12th and Pine East Precinct HQ blocked-off for anti-police protest

(Images: CHS)

A 2-block radius of barricades closed streets around 12th and Pine’s East Precinct headquarters as a group of around 100 protesters converged on the area carrying torches and shouting at officers in an anti-police brutality protest.

There appeared to be no arrests and no significant injuries as the crowd bore kerosene torches and pulled signs, garbage cans and even a potted tree into the streets as they marched from the Central District to Capitol Hill. Police in riot gear manned the barricades around the headquarters. Temperatures were in the low 30s.


Participants extinguish spent torches

Merchants came out of their businesses as the crowd passed to set their signs back up and defend their storefronts. Some participants in the march followed behind to drag garbage cans and dumpsters back into place and out of the streets.

The march and protest started earlier Saturday night at 23rd and Union and had been announced previously via Facebook. Organizers called for the resignation of SPD chief John Diaz.

Following a stop at the barricades, the protest marched on side streets to Seattle Central to continue the rally.

The protest comes days after the FBI said it was not pursuing a civil rights case against former SPD officer Ian Birk in the killing of John Williams.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

72 thoughts on “12th and Pine East Precinct HQ blocked-off for anti-police protest

  1. I’ve lived in the East Precinct for years, and have found the police to be competent, friendly, and good at their jobs. Yes, there have been over-reaches by the police over the years, and some problem officers. We’re a major city–it’s to be expected. But these rioters caused streets to be blocked off, vandalized, and carried torches (what is this, the 5th Century?), and for what end? I’m all for a good protest. There is injustice everywhere. But your protest on a busy Saturday night makes the police less able to handle actual crime going on on Capitol Hill. You may march against injustice, but you create chaos and put people in harm’s way. Find a better way to be heard.

  2. Look at me I am a protestor/anarchist in my American Apparel hoodie, H&M scarf and skinny jeans. I have no idea what’s really going on and just wanna look cool and cause chaos and destruction because I am a follower and can’t make decisions on my own.
    If these spoiled kids want to see real police brutality, they should move to Detroit or St. Louis. I agree that they should of at least been pepper sprayed and then arrested. I bet one of them gets burned and tries to sue the city.

  3. Protesting is fun. I’d like to protest the fact that I can’t find any Chinese-American food on Capital Hill…Who do I have to @#$% around here to get some Sweet & sour pork, or some cream cheese rangoons? Shrimp Toast?
    I haven’t searched the entire hill, so if anyone has any info…

  4. I agree, I have been working in mental health or emergency medicine in several cities for the last decade. SPD has been one of the most professional departments I have ever interacted with.

  5. i’d like to protest your barely coherent threadjack.

    chungees on 12th is what you’re looking for. lucky 8 that just opened might also do it.

    oh, and fwiw, the torches symbolized the growing gap between the rich and poor in our modern society, how loose financial regulations exacerbates the situation, and the police are part and parcel of the problem. either that or the protesters are a bunch of attention whores.

  6. Did you not read the whole article? This was a protest calling for the resignation of chief of police John Diaz in light of his response (or lack thereof) to the killing of John Williams by officer Ian Birk in 2010. It wasn’t a rampant, senseless mob for the sake of a mob. Also, members of the protest followed along behind to restore garbage cans and signs to their places! That’s awfully responsible for “anarchist shit heads.”

  7. Dear CapHiller:

    Police Chief John Diaz actually did just about everything in his power to punish Ian Burke – including firing him at the first opportunity, condemning his actions, and basically calling him out in public for being a sorry excuse for a cop. If you are angry that Mr. Burke isn’t in jail, you should probably go protest King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, who was solely responsible for making the decision to not press criminal charges on the matter.

    I understand, however, that you are probably an idiot who has difficulty grasping such things – so go on now and knock over another potted plant. That’ll teach ’em!

  8. They do not live in the CD and they do not represent us. I wish the hell they do not start there march’s from here giving the impression we in the CD are like this. They trashed a hose here and covered the neighborhood with mindless graffiti scrawl.

  9. Funny. The Department of Justice seems to disagree with you there, Karl. As do all the people who have gotten their heads bashed against cars during DUI checks, or the “Mexican piss” kicked out of them, or shot for carrying a closed, legal knife, or pepper-sprayed for trying to assist protesters who have been pepper-sprayed, or who have been laughed en masse at after getting pepper-sprayed, or otherwise beaten by cops who know that there will be no accountability for them because they can act with impunity (legally). Your ignorance must feel quite blissful.

  10. Well perhaps if they had not flagrantly and willfully broken the law…

    But I am sure they are all the “victims” are wonderful, insightful intelligent people, perhaps you should invite them over for dinner.

    As for ignorance, I have a feeling you have not the slightest clue of the garbage a cop on the street has to deal with.

  11. firsthiller: You seriously believe them when they say “Oh you’re so bad, if only we could do something about it! Too bad we can’t!”, while they allow the killer to walk free? I thought they were the police… you know the people that supposedly bravely risk their lives to apprehend killers and protect citizens rights and all that good shit? But instead the system allows racist murderers to get off clean thanks to their membership in the good ol’ boys club. Get real.

  12. Oh come on eyes you know our anarchist friends were just “improving the community” and sticking up for our rights as the 99%.

    I mean look at the beautiful and meaningful mural they painted on that rich bastards house that he had the audacity to not finish remodeling after his wife passed away. That house should be used to keep sociology majors and late to the party “punkrockers” from having to live in their parents basements.
    http://centraldistrictnews.com/2012/01/12/protestors-plan-sa

    If the anarchist don’t speak for the central containment zone then who will

  13. Where are the clubs and pitchforks? If we’re going old fashioned monster hunting, better have your tools ready!

    @ocelot, I don’t think any of the incidents you speak of happened in the E precinct, nor on capitol hill. All were downtown, why not go protest at the downtown precinct?

  14. lol ,what riot? @danny ” causing a trouble “?) Standing up for people who cant stand anymore because the cops killed them isnt a bad way to spend a saturday , and its the cops who put up barricades fucking up the “real police work “. and thats why we should arrest people when they speak out against injustice

  15. I can’t recall the last time this town had thousands of protesters in the streets protesting an issue of global significance. Is everyone really so content with the status quo?

  16. Your cute anecdotal evidence aside, the feds, after a thorough investigation, have found that the SPD “engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force that violates the Constitution and federal law.” And marching in the streets to protest this is creating chaos? What exactly did they do? The article above cites no arrests and no injuries.

    I’m glad you haven’t had any run ins with the police personally, perhaps you aren’t part of the demographic that typically faces excessive force. While you seem pretty satisfied with the status quo, a lot of people aren’t, and they’re participating in peaceful marches in protest. Frankly your attitude against something as American as apple pie — protest, marching, etc. — kind of sickens me.

  17. This “protest” reminds me very much of a toddler having a temper tantrum, doing whatever he/she can to cause destruction in order to get attention. Is carrying lighted kerosene torches through our streets not illegal? Is property damage not illegal? Why the hell did the SPD not make arrests? Does it have something to do with the recent report by the feds, criticizing the SPD? Are officers now going to be reluctant to enforce the law because they are afraid of being accused of “brutality?”

    I wish Ian Birk had been prosecuted too, but at least he has had some serious consequences….loss of a well-paying job, probable inability to get another similar job, community shame, etc. He was about to be fired by Chief Diaz, so he was allowed to resign…what else could the Chief have done? It was King Co. Prosecutor Satterberg, and more recently a federal panel, who decided against prosecuting Birk, so this “protest” against Chief Diaz/SPD seems ill-informed and misdirected.

    Also, where’s Phil?

  18. That potted tree was an oppressive, freedom-destroying, capitalist pig. So just chill before you make accusations, okay?

    In all seriousness, I think the protestors who went behind straightening things up are fantastic. Their actions and protests are what I’ll pay attention to and I’m glad they were out there braving the cold to do this. The decision to not pursue a case against Ian Birk is terrible but as others have mentioned, I don’t think Diaz is the decision maker on that one.

  19. We passed through this modest march on our way home from spending our hard-earned capitalist dollars at a local business (i.e. we drank beers and watched football on The Hill). These protestors harassed us on the way home. Why? I don’t know. We were just waiting to cross the street and they started shouting at us to change the status quo and to screw the police. My fiance politely said “We do not support your message.” Bad idea. Then they really got angry and began yelling at us, getting in our faces.

    Look, I get it. I understand about John Williams and police brutality. NO sane-minded member of this community supports that. But come on, we are not the enemy. Police are not the enemy. Criminals and crime are what we need to fight. And let me tell you, if I am mugged at knife point, if I am at home when someone kicks in my window to steal my TV, if I am so much as followed or threatened, I am not calling a group of squatting anarchists on swank smartphones to come help me out. I am calling the hard working officers at the East Precinct, 100% of the time.

  20. To turn public sympathy for John Williams into 100% support of the cops.

    Bravo guys.

    And did I see one of you claim that torches was “to symbolize the growing gap between rich and poor in a modern society?”

    HAHAHAHA

    For Trotsky’s sake. That is as retarded as it is ineffective.

    Do you honestly think that 100 years ago a railway worker or a wobbly sat around thinking up such non sensical crap?

    Go back to art school, go back to running up your own debt. But get out of the protest business, you suck at it.

  21. Diaz could have recommended that the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission remove Birk’s certification. He could have fired Birk.

    Murder someone on the job? No problem. Just resign and walk away. You can get another job carrying another gun somewhere else.

  22. Charlie –

    You’re right. The Department had completed its initial review of the case, finding that Officer Birk’s actions were completely unjustified, and they dropped hints that Birk would be fired as soon as the criminal case against him was resolved. Birk quit before that could happen.
    Seattle Times coverage of the events: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014241632_p

    And his name is spelled, “Birk” – sorry about that one, too.

  23. Phil, that’s exactly why so many protests in Seattle gain little traction. This isn’t unique to Seattle, BTW. The protesters are insensitive to the fact that the WAY they present the message, and they themselves, do matter for how it’s received. The fact that in Seattle it’s usually a core of “professional protestors” who are a little too eager to protest just about anything doesn’t help either.

  24. The world is a sorry state, and greed etc is driving everything off a fucked up cliff.

    Everyone has different opinions on effective/ethical protest, and always always always that ends up being discussed endlessly and the real issues get ignored.

    Some cops in Seattle are fantastic, but it’s fact that there’s has been a problem w force and violence and murder by our police.

    Property destruction is not violence. Police brutality on innocent citizens and excessive force on guilty dickheads is.

    Wealth is a direct manifestation of oppression of others. Some folks work hard and live decent honest lives, and have gotten wealthy, but the fact is you don’t need that new car or your dinner was too expensive. Wealth and property will always be a target of anger from the masses.

    And lastly, some kids steal those american apparel hoodies and h&m scarves..

  25. ALS wrote, “It was the `Police are the enemy, screw them!’ message that we did not support. Especially when it’s shouted in our faces.” Thanks for clarifying. I wouldn’t like that either, and while I feel some anger toward the police officers who engage in misconduct, I wish people’s focus was on the system that allows it, not so directly at the people who take part in that system, some of who do so in as honorable a manner as they can.

    I’m okay with having police — we’d have to make some deep changes that won’t happen quickly to go without them. I just think that the ones we’ve hired in Seattle have some serious problems. A few of the officers commit heinous acts, many more of them regularly abuse people, and most of them sit by quietly, doing their jobs well and letting their co-workers get away with murder.

    Jim S. wrote, “Phil, that’s exactly why so many protests in Seattle gain little traction. This isn’t unique to Seattle, BTW. The protesters are insensitive to the fact that the WAY they present the message, and they themselves, do matter for how it’s received. The fact that in Seattle it’s usually a core of `professional protestors’ who are a little too eager to protest just about anything doesn’t help either.”

    I wish political demonstrators would be more self-critical. Improvement comes slowly when you pat yourself on the back whether your action was a success or not. I’m sort of stuck in the middle. I’d rather see more effective demonstrations (for instance, I think dragging things out in the street and directing anger at passers-by are counter-productive), but what our police are getting away with around here is appalling, and hardly anyone seems to say or do anything about it. So I’m happy to see people get out in the streets and tell the police that enough is enough. In the case of yesterday’s demonstration, some of them said it in a way that I find distasteful, but at least they said it. I was out having a beer, probably yakking at my partner about the same issues other people were out in the streets bringing attention to.

    Diaz’ staff are completely out of control. The Seattle Police Guild holds too much power, and even though most of its members do us more good than harm, on the whole, the organization is a danger to public safety.

  26. Really? I see plenty of Ethiopians, Somalis, Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese, Ghanians and Nigerians working hard and doing well in this town. I’m pretty sure some out there haven’t given up.

    Of course, maybe they haven’t given up. Maybe they just think, like the rest of us, that this is a bunch of spoiled, silly white kids who are angry at their parents and want nothing to do with them. That would explain why I saw more people in line at the Starbucks on Broadway than at this protest.

  27. ” the fact is you don’t need that new car or your dinner was too expensive.”

    That’s a fact? WHo’s to judge that? What governmental mechanism will you want to establish to determine whether or not I ‘need that new car or your dinner was too expensive’. And if I disagree, will I be taken out and shot?

    And if I don’t get that new car or expensive meal, will you provide work for all the laid-off auto workers and restaurant workers your plan will create?

    I’m beginning to think Romney is right, a lot of this is pure envy mixed up with a failure to understand how jobs are created.

  28. I’m afraid you’ll need some corroboration on that. Anyone who is “beginning to think Romney is right” (see Daved’s comment above) is likely to suffer such significant cognitive impairment that his ability to judge relative crowd sizes is suspect.

  29. nothing is ‘fact’ i guess, except that you think you know something i don’t. we could talk about what a ‘need’ really is, but fuck it. i don’t have time to write a manifesto cuz i’m busy working my ass off to get what i got and yeah i got a nice car thats 11 years old. and i eat organic trash. and i’m not jealous of shit, except people who don’t have aches and pains from working their whole lives. fuck all your stuff. i want health, i need health.

    Also, I’m from the fucking rust belt you don’t know shit about how this economy could have been worked out, but we fucked everything up. We pissed american manufacturing away. Expensive cars ain’t gonna save that.

    Fuck everybody, fuck everything. Do what you want, but don’t cry about what other people do.

    I’m basically saying everything we all do is fucked-up, we are all stupid, you can go fuck yourself, i can too (myself or yours). don’t be surprised if your nice shit gets fucked up by somebody w nothing to lose.

  30. Because brutally arresting people at a police brutality protest just looks bad. By letting the children have their temper tantrum SPD gets to claim the high ground. I think SPD did the right thing tactically, they set up a perimeter around their base of operations so the east precinct was able to normally function.

  31. I never said people didn’t have a right to protest, everyone has a right to protest, I was protesting at the WTO, GA, IWB, FTAA, iraq war and quite a few others myself. I just think it was the action was juvenile and don’t agree with it. I think that my opinion is well within the first amendment rights of the protestors as well as my own.

  32. At the SCCC rally which ended this march, one of the protestors said: “We are not going to stop until we have total freedom and cops don’t exist at all.” (reported by the Seattle Times).

    This “goal” is so naive/unrealistic as to be laughable. Of course there will always be a need for police, because there will always be crime. The anti-police people paint with a very broad, inaccurate brush. The vast majority of SPD officers are professional and respectful…only a small minority of them cross the line into unacceptable behaviors. To say that “many more of them regularly abuse people” is a gross exaggeration.

  33. A little piece of advice to anyone tempted to reply to anything “etaoin shrdlu” has to say: Don’t bother! He (?she) is not interested in any kind of meaningful dialogue.

  34. Those of you that say the anarchists give occupy a bad name. Take a look at yourselves. 4 months have gone by and all you have managed to accomplish is to be evicted from your major camps. People dressed in black are not all anarchists. They are also people who see that there needs to be a change in tactics and want to let out there anger.

  35. Karosene torches? Throwing debris in these streets?
    I despise you people. I hate that that this is called “anti-police” demonstration” because it is misguided and unhelpful. I hate that you think you can wlak around in my streets with torches throwing stuff around and hurling verbal abuse at people and think you are being anything less than what it is you protest you are arrogant, oppressive and have grounded your own movement in fear and intimidation, so to me you are no better than your own complaints.
    I wish they would find something more effective, more intelligent to do. I wish they would leave my city. I find no use for them.
    You hold nothing interesting or productive for me, I wont respond to what I am sure will be your useless babble in response to my intense dislike for you, in fact I wont even read your responses. Get out of Seattle.

  36. The person holding the kerosene torch and wearing the $120.00 black Three Dot jacket in the picture? You are also pathetic.
    Do you know who owns Three Dot?
    Some anarchist you are…

    “A favorite of Hollywood starlets and New York editors, Three Dots is more than just a fashion collection – it’s a lifestyle.” per their own website.

    Get your stupidity in check.

  37. The majority of the people participating in the demonstration agreed with you, and put things back in place after the few who were set on making a mess pulled them out.

  38. Calhoun wrote, “At the SCCC rally which ended this march, one of the protestors said: `We are not going to stop until we have total freedom and cops don’t exist at all.’ This `goal’ is so naive/unrealistic as to be laughable.” I agree. The goal of the group who organized the march is for the chief of police to lose his job.

    “The vast majority of SPD officers are professional and respectful…only a small minority of them cross the line into unacceptable behaviors.” I agree that most of them are professional and seem respectable. I suspect that if those who act inappropriately when their authority is challenged are in the minority, it’s not a small minority.

    “To say that `many more of them regularly abuse people’ is a gross exaggeration.” I think you misunderstood me. I said a small number of them commit heinous acts, and that a much larger number than that abuse people. I consider dragging someone out of a car because he was “lippin’ off” to be abuse.

  39. Were you even there Phil? Doesn’t sound like it. Yet you don’t hesitate to spread your BS. Perhaps if you talked with someone who was there you’d learn that the vast majority of “demonstrators” were shouting violent, hateful slogans. The vast majority were happy to create a mess, or at least encourage those who were.

    I suggest that you either get your facts straight — or look up the definition of majority.