%t, never-ending victimization fantasies.

      • Hey PD. You said, “It’s interesting, Erica, that you seem to understand protests as only protests when there is zero damage and no one is inconvenienced in any way, shape, or form.

        **Waves hands around** “That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works!”
        Thank you PD for really informing us all “how this works.” In his decades of protesting Civil Rights, John Lewis did less damage than took place in one night, at one store, on Capitol Hill. How much damage would you consider to be “justified” to reach your ends? Does it end with property damage of people you don’t know, or would you consider harming, even killing people merely collateral damage to your cause? Do you think that all the shoes that were stolen from Likelihood were really taken to fight prejudice, or because they happened to fit? Thanks though, really appreciate your little lecture.

    • Calling all protesters, or even these “protesters,” Nazis is out of line.

      However, using similar tactics as the SA when targeting a Jewish run business – well, they’re kind of asking for the comparison. Saying that a Jewish business owner has gained too much wealth and power than others, as a rationale for smashing windows and setting fire to their establishment, is very similar to what the Nazi’s did during Kristallnacht.

      Maybe these privileged white children should educate themselves on how better to protest a Jewish business.

      • Nobody is targeting Ike because he’s Jewish. He’s being targeted for his ridiculous behavior in how he operates his business and destroys communities. Not long ago he was anti-weed and considered the area to be riddled with drug dealers, but now that everything is legal and cushy he’s moving in and doing the same exact thing he criticized people for. Total hypocrite. His behavior clearly puts profits before people’s lives, not only with the community (that is now unrecognizable before he showed up) but with how he treats his employees and businesses surrounding. Berating and threatening businesses that don’t agree politically with him, having one evicted. He’s a bully and thats not something many people will ever be ok with.

      • “Destroys communities”. Isn’t that exaggeration? Some would argue, reasonably, that Ike is actually improving communities.

      • Improving for who? Middle aged tech people that can afford to pay $2000 for a studio? I wouldn’t call that an improvement for a community of people that can no longer afford to live there anymore.

    • He was acquitted. If that’s not good enough for you, go start your own judicial system so you can execute anyone you don’t like. And blaming his wife for his actions means I can condem you for anything someone in your family does. Think about it.

      • Listen – have you ever heard of guilt by association? It’s a thing. Look it up. These will hopefully be enshrined in the new rules of conduct for our community-led safety and security force. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it wrong. Over the course of these largely peaceful protests (except for one or two bad apples) we’ve seen countless ways that our community can grow and respond to reckless violence by the police. Property can be rebuilt, businesses can be rebuilt, but can you rebuild a human life? No, so literally sit down and shut up.

    • Ok, so, it is ok to compare police to gestapo, but not ok to compare window smashing people targeting Jewish owned businesses as Nazis. I think I’ve got it now.

    • Your comment is ridiculous. She had no prior knowledge that her husband would be involved in the Lyles incident. So, I guess you are saying that no one should marry a police officer.

      • no one should marry a police officer, unless they’re comfortable with the established “>40% of police officers are domestic abusers” statistic.

  3. Seattle’s homeless Burning Man destroyed a vintage clothing shop and weed store. Equality by beating everybody down to poverty isn’t the equality we are looking for.

    • It’s amazing that there’s so much defense over these “vintage goods” rather than considering the fact that a person is actually dead because of the business owner. Children will grow up without a mother and will never know her in any capacity because of the that owners decision. There is no way a pregnant women could be so much of a threat, in her own home, with her other children around that her life needed to end. That’s domestic terrorism. Thats way more upsetting then some shit clothing being set on fire.

      • Were you in the apartment? Do you know what happened? Have you read the reports? Just because people wear blue, doesn’t make them guilty. If you have a problem with the review process of police actions, that’s great. I agree with you. If you think the police shouldn’t be put in the situations they are, that others trained to deal with drug addiction and mental health, I agree with you. But to say that the person who owns this store, who is the wife of the cop, as she started the business before they got married, is responsible for killing a woman is fiction. The whole situation is tragic. There are things that we all need to do to keep situations like this from happening. This isn’t about burning some vintage clothes. It’s about blaming people for things that they didn’t do. Ruining more lives is not going to solve anything. Instead of taking out your anger on an innocent person, how about focusing it on making ours a better system.

      • Considering that we’re one of the few countries that has police killing people instead of deescalating, maybe you should ask yourself why that is? Deadly force is totally out of line. We have white mass murderers being escorted safely to jail and treated respectfully, meanwhile people of color are shot just for feeling like a threat. I’ve read plenty about this story and also realize police will fabricate a lot to excuse their poor behavior. Maybe this person should have considered deescalation, it’s what they exercise with white people all the time. They are not innocent and they should be thanking their lucky stars that our corrupt judicial system didn’t put them in prison. No ones life is being ruined. The people have spoken and do not want someone that behaves this way casually operating business like nothing ever happened, a very small price to pay for taking someone’s life.

      • You make general statements about the problems of law enforcement in our country. And I agree, there needs to be significant improvement. But your earlier statement, instead of asking for systemic change, merely targets the wife of a Seattle policeman. Do you think the way to make changes is to blame this retailer? Like she’s the problem. As I asked earlier—were you in the apartment when this horrible event occurred? No, you weren’t. You don’t know what happened and neither do I. But because someone died instead of the policemen, you think it’s justified to blame a cop’s wife. Is this the response of an intelligent, sensitive, compassionate person, that I’m sure you are?

      • Hey Morgan, you say that the violence against Rove is justified because it is co-owned by a cop. Yes, Washington is a state that uses the community property statute. But he is a cop. that’s what he does. She owns and runs a business. She owned it before they got married. So by your logic, she is as much a policeman as he is. So if my wife is a brain surgeon and I teach 2nd grade, I’m also a brain surgeon. Cool.

      • The generalized statements I made apply directly to this situation. I don’t think anyone’s life needed to be taken even if she did have a knife, let alone firing 7 rounds with her children present. Those facts alone raise a lot of questions regarding the legitimacy of what actually happened. It’s disturbing and there are many ways to deescalate without the use of a gun. We’re clearly not going to agree and that’s ok. There have been calls for police reform and systematic change for years, has anything changed? No. Police are even using excessive force on peaceful protestors. People are fed up and will take things into their own hands by not supporting businesses that involve cops associated with police brutality. I’m not blaming the wife for his actions or condoning their property being damaged, but he’s a Co-Owner therefore my money/support will be spent elsewhere. Maybe think about the family that will be forever affected by the outcome of her death, rather than defend replaceable clothing and the wife of a cop that suspiciously killed a pregnant mother of four.

  4. This was a really stupid way to try and get back at that cop. Their insurance will cover all the destroyed/damaged goods. They never would have been able to sell all those goods with the pandemic and the news coming out that it was owned by a cop. Had the rioters left it alone they would have been sitting on a bunch of expensive goods with no way to sell it and rent due every month. Now the cop and his wife have a free pass to end their lease and get paid for 100% of their merchandise.

    • I agree that this was a stupid, and illegal way to get back at the cop. To get back at him for something that was deemed doing his job, by investigators. Then bringing his family into it isn’t just stupid, it’s vindictive and unconscionable. But if you think that this couple is coming out of this in good shape because of some insurance payouts, you evidently don’t have much experience with the emotional damage done by anonymous jerks online, or the pleasure of collecting money from an insurance company. Oh, and having your dream of running a business crushed.

  5. Charlena Lyles was a attempted murderer. She gave up her option to live when attacking someone, whether a cop or anyone else, with a knife after filing a false police report. All this sympathy for her is pathetic when we have so many other causes that need attention. One of the biggest mistakes of this movement, aside from being an overtly Socialist and anti-western play for power, is putting criminals and genuinely bad people on a pedestal because they were killed by a cop.

  6. I’m confused, she (Rachel) is talking like she lost everything. Inventory insurance would not only cover all of the inventory; it also pays out retail price for the inventory instead of the wholesale prices she paid when purchasing the goods. Also her cop husband co-owned Rove w/her so like this isn’t random or anything.

    Also of course people are calling for her to divorce her husband, he is literally a murderer. Imagine feeling safe sleeping in the same house as him. The cognitive dissonance is dizzying.

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