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KHQ EXCLUSIVE: Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins: LA Times is 'twisting what I said' about Rodney King

Ruto Hosea

Nov. 28, 2019

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins was having a pretty good start to the Thanksgiving holiday, until his phone started ringing.
"It started with a friend calling," he told KHQ when we sat down exclusively with him Wednesday morning. "He said, 'you made the LA Times?' And I said 'how'd that happen?' I hadn't seen the article." Mayor Higgins soon would read that article, although he said it took him a few times to get through it, because "it was so slanted, twisting what I said."
So what did it say? You can read the entire article HERE, but here's the first paragraph:
" The mayor of this Spokane suburb recently told an audience of fellow conservatives that police should have shot Rodney King. He heard no objections. "
Mayor Higgins admitted he said something like that. "I said, and I said it more than once, that the policemen who were wrestling with [King], when the initial video came out and the cops were mercilessly beating this guy, that video was only part of the story.
"The cops later were acquitted, when they were tried. It came out that there was more to the video than what we'd all seen. There was a lead in-to the video where Rodney King was obviously high on drugs, very violent, and what I said was that the cops would have been justified in shooting him, if it'd come to that."
Mayor Higgins made the King remarks at a meeting of conservatives in Spokane Valley called Northwest Grassroots. We asked Mayor Higgins why he brought up Rodney King at all. "I was using this an analogy," he said, "to what's happening to Matt Shea right now. Which is, we don't have the whole story."
Matt Shea, who represents Spokane County's 4th Legislative District in the State House of Representatives, is the subject of a House investigation into whether he spied on, and plotted against, political opponents. KHQ has reported extensively on Shea, including a holy war plan he took credit for writing, accusations he helped promote a program that trained young men to fight in a Holy War , and his plan to split Eastern and Western Washington and create a 51st state called Liberty .
Mayor Higgins said that media has been conducting an unearned smear campaign against Shea for months, if not years. He believes that the results of the House investigation will fully clear Shea of any wrongdoing. The investigators are expected to deliver their report to House Leadership on December 1st, but the results won't be public for several weeks after that.
The LA Times article uses Mayor Higgins' King analogy to delve into the Shea investigation and the larger issue of white supremacy in Spokane and North Idaho. The journalist writes about the Aryan Nation Compound north of Coeur d'Alene, he brings up former Washington State University student, and current far-right provocateur, James Allsup , and his conclusion is that parts of Spokane County and North Idaho, and some of its leaders, remain sympathetic to white supremacy. It's a conclusion that Mayor Higgins says couldn't be further from the truth. "Ask anyone," he said, "they'll tell you: I am not racist."
We did reach out to Matt Shea, as we always do when reporting on a story that involves him, but have not heard back.
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