The tensions around the police shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri have inspired protests and rallies in Seattle. At 23rd and Union, a group has been rallying daily at 4:30 PM to raise their signs and voices on race issues and police violence. Demonstrations in the Central District and on Capitol Hill have been relatively small and almost wholly non-violent — though Friday night, attendees at the rally reportedly dragged a large planter into the intersection at 23rd and Union and briefly disrupted traffic. Saturday night, a small group of 20 to 30 demonstrators met at Seattle Central before braving Broadway for a brief march up and down the busy street chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
Meanwhile, criticism of the Ferguson police shooting and response has been nearly universally negative. “Don’t tear gas nonviolent and not-threatening protesters. And for God’s sake, don’t bring dogs out … It’s a throwback to the ‘60s and Bull Connor. The imagery sucks. It was really painful to see the images I saw from Ferguson,” former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper told the LA Times. Stamper oversaw SPD’s response to the 1999 WTO riots.