‘Riot Kitchen’ on Peaceful Mission?

Seattle-based ‘Riot Kitchen’ members were arrested and released while participating in the Kenosha, WI wave of violence which so far has seen three deaths, numerous injuries, and significant property damage. They previously aided and abetted rioters in Seattle.

The Seattle Times reports that ‘Riot Kitchen’, a ‘nonprofit’ charitable organization was in WI “to serve free food during protests.”

The Seattle Times article, written by Hal Bernton (@hbernton), titled “Eight people with Seattle-based Riot Kitchen released from custody in Kenosha, but vehicles held amid police investigation” uses carefully selected language to mislead their readers. The article allows readers to think about the organization in a noble light, not at all surprising from the Seattle Times. 

Here are a few dissections:

The article refers to those arrested as “eight volunteers” so that you’re inclined to think positively about those arrested. After all, volunteers are charitable, civic minded, and caring, right?   

The article text and the headline report that the individuals “have been released but law-enforcement officials continue to hold their three vehicles as well as cellphones and some other personal items, according to a board member of the nonprofit.” So they had their personal possessions held; we are naturally defensive on their behalf, an instinctual response regarding personal property rights. Additionally, the Seattle Times encourages us to believe that these individuals are good people by pointing out their nonprofit status.

Riot Kitchen (@riotkitchen206) led by Jennifer Scheurle (@gaohmee) is not listed on either of the go-to charity websites, Charity Navigator or Guidestar. It is not clear whether or not their claimed ‘nonprofit’ status is accurate. A post by Riot Kitchen on Twitter (August 26th) says they were “arrested in broad daylight” and they “were just there to feed people.”

There does not appear to be a website for the organization and Scheurle appears to be the only individual associated with the organization.  The web address, riotkitchen206.com, (listed on their Twitter page) links to their Go Fund Me page where they have currently raised about $50,000 to support purchasing a food truck and associated licensing to enhance their ability to support the ‘protests’. The Go Fund Me page says that the organization was founded by someone named “Maehem” to support those involved in the Seattle George Floyd protests.  The organization has been on Twitter since June 2020 and their first post was about 9 days after George Floyd’s death. Scheurle herself has a website, unrelated to Riot Kitchen that says she was raised in Germany, lives in Seattle, and works for an Australia-based company.

The article goes on for a couple paragraphs talking about the fuel cans that the alleged criminals were filling at a gas station, misleading the reader to think that the activities were innocent.

It is, however, a federal crime to provide material support to those participating in domestic terrorism activities and specific kinds of property damage (18 U.S. Code § 2339A and Executive Order).

The Kenosha Police Department, who defined the group as ‘preparing for criminal activity’, shared a media release on August 27, 2020 which contained details conveniently left out of the Seattle Times story. The officers, assisted by U.S. Marshals, appropriately identified themselves at the scene and were wearing identification and one of the vehicles attempted to flee the scene (a charge of ‘evading police’ could be levied against the individuals in the fleeing vehicle.)

In a moment of weakness but only in the final paragraph, the article explains that the group was carrying “helmets, gas masks, protective vests, illegal fireworks and suspected controlled substances,” in their vehicles. It is difficult to imagine a peaceful use for that kind of riot gear – the same equipment we are seeing in Democrat cities across the nation being used by violent protesters. There was not any indication that their vehicles contained food and water for peaceful protesters.

In all likelihood, the name “Riot Kitchen” (which may or may not be a nonprofit organization) tells us all we need to know. This group is about rioting. It is about aiding and abetting federal criminals who are rioting. It is about an approach of violence, vandalism, and bodily injury under the guise of peaceful assembly.

 

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