Anti-police ‘anarchists’ march on Broadway, leave damage in wake

A group of around 30 people clad in black, most with masks and bandanas over their faces burst onto Broadway in anger Saturday night, blocking traffic, throwing flares, rocks and traffic cones, tagging with spray-paint, attempting to break windows and even setting off a fire extinguisher in a 10-minute melee that ended as quickly as it began.

A group was seen marching up Pine around 9:20 PM Saturday, according to Seattle Police Department radio reports. Responding police units drove behind the group as it turned north up Broadway and continued throwing objects at the cruisers. Cap to the Hill blog has posted pictures of damage in the area.

Just after 9:30 PM as the group continued its march on Broadway leaving traffic cones strewn about and minor damage to buildings and walls, the crowd suddenly dispersed in a cloud of fire extinguisher smoke.

As people ran from the scene, SPD made three arrests, according to police radio.

February has been a month of protest for Capitol Hill as the Ian Birk situation has inspired a series of marches, rallies and stand-offs with police. Groups handing out anti-police flyers, wearing all black and carrying flags with anarchist symbols have regularly clashed with East Precinct police in the past weeks. During one march, an SPD cruiser’s window was broken out. The march the night the Birk decision was announced was by far the largest but the protest that formed the Friday following showed the situation was far from settled. A small firebomb thrown at the glass of an SPD drop-in station at 23rd and Union extended the message. One week later and East Precinct again found itself in “hats and bats” mode.

45 thoughts on “Anti-police ‘anarchists’ march on Broadway, leave damage in wake

  1. These anarchist crime sprees (NOT protests) are getting really old. I hope the SPD throws the book at those who were arrested, and I regret that all of them weren’t thrown in jail.

    Go back to Eugene, jerks! And stop vandalizing our neighborhood!

  2. No kidding. Who are these people?

    If you want to protest something, work to create change. Work to open a dialogue with the police department. Work to make sure your fellow citizens are taken care of (volunteer!). But stop marching around in our neighborhood, hiding your identities, and spreading violence.

    When you stand for nothing but chaos, you will never have the ability to create change because you have nothing constructive to offer.

  3. Show these cops that citizens of Seattle won’t take their shit.

    As long as Diaz and O’Neill work for the SPD, I’ll be supporting these type of people and flipping off every cop that makes eye contact with me.

  4. Encountered this protest first hand last night. Was driving up Broadway (heading south) with my girlfriend on the way to a birthday party when these clowns jumped in front of my car. They blocked my way with their bodies until they found some nice big construction cones that could do the job. Threw about (4) of them aggresively in the direction of my car. Once they were convinced my way was thoroughly blocked, they continued north on Broadway. It was actually pretty frightening for a few moments there when they first started approaching my car. We had no idea what was going on and they looked very aggressive. For a second I seriously considered flooring it right through their crowd fearing that we were about to be attacked (I drive a Chevy Tahoe… wouldn’t have had any trouble getting through em’).

    The funny thing is that I have been questioning instances of police brutality in this city on a regular basis for years (long before the John Williams case), and have been whole heartedly in favor of the recent protests. My friends and family actually get sick of hearing me complain about these instances, because of how often I bring the topic up. I considered attending the protest at Westlake the day that the prosecuter’s office announced that they were not filing any charges against Birk (couldn’t make it due to work). Now, I find myself completely torn and unsure as to which “side” I am on. Basically what I’m saying is, you “anarchists” or whatever you are calling yourselves are going about this entirely wrong. What do you hope to achieve by randomly directing violence at citizens? Nothing good. You are not helping your cause. In fact, I was and still am an adamate supporter of major reforms for the SPD and the ways they train and operate, but now I will be keeping those opinions to myself because I don’t want to be associated with you idiots. Intelligent discussion is the best form of protest, but unfortunately it seems that you people are not capable of that.

  5. “Intelligent discussion is the best form of protest, but unfortunately it seems that you people are not capable of that.”

    Neither is the SPD. They shoot people on the street for reason and get away with it. They had their chance to learn about the word accountability. They very intelligently came to a terrible decision and now they have to pay for it.

    Get out of your car, move the cones, tell the black masked kid if he touches you he’s going to jail for assault, and go on with your life.

    Or, you know, turn another direction? Ever been caught in Seattle Marathon traffic before? It’s a bitch. It doesn’t make me hate all marathons. Large funeral processions? Parades? All sorts of shit blocks the street.

    I’d say citizens of Seattle blocking the streets because the SPD has zero accountability is more important than all of those things combined.

  6. It’s one thing to have a message. Do NOT tear up my neighborhood delivering it. It’s counter-productive and the only people it affects are those of us who live here. I was caught in the middle of it last night; it was absolutely ridiculous, immature and a completely ignorant method of getting their word out.

  7. To quote a friend, “There are ways of doing things to make your point, speak your voice and sway public opinion. Then there’s sh*t like this.”
    Seriously. See, when you’re a dick, that’s all people see – is that you’re being a dick. You know what? People don’t take dick’s seriously, or pay them much, if any, mind at all. At least some of them were arrested. …..Dicks.Also, does anybody else find a great amount of irony from Anarchist symbols and flags? To reiterate what others have said, please do not take this as a protest. I protest. These idiots do not represent me or any real causes.

  8. The only thing worse than hippies are anarchists. Way to hurt and threaten private citizens, guys; that’s a great way to make people sympathetic to your cause.

  9. To OFD:
    I agree entirely that “they have to pay for it”. “They” being SPD and “pay for it” meaning the people at the top (Diaz and O’Neil) should be fired and the entire department should be re-structured to operate more transparently and with a higher level of community involvement and officer accountability moving forward. My point is that protests of last night’s nature make citizens and local businesses “pay for it”. Am I missing something here? Is that who you are protesting? The citizens and business owners of Seattle? Random vandolism and threats of violence towards your neighbors and local uninvolved businesses is not only pointless but actually counter-productive to the cause. I can understand similar acts directed towards SPD and SPD property (not that I necessarily agree with them, but at least I would be able to see the logic behind that).

    I did get out of my car and move the cones after the 30 or so black masked anarchists were a safe distance away. They were the large 50 lbs+ construction cones with the black rubber bases (which are also pretty heavy). I’m a 25 year old man so no problems there (except for the nasty dirt/soot I got all over my freshly dry-cleaned shirt… was sort of dressed up for a friend’s b-day). Had I been a woman or a senior citizen I may not have been able to clear the path on my own.

    By the way, at no point did the “protesters” indicate what they were protesting… at least not to anyone in the area where I encountered them. Seems rather pointless. I had to come here to find out, and was dissapointed to learn that they were claiming to represent a cause that I personally care about. Really just seems like a bunch of people that are more into the idea of “protests and anarchy” than truly caring about a cause and being a catalyst for change.

    PS: All I saw was what I saw… and my opinion is based solely on that brief encounter. Perhaps there were parts of last night’s protest that were both peaceful and worth while. That may be the case and I hope that it is. If so, let’s have more of that and less random “anarchy”.

  10. OFD, it is obvious you have been burned by SPD. What I don’t get is the severe notion that you seem to lose sleep over SPD holding Birk accountable. I do believe it was SPD that said it was an unjustified shooting. I also believe it was the prosecutor, who is completely separate from SPD, who didn’t hold Birk accountable. Birk resigned before SPD could take any actions to hold him accountable. As really nothing more an his employer there isn’t much that can be done by SPD. Reform should be done in the court/law area.

    I am one who believes mistakes were made but intent wasn’t there. I am far more outraged about the outcome of the tuba man and his killer(s).

  11. Please help me understand how your campaign of urban terrorism and violence is going to convince the SPD to rethink their use of force policies. I admit to being skeptical, but maybe you have a thought process behind it that I can’t see.

    Right now, all you’re doing is hurting the community, the small business owners and neighbors who live in the area, and you’re really not winning yourself any support among your fellow citizens. Knock it the hell off.

  12. I hate that these people are called “anarchists”. They give an awful name to the word. They are socialists and vandals. They’re sick, immature thugs who do not care about destroying the livelihood of peaceful people. To the extent they oppose police brutality they are correct, but that is a thin sliver of truth given the vast heap of bullshit that they preach.

    Real anarchism is about peaceful cooperation, non aggression, and the respect for legitimately acquired property (through free and peaceful trade):
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/kinsella/kinsella15.html

  13. “I also believe it was the prosecutor, who is completely separate from SPD, who didn’t hold Birk accountable. Birk resigned before SPD could take any actions to hold him accountable. As really nothing more an his employer there isn’t much that can be done by SPD.”

    Bullshit. Please show me where even one single person from SPD encouraged Satterberg to press charges against Birk. I’ve neither witnessed nor read reports of a single Seattle police officer so much as denouncing the actions of Ian Birk. He made them all look bad, yet they all stand behind him.

  14. Keep it up? Seriously? I was working last night when they threw a fucking paint “bomb” on the window of my business. It’s not the police that have to clean up after assholes like you it’s young working people like me who live and work shit jobs in this neighborhood. Thank your dumbass friends for making more work for me and my co-workers. That does not proove anything to the police. These people are just harming their own message and making the police take them less seriously.

    Want to be a fucking terrorits? go target the people you hate. not your community members.

  15. From the police report: “when he came upon a group of what appeared to be anarchists”

    What do anarchists look like? Are SPD officers trained to recognize anarchists by sight?

  16. Seattle Marathon runners are not deliberately trying to destroy property and look like they could hurt people. Getting out of a car when being threatened does not equal getting inconvenienced by a procession of mourners. That you think they do says to me that your reasoning is pretty fucked up.

  17. Socialists are collectivists trying to unit resources for everyone’s well being. These were vandals, not socialists.

    As far as the vandals go…
    Protest and disagree all you want. Do not alienate the people who may support you by giving them a reason to discredit or fear you. And for that reason, I’m damn pissed off at them.

  18. You idiots ought to be strung up and marched right through the community in shackles to clean up every bit of damage and destruction you caused by your infantile idiocy. But my last statement gives you assholes entirely too much credit. You have shamed John T. Williams memory and enabled the violence against or own neighborhood and community that you so half-assedly protested against. Shame on all of you. Get a life.

  19. Did we not learn from Christopher Kime’s murder (and by the way, his murderer was out of jail quickly considering he murdered someone, and right back in jail for more felonies), that allowing people to riot on the streets isn’t the answer? These supposed anarchists, when you actually talk to them, are mostly upper middle class kids who cannot tell you for the life of them what they are for or against. It’s all buzzwords and no substance whatsoever if you actually talk to them. Same thing during WTO. The real protesters, who were peaceful, could talk in depth and for hours about why they’d come across the country to make a statement. The “anarchists” wearing their Nike shoes with their parents’ credit cards in their pockets couldn’t even tell you what WTO stood for, or why it was bad, and attacked elderly people coming out of Y downtown. Idiots.

  20. “These supposed anarchists, when you actually talk to them, are mostly upper middle class kids”

    Some are probably street crusties too.

  21. “Show these cops that citizens of Seattle won’t take their shit.”

    I hope someone throws a paint bomb in your window too.

  22. > Are SPD officers trained to recognize anarchists by sight?

    When said anarchists are carrying implements of vandalism, anarchist flags, and harassing police officers? I hope they are trained to recognize them by sight.

  23. Andrew: We’re not talking (in this sub-discussion) about said anarchists, we’re talking about anarchists in general. The police report states that an officer saw a group of people who “appeared to be anarchists.” That they were gathering in the intersection should arouse his interest, but their political beliefs shouldn’t have, and I’m curious 1) how that officer felt he was able to guess those people’s political ideology by sight, and 2) of what significance officer felt their political ideology was when he wrote of his guess in the report.

  24. Phil: I think Ian Birk did the right thing. One less drunk homeless person shitting and pissing on the sidewalk and harassing everyone for money. Let it be a sign to the rest of the cracked out, drunk homeless. Nothing should happen to him, no praise or discipline, he did his job. As for the anarchists, they should be tear gassed and jailed. Just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions….

  25. You should have plowed right through those pieces shit, then backed up and gone again.

    I applaud your restraint, Seattle4Life. So long as OFD and his/her twatwaste friends are out acting as terrorists in our streets, they deserve zero respect and deserve to be hunted.

  26. get real. a legion of dipshits dressed in black, with black bandanas hiding their identies, waving flags with the widely-recognized anarchy symbol?

    ‘…What do anarchists look like? Are SPD officers trained to recognize anarchists by sight?…’

    you are completely reaching, there.

    ‘…1) how that officer felt he was able to guess those people’s political ideology by sight, and 2) of what significance officer felt their political ideology was when he wrote of his guess in the report….’

    WHAT? political ideology? these punk idiots have none. they are looking for and creating chaos.

    significance? they are not a political group. they are a gang. they need to be treated as such.

  27. I think Ian Birk committed a heinous act in killing John Williams, and I wish there was a way to hold him criminally accountable. However, I have to respect Mr. Satterberg’s legal opinion that the state law would not allow a successful prosecution….he certainly knows ALOT more about this than any of the people on this blog who are denouncing him for deciding not to prosecute.

    But Birk is being held accountable in other ways. He has lost his job (would certainly have been fired if he hadn’t quit) and will never be able to find another one anywhere as a police officer. And, even more important, there will surely be a civil suit brought by the Williams’ family, and Birk will be held liable for millions of dollars.

  28. Calhoun wrote:

    “I think Ian Birk committed a heinous act in killing John Williams, and I wish there was a way to hold him criminally accountable.”

    Actually, there is a way to do so, but it seems we’re not going to do so.

    “However, I have to respect Mr. Satterberg’s legal opinion that the state law would not allow a successful prosecution”

    See also He’s Wrong, by Cienna Madrid, The Stranger, February 22, 2011.

    Madrid wrote,
    “At issue is a 25-year-old law that outlines when an officer may use deadly force: Deadly force is allowable if an officer has reason to believe a suspect has committed or is attempting to commit a felony, has probable cause that the suspect is a personal or public threat, and believes that force is necessary. But Washington State’s deadly force law is one of the broadest in the country and includes this sentence: `A public officer or peace officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable pursuant to this section.’

    “According to Satterberg’s office, in order to press criminal charges, prosecutors would have to make a case that Birk acted out of malice—an incredibly high bar. `Malice is a very well-defined, well-used term in criminal law—it means evil intent,’ explains Ian Goodhew, a prosecutor and spokesman in Satterberg’s office. `Unless we can show an evil intent, he’s not criminally liable.’

    “Another hurdle for prosecutors: disproving Birk’s `good faith belief’ that he had a reason to use deadly force. While malice is well defined, Goodhew says that a `good faith belief’ is nebulous and difficult to disprove (an officer can have a good faith belief that causes him to fire his weapon but still be wrong). In his 12-page written decision not to charge Birk with murder, Satterberg highlights recent findings from a public inquest jury to prove his point about the difficulty of proving malice and a lack of good faith. In the end, four jurors believed Birk when he said he thought his personal safety was threatened at the time he fired his weapon, and four didn’t. When asked whether or not Williams posed an imminent threat to Birk, one juror answered yes, four answered no, and three answered unknown. Satterberg uses the jurors’ conflicting answers to justify his decision not to press criminal charges. In a criminal trial, a 12-member jury would be instructed to return a not-guilty verdict if jurors had a reasonable doubt about whether the officer’s actions might be justified.

    “But [Lisa] Daugaard, the public defender, says that Satterberg is reading the law wrong: “The statute doesn’t talk about a ‘good faith belief’ in general. It talks about good faith that the action—the use of force—was justified under the statute.

    “In other words, believing you’re doing the right thing isn’t enough if you’re an armed cop. You still have to be following the law, and the law says force is justifiable when an officer reasonably believes the person they’re apprehending `has attempted to commit, is committing, or is attempting to commit a felony.’

    “Birk never claimed that Williams was committing a felony. Birk contacted Williams because he saw Williams crossing a busy street while holding a knife and that struck him as “suspicious.” But walking down the street with a woodcarving knife isn’t a felony. Neither is acting suspicious.”

    Calhoun continued:
    “He has lost his job […] and will never be able to find another one anywhere as a police officer.”

    See also: “Officer Birk and SPD’s Bigger Problem”, by Jennifer Shaw, ACLU of Washington’s blog, February 16, 2011.

    Shaw, ACLU-WA Deputy Director, wrote:
    “So can Ian Birk serve as a police officer at another department in Washington state? The answer to that question depends on Seattle Police Chief John Diaz. Peace officers in Washington are certified through the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC). They can lose that certification if their employer asks the Commission to decertify the officer.”

  29. ASIASIA wrote, “WHAT? political ideology? these punk idiots have none. […] they are not a political group.”

    Have you spoken with them? anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. I don’t know if that’s those people’s political ideology, and I bet the officer in the report didn’t when he claimed that the people he saw looked like anarchists.

    “a legion of dipshits dressed in black, with black bandanas hiding their identies, waving flags with the widely-recognized anarchy symbo”

    Seattle has no shortage of dipshits dressed in black. Most of them are not anarchists. Benjammin509 suggested in his comment that bandanas are useful to avoid having police identify and classify protesters “like gang members.”

    If the officer saw a group holding a sign proclaiming themselves to be anarchists, don’t you suppose the report would say that he came upon such, rather than that he “came upon a group of what appeared to be anarchists”?

  30. “Real anarchism is about peaceful cooperation, non aggression, and the respect for legitimately acquired property (through free and peaceful trade)”

    That’s not anarchism. That’s modern-day libertarianism. Anarchists reject private property (beyond personal possessions). Anarchists reject all forms of social hierarchy, including the state and corporations. Anarchists reject privilege and inheritance.

    You have no conception of anarchism beyond your “anarcho-capitalist” fantasy world.

  31. I’ll help clean up the mess after you get on a flight to Iraq/Afghanistan to clean up the billions of dollars of damage your warmongering elistist leaders (both Bush and Obama) have done in those countries on behalf of war profiteers, investment banks and commodity traders.

  32. i know this is completely pointless to write, but…

    it’s fucking infuriating to continue to hear descriptions of anarchists as “upper-middle-class kids who have no idea what they’re for or against” or whatever. (also, “go back to eugene”, seriously? is this 1999?) have you ever actually tried talking to one of the people at the many rallies and/or marches seattle anarchists have been organizing throughout the past year? people know what they’re risking and why, and a lot of folks would enjoy talking with other people about why they’re out in the streets. if you can’t find the time to actually speak to someone about their ideas and what they’re doing, why not read one of the many fliers that are passed out during events, or do a quick google search for “seattle anarchist news”? it’s because the thought that anyone might have an idea that is threatening to your own privileged existence — an idea that’s beyond the endless liberal “reform” or “police/government accountability” tropes that are so easy for privileged folks to support because they require basically no real change — is too scary to take seriously, because it might involve having to rethink some of your assumptions.

    and for the record, anarchists aren’t trying to “represent” you or anyone else. i guess it is nearly impossible to understand that people might fight for themselves, not hiding behind any leaders or “causes”.

  33. Phil, just one question: Does Cienna Madrid have a law degree and does she have many years of experience as a prosecuting attorney?

  34. Bob: No, she does not. Was Satterberg’s decision not to prosecute murderer Ian Birk make such a decision based primarily on his legal training? Was he supported by the police union when elected to his position? Would he be likely to be re-elected in the future if the police union campaigned against him?

  35. Sounds pretty menacing but if young punks with some paint is one of the SPD’s troubles I think the City of Seattle will survive. There are cities far worse off than we are. These people were actually giving our police force something to do besides driving around writing tickets.

  36. These people just prove that we need police. They haved fixed nothing, helped no one, proved nothing useful. They are part of the problem. Politicians, cops, street kids, house wives, bankers, rioters, and candle stick makers….we’re all cut from the same cloth.