At least eight people have been charged with crimes related to the May Day protest last week that Seattle Police say turned into a “riot” on Capitol Hill. Of the 16 total that were arrested, only four were from Seattle.
Three males and one female, ages ranging from 19-24, were arrested for felony assault, though no charges were filed in the arrests as of Wednesday afternoon. Charges are expected to be filed in at least two of the cases, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office, while the other two cases have not yet been referred to prosecutors.
Eight other male suspects all pleaded not guilty to charges in municipal court, mostly for obstruction. No arrests were made this year for property destruction, though several vehicles — including a much-photographed KIRO radio news jeep — were damaged and tagging and broken windows were reported up and down Broadway.
Gary Tonks, 24, pleaded not guilty to an illegal weapons possession charge and is being held on $15,000 bail. Brendan McCormack, 28, pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment and is being held on $30,000 bail.
UPDATE 4:30 PM: “Idiotic.” That’s how council member Bruce Harrell described to two SPD officials the way officers handled the first May Day arrest that appeared to spark a burst of mayhem on Capitol Hill.
The incident on Broadway, which was captured on video from a TV news helicopter overhead, appears to show an officer on a bicycle ramming the back of a protestor in the anti-capitalist march, then taking the suspect to the ground.
Captain Chris Fowler, who was giving a May Day debriefing to Harrell and the Council’s public safety committee Wednesday, said the arresting officer had probable cause that the man assaulted an officer minutes before the arrest. Still, Harrell questioned the decision to arrest the suspect at that moment.
“If we had intel that one person assaulted an officer, and that person was not fleeing, we could have avoided using all these devices,” Harrell said. The suspect in the video, Adrien Roques, 32, pleaded not guilty to assaulting an officer with a traffic cone.
The 30-minute debriefing also included a lengthy discussion over the names of SPD’s “less lethal weapons” that were deployed during the protest, including “pepper ball guns,” “blast balls,” and “blue tipped impact sponges.”
“We don’t use anything I would consider a ‘rubber bullet,’”said Assistant Chief Steve Wilske.
Wilske said all of SPD’s use of force incidents during the protest, including every one of the many blast balls deployed, will be reviewed the by the use of force review board with members of the federal monitoring team. He didn’t say when that report would be made available.
— Bryan Cohen (@bchasesc) May 6, 2015
During public comments, Capitol Hill Chamber director Michael Wells said neighborhood business owners were generally happy with SPD’s response. However, he said he heard complaints about tear gas wafting into apartments and businesses whose occupants were not involved in the protest.
Here’s the list of those arrested for felonies and those charged with crimes, according to Seattle Municipal Court and King County Superior Court records:
Adrien Roques, 32, pleaded not guilty to assault.
A 23-year-old male was arrested for felony assault.
Diego Miguel, 19, pleaded not guilty to obstruction, and failure to disperse.
Casey Miller, 20, pleaded not guilty to obstruction.
Tobiah Goetz, 27, pleaded not guilty to obstruction.
A 24-year-old male was arrested for felony assault.
Kristopher Watson, 28, pleaded not guilty to obstruction.
Brendan McCormack, 28, pleaded not guilty reckless endangerment.
A 19-year-old male was arrested for felony assault.
Gary Tonks, 24, pleaded not guilty to obstruction and illegal weapons possession.
Austin Larkin, 24, pleaded not guilty to obstruction.
A 21-year-old female was arrested for felony assault.
Pretrial hearings were set for most cases in the coming weeks. Three of those arrested during May Day were not charged and another male had charges pending in municipal court as of Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, 20-year-old Rolando Cordova-Kelly also faces a third degree assault charge for allegedly throwing “dangerous objects into a crowd of officers.”
Three officers were hospitalized for injuries sustained during the protest while protestors sustained welts, cuts, and bruises they said were caused by SPD’s flash bang crowd control explosives which created giant booms through the night. Some protestors were also treated by fellow marchers after being pepper sprayed by police.
UPDATE: SPD has announced that nine officers sustained injuries:
One officer sustained a hand laceration after being struck by shards of glass from a bottle, thrown by a suspect.
One officer sustained a finger fracture while taking a suspect into custody.
One officer sustained a wrist injury—either a sprain or a fracture, still to be determined—after a suspect knocked them off their patrol bicycle.
One officer sustained a dislocated shoulder during the event. Details of the circumstances leading to the injury are not yet available.
Five other officers also sustained hearing loss, eye injuries, and/or burns from an incendiary device thrown by a suspect.
According to a probable cause statement from SPD, an officer on a bicycle was hospitalized for a wrist injury after a protestor allegedly blocked his path and caused the officer to be “thrown down to the ground.” The protestor was arrested for felony assault without incident. Another protestor was arrested for felony assault for allegedly throwing a brick at officers while another was arrested on the same charge for allegedly throwing a road flare, according to probable cause statements.
The number of charges resulting from this year’s May Day marks a departure from protests in years past where few of those arrested were ever charged. In 2014, only three of the ten people arrested were charged in the days following the protest. Seventeen people were arrested during May Day 2013.
CHS reported on the May Day 2015 events as they happened — including drone sightings, a man stuck on a basketball hoop, and pictures of people taking Capitol Hill riot selfies. You can view the Capitol Hill timeline and reports here.
“We didn’t anticipate that even before dark it would become violent,” SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole told CHS the Saturday morning following the clashes with protesters. “In shutting it all down, it ended up back at the college. We fully expected them to go downtown.”
SPD Deputy Chief Carmen Best and Assistant Chief Steve Wilske will be giving a May Day debriefing to the City Council’s public safety committee during its Wednesday, 2 PM meeting.
UPDATE 5/7/15 9:20 AM: SPD has released a small set of reports documenting assaults reported by officers during the May Day clash on Broadway. We have embedded the reports below. The reports document the response of bike officers to the scene at Broadway and Howell and detail some of the accounts of officers who reported being assaulted or having objects thrown at them:
“Officer Myers showed me the piece of rock he was struck by and I would estimate it to be a 2 inch by 2 inch piece,” the report continues. “Officer Myers did not sustain any injury from the rock because of the protective equipment he was wearing during the protest.”