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#BlackLivesMatterFriday takes over downtown Seattle malls, climbs Capitol Hill — UPDATE: Clash at Pine/Boren

A week of protest continued around downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill Friday as hundreds of protesters pushed their way inside Westlake Mall and Pacific Place before marching up Pine to Capitol Hill. UPDATE 4:02 PM: An attempt to stop the march from returning to downtown at Pine and Boren resulted in a clash between police and protesters that included SPD deploying flash bangs and the use of pepper spray.

Original report: A crowd of marchers around 200 people deep spent part of the cold and soaked afternoon marching through the streets around Broadway and Pike/Pine as the streets around East Precinct once again went into lockdown. In addition to the continued anger over the decision not to charge a Ferguson, Missouri police officer for shooting a black teen to death, the protest also included some specific Capitol Hill targets. The protest crowd stopped at 10th and Pike to rally where “Lost Lake, Cafe Vita, Comet Tavern & Neumos profile Somali Youth,” one journalist reported on Twitter. In September, CHS printed a letter from the ownership of Lost Lake claiming that a group of young Somali males were “terrorizing” the neighborhood. The complaint helped spark an East Precinct crackdown in the area after a late summer surge of street crime. Representatives from say Somali and East African communities were unfairly targeted in the push for increased policing.

Lost Lake and The Comet are CHS advertisers.

The crowd was last reported marching back toward Westlake from the Pike/Pine area around 3:30 PM. Police formed a line at Boren to stop the group where a standoff continued between officers and protesters.

UPDATE 4:10 PM: Around 4 PM, police deployed pepper spray and flash bang devices to try to turn back the crowd as it pushed toward downtown on Pine. Some protesters reportedly also were using pepper spray as they also tried to use umbrellas and masks to shield themselves. There were also reports of protesters throwing flares at police. The crowd began dispersing around 10 minutes after the clash, leaving the area headed southbound on Boren. Protest organizers made an announcement asking participants to reconvene at 4th and Pike, downtown. 

The annual Westlake tree lighting ceremony is scheduled to begin at 5 PM. Mayor Ed Murray, scheduled to attend the ceremony, issued a statement on the day’s protests:

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 4.45.43 PM

UPDATE 6:15 PM: Westlake Mall ownership decided to close the facility around 6 PM — three hours short of its planned closing. The main body of the protesters has reportedly disbanded for the night — but not before the mayor was reportedly forced to wait out one of the surges into the mall earlier in the evening. He was able to eventually exit the building without incident, we’re told. The mayor and Chief Kathleen O’Toole “stepped aside” as officers “cleared” the third floor of the mall, SPD said.

More protests are expected Saturday including an effort being championed by local anarchists that will reportedly begin with a 10 PM rally at Seattle Central.

The Friday protests in Seattle had been mostly peaceful with no reports of property damage in the early going. There was one arrest earlier in the day downtown after a man damaged a police bicycle.

UPDATE 11/29/14 7 AM: SPD has posted a brief on Friday’s protests and policing actions.

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16 thoughts on “#BlackLivesMatterFriday takes over downtown Seattle malls, climbs Capitol Hill — UPDATE: Clash at Pine/Boren

  1. Yes nothing like targeting small business for trying to make their neighborhoods safer. But that’s fine your dense dynamic urban environment will go the way of Detroit if you keep letting these morons do this nonsence

  2. If East Africans or Somalis are robbing people, how is it racist to identify them as such. The more detailed the description the better. What if it was a Mexican or Irish group? Would that be OK to describe?

  3. It is amazing the lengths Capitol hill news will go to protect religious conservatives who view women as property and gays as abominations against God and nature,guess the hill really has changed. The worst part is here people receive all sorts of welfare from local government While they do this.

    • What’s amazing is that you project your deluded hallucinations onto arguably one of the most progressive and fair-minded news sources in the entire city. You should maybe think about availing yourself of some of the mental health services from that aforementioned govt welfare

    • I completely agree with you and am astounded that this has morphed into an indictment of a business man who has been trying to address the summer time danger in Seattle, deciding that somehow he is involved in this because he dared report and describe the thugs who did the crimes. Having said that, I don’t think your analysis of the CHS blog are true. I thin he tries very hard to just report.

  4. #copslivesmatter

    No matter what your view is, it’s kind of hard to hide hard facts. A guy attacks a cop and the cop shoots him to defend himself. It’s pathetic that we live in a world where everything (like the proven groups of Somalians that rob people) turn into a heated race argument. FACTS ARE FACTS! These kind of things are what keep racism alive. Blindly protesting and drawing lines isn’t helping anything.

    • Gary, I agree with your comments. This whole story is unfortunate. I waited to read the Grand Jury case before making up my mind. After reading it, I don’t see how any rational human can believe that this officer “murdered” the young man. The young man tried to grab his gun for Christ sake. I know a female police officer here in Seattle and she says the Ferguson officer did the right thing. It’s awful that the young man died but he should have just stepped up on the curb instead of confronting the officer. I don’t think the local and national news organizations are helping much. They are keeping this story hot for ratings only.

    • I agree with you too, about the specifics. But I think that perhaps what has caused this to grow is that many people CAN identify with being victimized by the police, or at least mistreated. This isn’t about the facts or Brown, this is about people feeling oppressed. i am a mild mannered, law abiding, middle forties white guy. Even I have had cops treat me poorly. Not often, but it’s really pissed me off. That experience probably happens more often for some people. And we have had a number of issues with police reactions and unjustified shootings. This is just a catalyst for the frustration and refusal of many cities to address police accountability. Having said that, I don’t support the protest and think that a lot of it is misguided. But I do understand how it might happen.

  5. “How can we start a productive dialogue about inequality, racism, and injustice, among other social ills in America today?”

    “Make kids singing Christmas carols cry, damage small local businesses, and scare middle- and upper-class white people even further! Yeah! Drive them to the suburbs forever, that’s the way!”

  6. I was at Pike and Boren. There was no use of pepper spray by protestors (why would we? They have guns and were wielding massive sticks and riot gear) nor were any flares thrown toward police. They were thrown in the air, in the middle of the intersection where the crowd was the thinnest and farthest away from cops.

    • Why were they throwing flares anywhere? And what possible benefit do protestors think will ensue from antagonizing police and terrorizing people shopping? I think the commercialization of the season is kind of sickening too, but do you really think there’s a positive cause/effect relationship between these activities and improving police/minorities relationships? If you do, you’re deluded. This will not help.

  7. “The protest crowd stopped at 10th and Pike to rally where “Lost Lake, Cafe Vita, Comet Tavern & Neumos profile Somali Youth,”

    what i find interesting is that the “representatives of Seattle’s Somali and East African communities” themselves admit that, “our strong belief that these crimes are the work of a tiny number of misdirected youth”. this leads me to believe that the crimes over the summer were commited by somali youth and representatives of that community know (or knew) who they were. so by default, saying that the crimes were committed by somalis had at least some basis in truth.

    so i don’t see where a group of small businesses, calling out what they perceive, and what’s admitted by the very community that’s objecting, is cause for them to be “blockaded”.

    link to the chs article with the qoutes – http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2014/09/reps-say-somali-and-east-african-communities-unfairly-targeted-in-capitol-hill-crackdown/

  8. I guess some uninformed people have nothing better to do over the long holiday weekend. And I agree that protesting at/in the Westlake Mall is counterproductive. Were they protesting the “commercialization of Christmas”, or “police/community relations”? Obviously, these are totally separate issues.

    If the go%#mn anarchists do their thing Saturday night, I hope the SPD acts aggressively and arrests those who commit crimes.