UPDATE: Assault during 34th District Democrats meeting draws responses from candidates and others
The 34th District Democrats June 13 meeting was marred by a physical assault on a person in attendance who was a supporter of another candidate for Seattle CIty Council District 1.
According to witnesses the person attacked was Louis Frillman who was seated when the assault suspect picked up a glass of wine and threw it on them, along with the plastic cup and then hurriedly left the scene. Responses from both candidate Phil Tavel and candidate Brendan Kolding were posted on Facebook.
Frillman released a statement to Westside Seattle today:
Carol Frillman, myself, and a guest attended the 34th District Democratic endorsing meeting Wednesday evening June 12. We were happy to be there and support our candidate, Phil Tavel, for District 1, Seattle City Council. Proud of his willingness to engage and stand up for west seattle.
As the speeches wore on, I was approached by a Lisa Herbold supporter – David Ginsberg (whom we’ve known for 13+years) who offered his opinion that candidate Tavel was “being supported by Nazi’s” That’s exactly what he said to me, unsolicited. We got into a heated exchange; he then sat down. I suggested to him a few minutes later he should cool down; he responded with invectives.
After a bit, and back at our table, I started looking at the Facebook website of Safe Seattle, the so called “Nazi’s”. Weird, I thought. There was a Lisa Herbold supporter posting, containing pictures of Herbold supporter signs, on this website. I thought that was hilarious, screenshot it, and sent it to Ginsberg, saying, “guess your gal is supported by Nazi’s too.” I thought it was quite funny.
Minutes later, the offenders’ partner got a drink at the bar (near us) and then poured his drink over my head after calling me a few more swear comments. I responded with quite a few invectives myself.
As I walked out of the room, soaking, I suggested to City Council member Gonzalez, who had endorsed Herbold, that her support was misplaced as the Herbold supporters left quite a bit to be desired. Obviously. This was on my way out the door. Lisa Herbold’s statement to local press that this discussion with Gonzalez preceded the violent episode isn’t accurate, in fact, after I then left, Lisa approached my wife with a question about what happened. Her characterization of this as me “aggressively confronting Gonzalez” is beyond the point, and is apparently a attempt to deflect attention from her own supporters’ ill advised actions
In response to all this, I am now reportedly being accused of homophobia by Ginsberg and his partner. Since we were original supporters of Mr. Ginsberg’s unsuccessful race for Seattle City Council years ago, that idea is a bit strange. Maybe he didn’t care for the food and wine we delivered for his events.
We are proud progressives and support many causes, publicly and privately. Whatever I called him ( a invective I won’t repeat) is irrelevant. It was the violent act which sent me reeling. This can all be confirmed and in fact was, by other nearby observers.
We are confronting challenges to democracy unlike any in our lifetimes. Among them, the lack of civility is being excused away by others as being what is necessary to get along in the trump era. The offenders from this evening are actually suggesting our mutual exchange is reason enough to commit violence.
I do not agree with that. And neither should any civilized person.
I believe that what we need in seattle is not more divisiveness, anger, or hate. We need to come together and reject those who would divide us, be they candidate or the candidate’s supporters. It’s unreasonable to expect good behavior if we do not model it ourselves.
And to those who continue to divide us for political purposes, your time is past.
Please go home."
Kolding said, "A supporter of Phil Tavel was maliciously assaulted at the 34th District Democrats meeting last night. I was in attendance, and although I did not witness the incident, I heard about it right away.
This sort of behavior is completely unacceptable. Primarily, no one should ever be subjected to physical violence. Furthermore, political events should be places of open discussion, civility, and free exchange of ideas. People should be able to attend such events without being targeted for their beliefs.
I may be running against Phil, but I certainly condemn any act of violence against those who support him.
Ari Hoffman is running in District 2. He and his family have been the subject of anti-Semitic threats of violence. As a husband and father, I can only imagine how difficult this is. I have contacted him to offer my support. I admire his courage, and pray for the safety of the entire Hoffman family.
Seattle, we are better than this."
Phil Tavel said, "Tonight at the 34th LD Dems endorsement meeting a supporter of mine was cursed out and had a glass of wine thrown on him by a supporter of another candidate. That was completely unacceptable, and behavior like that at a local poltical meeting is out of place.
I hope that all the candidates that were there tonight speak out against what happened. I would hope that the leadership of the 34th would address this and make sure that everyone in attendance of their meetings are safe and free to speak their mind. Free speech and a safe enviornment to participate in the democratic process are what we are supposed to stand for and protect."
District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold the incumbent (who got the 34th District's endorsement) said, "I’m told that there were multiple separate, but related, altercations. I did not witness any of them. Nevertheless, their description includes behavior that is unacceptable and contrary to the objectives of civil dialogue among people with different perspectives and diverse experiences.
I support the commitment of the 34th District Democrats to formally review these incidents, including follow up with the people involved. There is a process to seek justice in this interpersonal conflict. It is our collective duty to keep any meetings free from this type of behavior."
The 34th District Democrats said in a statement, "Last night at our endorsement meeting, we witnessed behavior that is not aligned with our Code of Conduct. We want to be clear: this behavior will not be tolerated and the 34th District Democrats are actively investigating the events of last night.
We are committed to creating a safe, welcoming, and transparent environment for our attendees—no one should be made to feel unsafe. We heard from many members about this—we thank you and appreciate your patience as we collect more information and decide what steps will be taken. If there is any information you would like to provide please reach out to the Chair, Gina Topp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, we'd like to remind everyone that you are all welcome to attend our Executive Board meeting this next Wednesday, June 19th, if you'd like to voice your concerns in person or would like to observe our process as we review our Code of Conduct. Thank you."
A person who said they were in attendance and witnessed the incident named Jimmy Haun via Facebook said, “I saw it go down. The assaulter approached a man who was seated and not facing him, said something to the seated man, walked to the bar, grabbed a full white wine, walk back to the seated man that had his back to the assaulter, and dumped and tossed the cup of wine onto the victim. The wine hit another person who was a guest and at their first meeting.(Editorial note: Councilmember Herbold said that Lou Frill has been a member for years) Most likely the guest and the victim will never return. The coward bully assaulter headed straight for the door, tossed off his name tag and stormed off. The victim did not want to call the police. This behavior is driving people away from the Dem party. The perpetrator should be banned from attending meetings for 1 year, in my opinion."
Phil is Democrat candidate, if he were Republican, he wouldn't have been allowed at the 34th Democratic LD meeting.
In my post, I stated the wine hit two people. I am aware of Lou being a member for years. The other person hit by wine was a guest and attending their first meeting.