UPDATE 5/31/2020 6:45 PM — ‘Thousands’ march across Capitol Hill blocked from downtown in third night of Seattle protests
UPDATE 5/31/2020 7:20 AM — Capitol Hill and the Central District suffered multiple break-ins and thefts overnight with the city under curfew after a day of protests against police, downtown clashes, and outbreaks of vandalism and looting. Booms and pops could be heard through the night echoing up from the downtown core where police continued to use crowd control tactics to clear people from streets and break-ins at commercial buildings.
Saturday night and into Sunday morning, there were multiple unconfirmed reports of commercial break-ins across Capitol Hill and the CD starting around 8 PM with a report of broken glass and looting from the Scotch and Soda fashion store at Pine and Melrose. UPDATE: Turns out, someone busted the glass at the neighboring Rapha store — not Scotch and Soda — and it did not appear anybody was able to enter the building.
Just before 10 PM, police responded to a report of people stealing inside the QFC at Broadway and Pike in the Harvard Market which would be the center of another police response an hour later with a break-in and looting reported at the shopping center’s Bartell Drugs. Later in the morning, police were called to 24th and Union where a smash and grab break-in was reported, one of multiple pot shop burglaries reportedly attempted in the city overnight. The Green Door pot shop on Rainier was also reportedly hit. Meanwhile, police were called to multiple other addresses through the night after security alarms were tripped or suspicious activity was reported.
A house fire in a derelict building Saturday around 9 PM does not appear to be related to the day’s violence. Seattle Fire says its crews were able to quickly extinguish the small fire in a boarded-up house slated for demolition on 13th Ave E just south of Volunteer Park.
CHS is aware of at least four people taken into custody in the overnight looting including one juvenile.
In a statement issued just before 1 AM, SPD Chief Carmen Best described the overnight policing efforts. “Currently, we are still addressing a number of groups of offenders who continue to assault officers and loot the downtown core, indiscriminately,” she wrote. “The National Guard is assisting in controlling the situation downtown.”
“We will continue to respond swiftly to all acts of violence and destruction,” the statement reads.
Seattle will again be under a 5 PM to 5 AM curfew overnight Sunday under Mayor Jenny Durkan’s emergency orders in the wake of Saturday’s clashes.
ORIGINAL REPORT 5/30/2020 —
Dispersal order with tear gas and blast balls pic.twitter.com/FglhRXn1Sf
— Alex Garland (@AGarlandPhoto) May 30, 2020
Large crowds numbering between 300 to 500 people formed across the area as a rally and protest in Westlake Center carried on with songs and speeches.
The City of Seattle announced a 5 PM curfew but it was not immediately clear what actions police would take to enforce the directive. “While many individuals gathered peaceful, some individuals have started fires and are destroying buildings,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said via social media. “There are multiple fires downtown and it is an extremely dangerous situation.”
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, Police Chief Carmen Best, and Fire Chief Harold Scoggins announced an 5:00 p.m. curfew effective today, May 30 and tomorrow, May 31. Mayor Durkan will soon be signing an emergency order. The curfew will be in effect from 5:00 pm – 5:00 am, and during those hours residents and visitors should remain in their residence to the extent possible and should refrain from traveling in and through Seattle. The curfew is intended to prevent violence and widespread property damage, and to prevent the further community spread of COVID-19 through continued gathering.
The curfew will be in effect Saturday night and again Sunday after 5 PM.
“The Mayor and Chiefs ask all residents and visitors to voluntarily abide by the curfew,” the announcement reads. “The City does not intend to enforce the curfew, except for violations that result in public health and safety threats including fires, extensive property damage, and violence.”
UPDATE: In an evening news conference, Durkan said violent acts “do not honor Mr. Floyd” and the escalated SPD response and curfew were needed after “many thousands” of protesters “flowed into downtown primarily interested in destruction” and overshadowed groups holding peaceful rallies at Westlake. The groups gathering in Westlake “did so peacefully, for noble values,” the mayor said but were outnumbered in a day that “quickly turned violent and destructive.” Durkan said police responded with crowd control tactics after molotov cocktails were thrown at cars and buildings, fireworks were thrown at police, and multiple officers and civilians were injured — though none seriously.
SPD says 57 people were taken into custody.
According to radio reports and accounts from people in the crowds, SPD command announced a change in status to “riot” response as crowds began breaking containment efforts around 4 PM. A police vehicle was seen burning on Pine near 5th and the vehicle and other law enforcement vehicles in the area were reportedly ransacked. Police reported that a rifle was removed by a protester and there were reports of gunfire in the area but no reported injuries. Police later said that they do not believe the rifles were fired. UPDATE: SPD now says it is investigating whether the weapons were fired after video emerged that shows a protester firing one of the guns.
Protesters and activists countered the mayor’s account and said SPD’s escalation moved the protest to a more violent phase.
UPDATE: In an overnight statement from Chief Best, the SPD head described why she says police were forced to escalate their response:
Due to the actions of some groups who wanted to take advantage of this situation – what started peacefully around Noon, became violent and destructive around 2:40pm.
At that time, officers began being assaulted with rocks, bottles, and other projectiles. At 2:38pm the first dispersal order was issued as the demonstration became unlawful and then a riot. Offenders were throwing and using incendiary devices including Molotov cocktails. These devices quickly ignited several city and private vehicles.
As the situation continued to intensify, protestors entered the freeway at Spring St and attacked government buildings.
“As these groups refused to listen to commands or stop their destruction, SPD officers then had to deploy crowd control measures to end the lawlessness as assaults on officers and property continued,” the statement reads. “At no time have officers discharged their firearms. There were countless uses of non-lethal and crowd control tools.”
During Saturday night’s conference, Durkan and city officials confirmed that two AR-15 style rifles were taken from SPD vehicles — only one was recovered. The mayor did not address how such powerful weaponry was left unattended during a protest of this scale. It was not immediately known if the rifles were loaded. UPDATE: “We have since recovered both rifles,” SPD said in a statement Saturday night. “We currently have no reports that the rifles were fired while they were out of our possession.” An SPD spokesperson tells CHS that rifles kept locked inside a police vehicle — even at a protest of Saturday’s scale — fall under department policy. “SPD policy requires rifles to be secured and locked within the vehicle, in ‘Patrol Car Ready’ status,” the spokesperson said.
Saturday night, Durkan said the curfew will extend across the city and urged people to stay home. SPD, meanwhile, would be trying to “Inform and educate people first” as officers work to clear the streets, the mayor said.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s office announced it was sending 200 National Guard Troops to Seattle at the city’s request. “Guard personnel will be unarmed and work under the direction of City of Seattle leadership,” the announcement reads.
UPDATE x3: Durkan also stirred controversy with her answer to a question about many police officers covering their badge numbers with fabric and tape during the protest. The mayor said she would look into the reports but also added, “My belief is that was not badge numbers covered up, that is a traditional way that police officers recognize if a police officer’s life has been lost.”
UPDATE 6:58 PM: Police and protesters were engaged in an ongoing skirmish near Boren and Pine near the base of Capitol Hill. Protesters reportedly used construction fencing to erect a barrier blocking police at Melrose. Meanwhile, SWAT vehicles and officers were seen setting up in areas of downtown as the crowds of protesters, rioters, and looters dissipated and clouds of tear gas continued to swirl across the littered blocks, moved from street to street by lines of officers and blasts from flash grenades.
SPD pushing protest East up Pine pic.twitter.com/xd5DhbBDgI
— Alex Garland (@AGarlandPhoto) May 31, 2020
Intense clash happening in Downtown/Capitol Hill in Seattle right now right below my window. Lots of flash bangs, physical altercations with cops, scaffolding at the WSCC project town down. #GeorgeFloydprotest #seattleprotest pic.twitter.com/G9p9tUO00F
— CK (@Chadmmmk) May 31, 2020
— Molly Rae (@SweetMollyRae) May 30, 2020
— Jake Goldstein-Street (@GoldsteinStreet) May 30, 2020
— marcus 🌹 (@LuxMarcus) May 30, 2020
— Catherine Meininger (@cmm_3310) May 30, 2020
Two different protests downtown. One trying to be peaceful and the other with many folks causing problems. pic.twitter.com/4rWWl8CV71
— Sheila Edwards Lange (@EdwardsLange) May 30, 2020
— ash shah (@itsashshah) May 30, 2020
— Shawn Garrett (@ShawnGarrett) May 30, 2020
— Jay Gleason (@Jay_Gleason) May 31, 2020
Hundreds of protesters were reported on the Madison overpass of I-5 as protesters filed onto I-5. The freeway was closed to traffic between 520 and I-90.
One of the largest crowds was reported surround Seattle Police headquarters on 5th at Cherry where police deployed tear gas to beat back the protesters.
The Seattle protests are part of demonstrations and rioting in cities across the country in the wake of the killing of Floyd by police in Minnesota. Saturday’s clashes follow overnight protests that left glass smashed across Capitol Hill. Seven people were arrested overnight, according to SPD including one male taken into custody on 12th Ave outside the vandalized Ferrari dealership in a brutal arrest captured on video. Saturday, SPD said it would investigate any use of force during the demonstrations.
After the clashes around Westlake and at the SPD headquarters, police were also turning attention to defending the West Precinct near 9th and Lenora on the edge of the tech company-filled South Lake Union.
UPDATE 7:23 PM: City Council member Kshama Sawant — part of the slate of speakers for the rally at Westlake before the violence broke out — released a statement critical of SPD’s response and the mayor’s decision to impose a curfew:
Seattle doesn’t need a curfew, pepper spray, and tear gas. We need an end to racist police violence. We need economic and housing security, including immediate COVID relief, housing, and jobs through the Amazon Tax. We need an end to the inhumane homeless sweeps. We need the cancelation of rents, mortgages, and utility payments for those who have lost income. We need an elected community oversight board with full powers over the police, including hiring and firing.
“Shame on Mayor Durkan for using the cover of the COVID crisis to crack down on protesters,” Sawant said. “Durkan and other establishment politicians, who claim to be saddened by the murder of George Floyd, have enabled the systematic racism and violence from the Seattle Police Department.”
UPDATE 6/1/2020: The Seattle Police Department has released a timeline of the events from Saturday:
For full transparency to the public of the timeline of events, below is an initial timeline of major events on Saturday, May 30 that were reported through Seattle Police Operational Command and Seattle Fire Department in real time.
We’ve included the full timeline below. One timestamp we were interested in reviewing comes at 4:02 PM. That’s when SPD command announced via radio that the protest was now to be handled as a “riot.” According to the timeline, the announcement came after this incident at 5th and Olive:
4:02:38 PM Assault on officers 5/Olive-
Two minutes later, the first molotov cocktail was reported thrown.
Time Saturday May 30 6:00:00 AM SPOC Activated 9:31:56 AM Radio called to report a citizen called, stating that Antifa is to gather at Westlake at noon per a Twitter feed. RTCC informed 11:00:00 AM EOC Activation 11:29:10 AM 50 People at SPD HQ 11:42:40 AM Approximately 100 people at SPD HQ 12:22:27 PM Approximately 1000 people at SPD HQ 1:08:29 PM Speakers at SPD HQ are encouraging them to join Westlake event 1:58:28 PM 5/Cherry bottles thrown at officers 1:58:41 PM 5/Madison- rocks and bottles thrown 2:00:49 PM 5/James bottles thrown 2:19:35 PM Approximately 4000-5000 crowd size at Westlake 2:32:17 PM Crowd is more hostile on 5/Pine. Bikes from 4/Pine to 5/Pine 2:36:33 PM 5/Pine rocks and bottles 2:38:15 PM rocks and bottles- unlawful assembly- need dispersal order 2:39:07 PM taking glass bottles 5/Pine 2:39:16 PM officer exposed- need medical 2:40 PM SPD officer injured. SFD Deployed. 2:45:44 PM SFD to 6/pine. Individual pepper sprayed. 2:59:53 PM Projectiles being thrown 5/Pine 3:01:18 PM Officer struck in the throat by a projectile. Minor injury 3:09:00 PM Patient was pushed to the ground during the protest. Transported to HMC by AMR. 3:10:20 PM Dispersal orders given at 5/pine 3:35:14 PM Large crowd headed to HQ- currently 5/Columbia 3:43:00 PM SPD officer injured. 3:46:25 PM Throwing bottles in front of Bartells at 5/Olive 3:52:45 PM SFD to 3/Pine for injured officers 3:53:56 PM Patrol car being vandalized in front of Old Navy 3:55:53 PM Patrol car on fire by Old Navy 3:59:19 PM Crowd is on I-5 4:01:55 PM SFD inquiring if they can get in to handle the car fire at 5/Pine. Negative – Don’t have a perimeter around it. 4:02:38 PM Assault on officers 5/Olive- 4:04:50 PM Molotov cocktail thrown at the police vehicle 4:05:22 PM Hundred individuals head toward SPD HQ 4:06:14 PM Thousands on I-5 SB 4:07:09 PM Call for Resources to HQ ASAP 4:08:02 PM SFD is at 5/Olive needing to get through to the injured officer 4:10:24 PM HQ under siege 4:14:26 PM Radio: 6/Pine rifle from police vehicle 4:15:03 PM HQ is taking bottles 4:15:41 PM DHS Alert: Social media user stated he will join Seattle protest and has desire to kill Law Enforcement officials 4:18:09 PM Approximately 1200 at HQ, HQ taking bottles 4:18:37 PM 5/Pine: Police rifle was turned in to officers 4:21:38 PM Large crowd headed toward the West Pct. Make sure infrastructure in place. 4:26:12 PM SPOC made a regional mutual aid request made via EOC 4:26:53 PM Paintballs being thrown at HQ 4:27:30 PM Officers being assaulted at HQ 4:30:32 PM Reports of items being thrown at HQ smell like accelerants 4:31:17 PM 5/Union Molotov cocktail are being made 4:31:26 PM More resources are coming to HQ 4:32:11 PM Crowd attempting to break windows 5/Olive 4:36:40 PM Reports of a fire at Pacific Place 4:39:24 PM Vehicle torched 4:39:24 PM Car fire. No reported injuries. Unsafe for crews to operate. 4:43:12 PM Report of man walking up the stairs at Yesler/5 Ave overpass with rifle 4:43:58 PM Mayor’s office will announce 5pm curfew 4:45:22 PM Smoke coming into Nordstrom’s building. 5:02:00 PM SFD en Route to Auto fire Alarm at City Hall 5:12:55 PM HQ is under control – Crowd about 100 5:16:33 PM 4/Battery – Approximately 1000 in the street 5:22:30 PM 5/James officers taking rocks. Molotov cocktail 1500 blk of 6th. Need resources 5:25:39 PM 4/Pine occupied vehicle windshields shattered 5:28:27 PM Starbucks is being looted 5:29:54 PM Reports of break in at King County Admin building 5:31:15 PM 300 individuals heading toward the West Pct 5:31:59 PM Nordstrom on 6th windows broken 5:34:04 PM 2 city owned vehicles burned 5:35:26 PM 6/Stewart officer is surrounded in his vehicle. Units en route. 5:38:00 PM Reported arson, dumpster fire with no exposures. No injuries reported. 5:40:27 PM KC admin building damage. Windows broken. 5:40:43 PM Looting at Nordstrom’s. Resources en route. 5:42:35 PM 5/pine injured officer hit in the face. Medic needed will meet at 1500 blk of 5th 5:43:00 PM SPD officer injured. 5:56:15 PM Taking rocks at 6/Olive 5:56:40 PM Objects being thrown 5/Pine 5:57:09 PM Injured officer 6/Olive 5:57:00 PM SPD officer injured. 5:58:13 PM 6/Olive way objects thrown 5:59:06 PM 6/Olive – Lasers pointed at officers 6:43:16 PM Potential fire at North Face 6:47:32 PM Large group throwing rocks and bottles 9/Pine 6:50:53 PM 9/Pine need assistance- heavy rocks and bottles 7:02:00 PM Broken Windows East Side 1500 blk of 5th 7:10:29 PM Breaching additional stores/breaking windows 7:12:00 PM 2 vehicles on fire. No injuries reported. 7:14:13 PM Significant property damage 1500 blk 5th. 7:15:53 PM Car fire in front of Ben Bridge, subjects breaking in Ben Bridge 7:18:01 PM WSP car damaged at 4/Pike 7:18:40 PM SFD waiting on an escort to 4/Pike 7:21:04 PM 20 people trying to break into Target 7:29:25 PM 300+ to north and another 150 + to the south – approximately 500 total. 7:34:00 PM Reports of arson via security camera. Small fire extinguished on its own. 7:48:00 PM Reports of Arson 7:59:43 PM Large group forming in front of Pacific Place 8:03:00 PM Caller reports person starting fire at construction site. 8:06:14 PM 2 in custody for looting Carhart 8:09:00 PM SPD reports car fire. No injuries reported. 8:09:00 PM WSP officer injured. 8:17:05 PM Multiple locations being looted 8:23:17 PM Report of a fire inside Nordstrom 8:24:12 PM Multiple windows being broken at Post Office. 8:26:03 PM Group of 200-300, 3/University, breaking windows as they move. 8:27:19 PM Group of looters 6/Olive NW corner 8:39:06 PM Valley CDU released to attend to obligations in their own jurisdiction 8:39:51 PM Looters at Walgreens at Pike 8:41:04 PM Looter reentering Bartell 8:42:27 PM Officer hit with projectile on the head 8:46:51 PM Walgreens- 2 in custody 8:47:53 PM Looting, Tabaco store 3/Pine 8:48:42 PM Individual spray-painted kill cops on the side of the building – Pendleton store 8:49:50 PM Handgun at Robins Brothers jewelry store 8:54:15 PM Large group near 4/Pine smashing windows 8:58:41 PM Citywide: all traffic resources to block traffic coming into downtown 8:59:16 PM Multiple looting occurring, bikes to go mobile to deter 9:05:10 PM Rocks and bottles 5/Pine, transport needed for 4 prisoners at 5/pine 9:13:39 PM Westlake center reports of 10 individuals with crowbars attacking security. Units there not seeing anything. 9:20:10 PM Looting at Pacific Place 9:28:46 PM Per South ACT officers: 2 rifles, handgun compact, gloc 9mm in a fanny pack 9:32:20 PM 10 Sheriff deputies to west to handle 911 calls, 8 going to East, 20 will rove downtown 9:33:14 PM Men’s Warehouse looting 9:37:22 PM Looters at Bartells 5/Olive resources being requested 9:39:01 PM Jewelry store 5/University broken into 9:39:49 PM 5/pine highly agitated male with body armor and rifle 9:42:21 PM Stabbing 5/pike need medic, stab wound to abdomen 9:45:25 PM Requesting 5/Pike for scene security 9:46:35 PM Reports of bats being swung on 1st- units responding 9:47:29 PM 523 union – Bank has live feed of 2 people in the bank 9:51:50 PM 10-20 subjects lighting items on fire 2nd floor pacific place 9:52:56 PM Bellevue SWAT enroute to check on fire at Pacific Place. 9:54:38 PM Looters back at Vans 9:54:54 PM 3 in custody at Walgreens 3/Pike 9:55:24 PM Units in the area of Westlake, reports of people on the roof of Pacific Place… Radio: its security. They locked themselves up there, Bellevue SWAT enroute. 9:56:18 PM Fire enroute to NorthFace looters are setting fire. Units are clearing the building. 10:04:32 PM Looting at Nordstrom’s. 10:10:39 PM Looting at Patagonia. 10:12:14 PM Units taking bottles, explosives from the crowd 6/Pine. 10:20:28 PM Reports shooting from a silver Malibu 3/pike 10:27:59 PM Pursuit en route NB I-5 10:29:56 PM Vehicle in pursuit has crashed 10:32:58 PM One in custody I 5 onramp Dearborn 10:38:00 PM Looting at Northface 10:38:14 PM Looting at Verizon 10:41:24 PM Vans and Bartells waiting for transport 10:51:13 PM Looter inside Target, 2nd floor 11:03:59 PM 1/Pine subjects breaking into Seattle T shirt Shop 11:04:12 PM 1/Blanchard subjects in the Robins Brothers Jewelry store 11:08:21 PM 3 in custody at Pacific place 7/olive need additional resources 11:10:38 PM 2 arrested at Target 11:10:51 PM 2/Union firearm recovered 11:11:04 PM Looters at Arcteryx 11:12:28 PM Need additional units at North Face 11:13:03 PM Bellevue SWAT enroute to Arcteryx 11:14:05 PM Request for assistance at North Face 11:14:43 PM Large group entering Smoke Shop 11:16:17 PM Bellevue SWAT heading to North Face 11:16:25 PM Units under control at NorthFace 11:26:34 PM T mobile Looting 11:26:54 PM Looting at Cupcake Royale 11:27:32 PM Looting Elliott Ave/Bell St 11:29:11 PM 2/Pike for another arrest 11:30:45 PM Target – 2nd Ave on 3rd floor man destroying electronics area with garbage can 11:34:48 PM Bellevue SWAT – citizen reporting someone stuck in the elevator on McDonalds side 11:48:18 PM Looting at Carhart
*Please note this ends at midnight for 5/30/2020*
On Sunday, Mayor Jenny Durkan repeated her belief that there were two types of protesters this weekend — those there for peaceful demonstrations and, as she said, those taking opportunistic, more violent actions. Durkan promised “a high level of scrutiny and review” after multiple complaints and videos showed aggressive arrests and sometimes brutal looking crowd control tactics. Some of the videos, Durkan said, should be viewed with skepticism. “The context of what happened before is important,” the mayor said.
Durkan and SPD Chief Carmen Best have promised a full review of arrests including demographics and where the people are from, in addition to the timeline of the incidents that led to the escalation of police tactics during the protests.
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