Early Sunday afternoon, May 31, Snohomish Mayor John Kartak received a call from his chief of police.
“There was a threat made against Snohomish that appeared to come from Seattle’s Emerald City Antifa, and we take threats like that seriously.”
Mayor Kartak met with Chief Rogers at the Emergency Operations Center where more than 50 officers gathered, ready to respond if or when needed. Several more were near First Street, many in plain clothes.
“Apparently, business owners, Second Amendment enthusiasts and other groups were tipped off by the same threat. My police were fully prepared to manage any crisis on their own, but the community also prepared,” says Kartak, who is running for State Representative in the 44th Legislative District.
“There is always room for improvement when looking back on any event, but I’m proud of my police and I’m proud of my community.”
Tense, but peaceful demonstrations
“In an open-carry state there’s nothing police can do from a legal standpoint about the presence of guns,” Kartak says. “Sheriff Fortney explained to some people on First Street that their guns, while legal, could be problematic to our officers should a crisis ensue. His request that rifles be put away was respectfully denied.”
In addition to firearms, Kartak says the situation was further complicated by public drinking of unarmed people and the presence of a Confederate flag.
“Most people understand that the Confederate flag was flown by the Democrat South while fighting to keep slavery,” Kartak says. “But some see it merely as a symbol of youthful rebellion or southern pride rather than racism. I recently learned this was the case here, and a young man will reportedly no longer fly that flag.”
Kartak says Seattle media used these images to paint “the most welcoming and inclusive community on earth, as racist,” and this deeply upsets him.
“I recognize there will always be some bigotry everywhere, but it is also bigotry to define a community by what may appear to be its worst, fewest elements. I don’t mind being personally disrespected, but when my town, police, and business owners are called racist I get very upset.”
A better response
When Kartak compares his town with “big city Seattle” and its wealth of resources, he believes Snohomish responded better. “Unlike Seattle, our situation resolved without any destroyed buildings, murdered youth, or a police department abandoned by its mayor. My leadership style includes concern for public safety with full support for our police agency.”
Paid for by Vote Kartak (R) 714 Fourth St. Snohomish, WA 98290