A sometimes violent protest against police brutality filled the streets and sidewalks of Pike/Pine and Broadway this afternoon. At least three people were detained after a group attempted to push a dumpster into Pine street across from Bobby Morris playfield but were stopped by a swift response from police officers. A heavy police presence including officers on foot, on bikes and on horseback accompanied the marchers following recent violence at a similar protest in Olympia. One mounted police officer was hit in the helmet by what was later determined to be a light bulb. You can find our live coverage of the day’s events below. We will be updating this post as we learn more about those taken into custody and have a chance to talk with SPD officials about their response.
A folded flyer distributed by some in the crowd was titled “Some People Shoot Back” and featured a target silhouette on its cover. Inside, the flyer makes references to the November 2008 assault of a 15-year-old girl by a King County Sheriff’s Deputy, and Christopher Monfort, the man facing trial in the slaying of East Precinct cop, Tim Brenton. “This is a system built on our misery,” the flyer states. “It is no coincidence that sometimes people snap, and do whatever they can to fight back against the agents of this system.”
UPDATE 3:46 PM:
Background on the protest from indybay.org:
After the recent uprisings in Portland in response to two police murders, a call has gone out for “West Coast Days of Action April 8th and 9th, From the Bay to the Sound: No More Police Killings!” The call to action reads in part: “Organize protests and autonomous actions in your own city! … The only times the police have ever been held responsible for their murders is when we take to the streets and halt business as usual. Following the law, being peaceful, being quiet, has never discouraged police violence, because it is the function of the police to use violence against the exploited, against the oppressed, against those who fight back.” Announced actions include non-violent civil disobedience at Embarcadero BART station in San Francisco on April 8th and an Anti-Police General Assembly in Portland and a march against police brutality in Seattle on April 9th.
Here is coverage of the fatal Portland police shootings referenced above.
UPDATE 3:55 PM:
Our news partners got the call back from SPD before we did and are reporting five arrested:
Seattle Police spokeswoman Renee Witt said the five were arrested during a march in the Capitol Hill neighborhood Friday afternoon for investigation of crimes ranging from trespassing to inciting a riot.
UPDATE 6:35 PM:
Here is the report on the events from the SPD Blotter:
Five arrests in Capitol Hill demonstration
On April 9th at approximately Noon a demonstration began on Capitol Hill. This was an apparent anarchist event. Uniformed patrol officers, bicycle patrol officers, and mounted patrol officers staffed the event. The event was peaceful at first.
At about 1:00 p.m. an unknown person in the crowd threw a light bulb filled with red paint at a mounted patrol officer. It struck the officer on the back of his helmet. The bulb broke when it hit the ground. Neither the officer nor the horse was injured.
A group of suspects then began to roll nearby dumpsters towards a police line. Officers quickly arrested two adult males and one adult female (all three in their early twenties) that were involved in this activity. Two juvenile male suspects, both 17 years old, were stopped after they attempted to hide a backpack. In that backpack were at least six more paint-filled light bulbs. Both juvenile suspects were placed under arrest and later released when the Youth Service Center declined them. A request for Investigation of Assault charges will be forwarded to the prosecuting attorney’s office.
The crowd dispersed fairly quickly after the arrests were made. One adult male suspect and the adult female suspect were booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Assault, a felony charge. The other adult male suspect was booked into the King County Jail for Obstruction and Resisting Arrest.
The incident was completely finished around 3:30 p.m. There were no reported injuries or property destruction due to this event.
A group of around 100 protesters is marching on Capitol Hill this afternoon to speak out against police brutality. A heavy police presence accompanies after a similar protest in Olympia turned violent.