Post navigation

Prev: (06/03/20) | Next: (06/03/20)

‘Defund Seattle Police’ rally planned for Cal Anderson after another battle of tear gas and blast balls on Capitol Hill

With reporting from Jake Goldstein-Street and Alex Garland

A brokered peace gave way to another night of aggressive crowd control tactics on Capitol Hill as police used pepper spray, flash grenades, and tear gas to end a fifth day of anti-cop protests in Seattle, part of actions across the country and the world against police brutality and racism following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

The just before midnight clash on E Pine came only hours after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and the city’s police chief Carmen Best stood with a group of protesters in front of a huge crowd surrounding the city’s Emergency Operations Center south of Yesler in Tuesday afternoon’s attempt to show solidarity with the demonstrators and work out a plan for reforms and to end the ongoing demonstrations.

Tuesday afternoon, organizers asked the mayor to commit to no more tear gas being used by SPD to control crowds — the mayor refused to make a promise she could not keep.

Around 11:40 PM, after crowds had marched through Seattle following the mayor’s address outside the operations center and met up with thousands more protesters to form the largest showing yet during the week’s demonstrations on E Pine to spend the evening chanting and rallying against the walls of police, state troopers, and National Guard troops lined up outside SPD’s East Precinct headquarters, police responded with a major show of force to a hail of what was reported as rocks, bottles, and “fuel cans” thrown at the front of the line. The crowd’s umbrellas — hoped to be used to ward off the pepper spray, tear gas canisters, and blast grenades — were no match.


BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.


First deploying only pepper spray and blast grenades, police command authorized officers to push back the stubborn crowd with tear gas, and directed an aggressive push that sent groups scattering and pushed the bulk of the crowd quickly down Pine all the way to Harvard where a brief standoff again ensued. Meanwhile, police were reported quickly sweeping through Cal Anderson with more crowd control devices and chemicals as the demonstrator-filled park was emptied. Swift moving contingents of bike police and reports of police carrying rubber bullet guns helped to quickly clear remaining crowds.

By midnight, with tear gas clouds again swirling through the park and the mixed-use blocks of Pike/Pine, the battle was mostly done. A check on radio called for any injured officers and the National Guard units were reported as unharmed. Multiple people detained and arrested were being processed at the East Precinct where an ambulance was also called for at least one injury.

UPDATE: Arrest records from earlier in the week, showed that many taken into custody are residents of Seattle and the state. Seattle Fire, meanwhile provided limited details on medical callouts near the time of tear gas deployment at the protest Monday night:

  1. 6/1/2020 9:22:10 PM F200054163 1 A25 1519 12th Av Aid Response: response for two adult males who were transported to hospital via (1) Seattle Fire aid car and (2) AMR in stable condition.
  2. 6/1/2020 9:42:21 PM F200054179 1 E25 A5 B55 12th Ave / E Pine St Aid Response: 51 year old male in stable condition and transported to HMC.
  3. 6/1/2020 9:28:04 PM F200054170 1 E25 Nagle Pl / E Pine St Aid Response: 19 year old male with minor injuries and did not want further treatment.
  4. 6/1/2020 9:49:00 PM F200054184 1 L10 A5 B55 11th Ave / E Pine St Aid Response: Adult male in stable condition and transported to a hospital by AMR.

We’ve requested Tuesday night’s Seattle Fire records.

Despite the ongoing curfew, looting and attempted break-ins were reported at a handful of businesses including the previously-hit Bartell’s above Pike and Broadway and The Reef pot shop at E Olive Way and Denny. Seattle will remain under nightly curfews from 9 PM to 5 AM through at least Friday night, Durkan said Tuesday.

While Tuesday night’s clash ended in a now familiar fashion, there were also marked differences in the night. The line of police and National Guard troops kept a larger distance from the barricade marking the edge of the perimeter outside the East Precinct near 11th and Pine, reducing the chance of any contact or provocation on either side of the barriers. And police let the city’s 9 PM emergency curfew come and go without making an issue of the deadline on the still going strong protest crowd. Meanwhile, neighborhood businesses including 11th Ave’s Vermillion and E Pike’s La Dive opened as make shift community aid stations with water and supplies for demonstrators.

But Durkan and Best’s hopes for peace did not hold. Earlier, Durkan committed to a Wednesday afternoon meeting with protest organizers and detailed some of the early initiatives she said she is hoping to pursue including an effort to revisit policies around turning off officer body cams during protests out of privacy concerns and changing SPD policy so that so-called “mourning bands” used to mark respect for fallen officers do not obscure badge numbers. The mayor also said she will push forward on larger priorities including increasing support for the Office of Professional Accountability and making sure the Office of Inspector General is fully empowered for “systemic changes.” Finally, the mayor announced a new initiative to “bring together:” the Seattle Police Officers Guild, the Community Policing Commission, and the community together. “We need to have those kinds of meaningful conversations,” she said in a press conference earlier in the night.

Tuesday night again ended in tear gas and Durkan’s efforts to reach out to demonstrators have also apparently fallen short. As the crowd of more than 10,000 was still rallying on Capitol Hill, The Seattle-King County chapter of Black Lives Matter put out a statement distancing itself from Tuesday’s protest — and the meeting with Durkan. “None of our board members were involved in the meeting today with Mayor Durkan or Cheif Best,” it read. “We do not know the people who spoke with the Mayor and Chief.”

Wednesday, organizers are part of a coalition of groups planning what could end up being the largest demonstration yet in Seattle’s week of protests. The Defund Seattle Police March & Rally for Black Lives is scheduled to start at 1:30 PM in Cal Anderson:

June 3, 1:30PM at Cal Anderson Park

Join No New Youth Jail, Decriminalize Seattle, Block the Bunker, Seattle Peoples Party, COVID-19 Mutual Aid, Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network, BAYAN, La Resistencia, PARISOL, CID Coalition, Asians for Black Lives, APICAG at Cal Anderson Park for a Defund Seattle Police March and Rally for Black Lives.

Defund Seattle Police Demands
1- Defund Seattle Police Department
2- Fund Community-Based Health and Safety
3- Don’t Prosecute Protestors

Sign on here:
tinyurl.com/defundSPD
tinyurl.com/defundspdorg

To stop police violence, the police must be reduced in size, budget and scope. The police are rooted in violence against Black people. In order to protect Black lives, this moment calls for investing in and expanding our safety and well-being beyond policing and the state.

“Please bring masks, hand sanitizers, and be aware of social distancing,” the organizers write. The rally will be live-streamed on the COVID-19 Mutual Aid Seattle Facebook page.

Organizers are calling for the city to “defund” the city’s police by cutting half the department’s budget. “The city faces a $300 million budget shortfall due to COVID-19. Seattle City Council should propose and vote for a 50% cut from the $363 million already budgeted for SPD,” a petition on the defunding reads.

The group is also calling for funding affordable housing and “community-based anti-violence” programs as well as demanding the City Attorney’s office not prosecute protestors.

UPDATE 10:20 AM: A spokesperson for the coalition of groups organizing Wednesday’s rally tells CHS that Capitol Hill isn’t being targeted by the demonstrations. We just have good spaces for putting First Amendment rights into action.

“We’re not focused on East Precinct necessarily. Cal Anderson has been a large meeting space a lot of people are familiar with,” the spokesperson said. “A lot of organizers would have loved to meet on the South End or even the International District. We’re not sure where the march will lead.”

The groups organizing the Defund SPD rally are also echoing the Black Lives Matter chapter in calling out Mayor Durkan to reach out further to the communities than the demonstrators she spoke with Tuesday. This morning, the spokesperson said Durkan should have known better.

“During such a critical moment, to say the mayor has been listening, just proves you have not been doing the work in our city. At least check in with the people who have been doing the work so we can give you a good analysis.”

“Whatever game she’s playing, it’s gotten to the point of arrogance,” the spokesperson said.

Capitol Hill from above Tuesday night

Capitol Hill from above Tuesday night (Image: Matt Mitgang)

The Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County chapter organizers are not part of Wednesday’s rally. In a press conference Wednesday, representatives for the organization repeated their call for Mayor Durkan to include the group in her efforts to establish a process for local police reform and end the protests. “We do not know who these people are,” Ebony Miranda, co-founder and board chair of the chapter said. The mayor representing  “she met with BLM,” Miranda said, “undermines” her past efforts with the group.

“Why the mayor represents she met with BLM” “undermines” past efforts

Chapter representatives said they have encouraged their communities to stay home from the protests over concerns about COVID-19.

The chapter has organized a “Seattle Freedom Fund” for “the immediate release of people protesting the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Manuel Ellis (May 2020)” and “to help future bailout efforts.”

Wednesday will mark the sixth consecutive day of protests against police brutality and racism in the city.

People living near the East Precinct protest zone have been mostly seen showing support for protesters or taking pictures or video of the scenes below. Some have experienced tear gas entering their apartments. As a neighborhood centrally located in the city and transportation options and home to the East Precinct headquarters for the officers who patrol Capitol Hill and the Central District, the area has seen plenty of protests. In years past, police have also sometimes pushed demonstrators up the Hill out of the downtown core. Add the wide open spaces of Cal Anderson and you have a recipe for activism and demonstrations. For the #defundSPD rally, that environment will again be put to use.

UPDATE 11:30 AM: Here is a full press release from the rally’s organizers:

Today: Defund Seattle Police Department March and Rally For Black Lives

 

WHAT: Defund Seattle Police Department March and Rally for Black Lives

 

WHEN: 1:30 PM

 

WHERE: March and Rally to begin at Cal Anderson Park

 

WHO: Speakers will include Nikkita Oliver, Sherae Lascelles, Rell Be Free, Evana Enabulele, Bana, Jackie Vaughn, Mattie Mooney, and more.  March is co-sponsored by No New Youth Jail, Decriminalize Seattle, Block the Bunker, Seattle Peoples Party, COVID-19 Mutual Aid, Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network, BAYAN, La Resistencia, PARISOL, CID Coalition, Asians for Black Lives, APICAG

 

Seattle, WA – At 1:30 PM this afternoon, a march and rally organized by groups who have endorsed the demand to defund Seattle Police Department will kick off at Cal Anderson Park. The march will conclude with a delivery of the petition to defund the Seattle Police Department, which has reached 17,000 signatures in less than 48 hours. The petition, linked here states:

 

Police reform efforts—from Minneapolis to Seattle—have failed. To stop police violence, the police must be reduced in size, in budget, and in scope. The police have never served as an adequate response to social problems. They are rooted in violence against Black people. In order to protect Black lives, this moment calls for investing and expanding our safety and well-being beyond policing.  To that end, we demand:

 

1- Seattle’s Mayor and City Council must immediately defund Seattle Police Department (SPD). The city faces a $300 million budget shortfall due to COVID-19. Seattle City Council should propose and vote for a 50% cut from the $363 million already budgeted for SPD.

 

2- Seattle’s Mayor and City Council must protect and expand investments to make our communities safe, prioritizing community-led health and safety strategies. Full access to affordable housing, community-based anti-violence programs, trauma services and treatment, universal childcare, and free public transit are just a few of the non-police solutions to social problems.

 

3- The Seattle City Attorney must not prosecute protesters, including those arrested violating curfew, and those living in encampments. Protesters took to the streets to call for the end of the murders of Black people by police, and SPD unnecessarily escalated tensions and violence.

 

Our schools, workplaces, and government offices frequently collaborate with police. The police are an occupying force in Black communities. Their brutality towards Black people is condoned and accepted as business as usual. We urge all local governmental and non-governmental entities to cut ties with the SPD. When they put on their badges, police officers cease to be members of the working class. In fact their primary role is to surveil, control, and silence all forms of dissent to support the continuity of a racist, harmful, murderous status quo.

 

#BlackLivesMatter #DefundSPD #DisarmSPD #DismantleSPD #DecriminalizeSeattle #CareNotCages #FreeThePeople #FreeThemAllWA #DecriminalizeSeattle #CharleenaLyles #ShawnFuhr #TommyLe #CheTaylor #JTWilliams #IsaiahObet #JesseSarey #JusticeForStoney #SayTheirNames

 

For live updates, visit:

NNYJ FB @NoNewYouthJailSeattle

Resistencia FB @laresistenciaNW

COVID-19 Mutual Aid IG @covid19mutualaid

Dae IG @daeshikjr

Seattle Peoples Party FB @SeattlePeoplesParty

UPDATE 1:00 PM: Wednesday, the Minnesota Attorney General upgraded the charges against former officer Derek Chauvin to second degree murder and has charged three more cops at the scene with “aiding and abetting murder,” the Star Tribune reports.

UPDATE 3:50 PM: The City Attorney will pull back on Seattle’s attempt to remove elements of the federal oversight of the city’s police force. “Here in Seattle, I’ve been closely monitoring the response to demonstrations, and 14,000 complaints to our Office of Police Accountability (OPA) in recent days signal that we are about to witness the most vigorous testing ever of our City’s accountability systems,” City Attorney Pete Holmes writes. “As OPA undertakes its independent investigation of misconduct allegations, it’s become clear to me that we need to pause before asking U.S. District Judge James Robart to terminate the sustainment plan elements of the federal consent decree so that the City and its accountability partners can conduct a thorough assessment of SPD’s response to the demonstrations.” Tuesday, CHS reported on statements from senior Durkan administration official Dominique Stephens about a roster of changes on the table including pulling back on the consent decree effort following days of protests in Seattle. Another element Stephens said was on the Durkan administration’s mind? Changes to police training. The full announcement from City Hall is below.

City Attorney to Withdraw Consent Decree Motion

SEATTLE – Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes issued the following statement regarding George Floyd, recent demonstrations in Seattle, and the federal consent decree with the Seattle Police Department:

“We’ve witnessed historic events this past week. We saw protests erupt in cities across our nation in reaction to an heinous act by a Minneapolis police officer, rooted in a larger history of racially disproportionate policing. George Floyd’s murder was gruesome and the Minneapolis officers’ apparent nonchalance chilled me to the bone. I am struggling with feelings of sadness, grief, and anxiety, and know I am not alone.

“We’re deep into an economic crisis in which people of color are disproportionately losing their jobs. We face a pandemic in which people of color are more likely to die. We operate in a criminal justice system in which people of color are much more likely to find themselves entangled, echoing the Jim Crow chain gangs—which in turn perpetuated the evils of slavery beginning in Virginia four centuries ago, despite the Civil War and the 13th Amendment. No thinking person can deny that our society is fundamentally unjust. These are issues rooted in trauma and continue to traumatize our nation today.

“Here in Seattle, I’ve been closely monitoring the response to demonstrations, and 14,000 complaints to our Office of Police Accountability (OPA) in recent days signal that we are about to witness the most vigorous testing ever of our City’s accountability systems. As OPA undertakes its independent investigation of misconduct allegations, it’s become clear to me that we need to pause before asking U.S. District Judge James Robart to terminate the sustainment plan elements of the federal consent decree so that the City and its accountability partners can conduct a thorough assessment of SPD’s response to the demonstrations.

“Therefore, I intend to withdraw the City from the pending motion before the Court, until we thoroughly review and assess SPD’s response to recent demonstrations. I hope and expect that the City will continue to refine its proposal to address the Court’s concerns relating to accountability. The City will then be in a better and more informed position to submit further briefing to the Court in collaboration with the parties to the Consent Decree.”


BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.


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

78 thoughts on “‘Defund Seattle Police’ rally planned for Cal Anderson after another battle of tear gas and blast balls on Capitol Hill

  1. Protestors are not being “peaceful” when some of them cause property damage, and throw rocks, bottles, and fuel cans at the police. Then, when the police respond appropriately, they charge “police brutality!” If you stay peaceful, you will not be gassed.

    Do we really expect the police to just stand by, and do nothing about violent, criminal actions?

    • Leave it up to Bob Knudson to make the most tone-deaf, milquetoast argument possible.

      You–yes you!–are a large part of the problem, Bob.

      Bob, clearly, is the delusional old white guy saying, “I just don’t understand why Black people can’t just play by the rules!’

    • I think the point is to just create unrest to bring attention to the problems so something is done. They’re not saints and don’t have any effective leaders like Ghandi or maybe MLK, so that’s all they can do.

    • Tear gas is not an appropriate response, it’s a dangerous chemical weapon that is banned in war. The cops were looking for any way they could to incite violence, people heard them on the police scanners, but we stayed strong and peaceful. Word on the street is that a cop plant threw the water bottle, because every single person I sat with wanted to avoid the cops getting violent. If the cops really cared about “violence” (they were wearing RIOT GEAR and are in no physical danger), they should have made attempts to catch the perpetrators instead of tear gassing a bunch of innocent people. Stop believing the lies of the media.

      • We don’t believe the “lies of the media”, we believe hours upon hours of video evidence.

        You’re not winning hearts and minds here. Nobody believes your conspiracy theories about cops secretly causing the conflicts, and having secret plants that start the first violence. The only people that believe that are people that are already horrendously politically skewed in the same way as you.

        It’s actually really interesting how readily you’re all fine with jumping on the conspiracy theory bandwagon after years of ridiculing anybody that has any political opinion different than yours as just a crazy kooked out Republican nazi conspiracy theorist. I’m sure you’ll be just as accepting of the right’s “conspiracy theories” in the future.

        I’m sure when the right has peaceful protests, but somebody starts violence, or, hell, the police starts violence, that you’ll be saying it was just a few “commie agitators” and it was overall a peaceful protest. Bullshit, you’ll call them all white supremacist Nazis and scream that the country is under attack.

        Well guess what? That’s how the rest of the country sees you. As attacking everything we’ve built.

        You’re not fighting tyranny, you’re not fighting evil, you ARE the tyranny. You’ve chosen to reject law and order, our existing justice system, and civilization, and replace it with anarchy, looting, and violence.

        Civilization has mechanisms for achieving justice. Rejecting that and turning to anarchy and violence is not the answer.

      • Wow Joe Blow! Wrong Wrong Wrong! It’s the murdering and violent cops that reject law and order. If you were there, you would know that it was indeed cops and or cop conspirators that started violence. It was blatantly obvious to us that were there.

      • @Joe Blow …lots of words but let’s just focus on your last two paragraphs: looking at what’s going on right now, who chose to reject law and order and thought that they would get away with it? I believe it was a couple of cops killing an innocent black man in broad daylight. Let’s not mix up cause and effect. And if, according to you, Civilization had mechanisms for achieving justice then we’re either not living in a civilized society or those supposed mechanisms simply do not work. And protesting against that isn’t only justified but should be seen as a patriotic duty, especially by people like you.

      • Bob is well known around here for stating his opinions as facts and when questioned, resorts to accusing people of bullying him.

  2. Anything less that a defunding and reorganization–or, better, a disbanding of the SPD entirely and a new, community-focused police organization taking its place–will not cut it.

    I really hope that those “negotiating” with Jenny Durkan and the risible SPD representatives know this.

    A “commission” to “study the problem”?

    Not acceptable.

    A few technocratic fixes around the edges?

    Not acceptable.

    A situation where the SPD get to keep all the military hardware that they should never have had in the first place?

    Nope, not acceptable.

    Allowing the SPD police union to continue to be as powerful as it is?

    Not acceptable.

    Current funding levels continuing into the the future and growing?

    Nope, defunding is definitely necessary.

    What Durkan needs to be made to understand is that milquetoast half-addressing of these issues will not work any longer. Systemic change has to happen and the structure of the SPD as it stands today NEEDS TO GO.

    Change often means creative destruction and that is exactly what we need here: take a wrecking ball to the SPD.

    • I disagree with disbanding.

      You don’t disband SPD, you rebuild it and increase funding.

      1) You increase funding to pay officers enough to live in the communities they patrol. Stipulate that a condition of their employment is that they live in the precinct they patrol.

      2) Incentivize POC to join the police force with sign-up bonuses. Actively recruit from under-served neighborhoods.

      3) Fund a mental health task force and require all law enforcement to complete a mental health assessment every 6 months (or more often if need be). We need to identify officers that are operating from bias and fear.

      4) Disincentivize bad behavior. Make it easier for good cops to report bad cops without fear of reprisal.

      5) Zero tolerance for abuse of power. If a suspect is injured while in police custody; you lose your job. If a suspect dies while in your custody; you go to jail for life. Enact penalties that hurt to make law enforcement think while in commission of their duties.

      But we shouldn’t be disbanding or de-funding the police. An officer patrolling a community that they’re not a part of, that isn’t confident in getting back-up when needed, and is paid a shitty wage is more likely to pull their gun and shoot out of fear.

      I disagree with your wrecking ball analogy but think it’s more of a gutted remodel situation.

      • You’re completely wrong.

        And more funding is the last thing SPD needs.

        Did I mention you’re both uninformed and wrong?

      • I like what you said here zeebleoop. Another way to see it would be a controlled demolition. Just defunding and hoping the community all gets along without effective law enforcement doesn’t seem to account for human nature (cf Lord of the Flies). All that said, there needs to be fundamental change driven through community working together and people being heard.

      • Are you joking, Yep?

        I was NOT saying “let’s get rid of all law enforcement now and forever, and just let…you know…things all just go as they may. I’m sure it will all work out just great.”

        That’s a straw man argument.

        We obviously need law enforcement of some kind.

        What I AM saying is that the current organization of law enforcement–the SPD–is irredeemable at this point.

        To use the garbage house analogy: the SPD is riddled with structural damage, rot, and other assorted problems. At this point, it’s time to wipe the slate clean and rebuild.

        I REPEAT I WAS NOT INDICATING THAT SHOULD BE NO LAW ENFORCEMENT AT ALL.

        What we need is a new organization to undertake law enforcement. The SPD has to go.

      • The problem is their contract. It’s much easier to get rid of this program and start fresh than to fix what we currently have.

      • Cops shouldn’t just live in the communities they serve, they should be elected by those communities and subject to immediate recall when necessary.

        If we elect a city councilperson for our district, then the very least we could do is elect a lieutenant who oversaw the police in that district. Even better would be to elect officers by precinct.

        The system we have now where cops operate with complete autonomy and mess around buying APCs and military gear to act out some sort of rambo fantasy in a precinct they don’t live in and aren’t accountable to leads to this sort of behavior.

      • @PD

        1) What I posted is my opinion; much as you posted your opinion. You can disagree with my opinion but calling my opinion wrong makes you seem like a troll.

        2) You need to practice some reading comprehension as my comment has more in common with your original post than you think.

        3) My comment on increased funding has to do with a remade SPD (see point #2 above and your comment below at 9:08 stating you aren’t saying do away with SPD).

        I’m not saying pour more money into the broken system. My opinion is we need to fix what’s there by changing who we hire as SPD officers/leadership and reward good policing with increased salaries and better cost of living for officers that will execute their jobs with equity for all.

      • @zeebleoop: Excellent suggestions! I would only add that there should be measures taken to decrease the power of the police union.

      • Yes. We need to think about attracting and retaining quality cops and paying the enough to live here. I also think our cops are quite stressed in this city – they are stretched thin. Yes, we need A LOT more social services so cops are not dealing with with all the resulting problems (Charleena Lyles who died at the hands of cops after repeated failure of social services). But simply defunding cops to start out – that is not going to enable recruitment and retention of good cops. And cops are human, so under stress they are more likely to make bad decisions.

  3. A lot of people really need jobs. That much is clear.

    If you have time to protest and riot for days on end that means you don’t really have anything going for you in life.

    That part is sad and this is all a massive catch 22.

    • We have the highest unemployment is decades due to COVID19. To say that people have “nothing going on” in their lives is extremely tone deaf. People are struggling to survive right now . . . economically, physically, emotionally.

    • With ~14% unemployment, yes, some people have time on their hands. Also, consider that the protests have happened on the weekend and nights; when a lot of people are off from their jobs.

      Also, what do you care that people take time/time off to engage in their 1st amendment rights? Did you also post a similar comment about the protests in Olympia around the Covid lock-downs? It could be said those people needed to get jobs or at least stay home to stop the spread of a disease that’s impacting the globe.

  4. I started hearing loud bangs outside around 11:30 last night. There were helicopters, sirens and bangs, it sounded like a war zone.

    I posted in a local group that I’m a member of, asking if anyone knew what was happening. People started giving me details such as “police just said if we don’t disperse, we will be subject to arrest or action with could cause great harm”. I was then directed to a livestream of what was happening.

    The person live-streaming was on the front line of 200 – 300 protesters. All the protesters were a full city block away from the police, with their hands in the air, chanting “hands up, don’t shoot”. Every so often, one person would yell something at them along the lines of “you are on the wrong side of history, you should be marching with us!”, but nothing else. There was no verbal or physical threat, there was no property being damaged, there was nothing but a peaceful protest.

    An order of “clean the street” was overheard; police then started marching forward, throwing flash grenades and tear gas. Seeing police officers march through the smoke, in formation, in full riot gear, with national guard and SWAT team behind them, against unarmed civilians with their hands in the air… it was indescribable.

    The person I was watching and a small group of others were let into the lobby of an apartment building and locked in as the police started chasing protesters. The police started shining their flashlights at the people inside the building, but ended up leaving to continue the chase.

    I switched to watching another livestream at this point, someone who was blocked in by Walgreens on broadway and pine.

    As the police officers were coming back from chasing the protesters, they were on their bikes singing. Others standing on the corner started high fiving each other and some actually had the audacity to take a knee. Their celebration after this display of aggression was disturbing.

    EDIT: I just found of that at one point, an order was given to deactivate body cams
    https://twitter.com/hannahsandles/status/1268087454222827520?s=21

  5. You mention in your article that people living near the scene of these more volatile protests near the precinct have been seen as generally supportive of the protesters. This might be, and it might accurately describe their sentiments. But if you were not supportive of the protesters and lived or owned a business in that area, would you be showing your lack of support for the protesters right now? Oh sure, tape big signs on your groundfloor windows asking protesters to go home. Display your support for the police in some visible way. Hang a fraternal order of police banner from your balcony and wave at the crowd. Probably not going to be done even if residents oppose aspects of the protests.

    • Speaking for my building, everyone I’ve talked to has been supportive, and the people in the nearest buildings have been tirelessly filming the events despite the cops repeatedly kicking them off the rooftop. That takes stamina and dedication. It’s Capitol Hill, people shouldn’t be here if they don’t believe in equality and justice for all, which means they shouldn’t be here if they are on the cops side.

      • I live in Capitol Hill and I support Seattle PD. I also support equal rights, respect, and human dignity. The two are not mutually exclusive.

      • Sadly, Jon, those two thing–ie supporting human dignity as well as the police–is an increasingly contradictory proposition. Not because cops are “bad,” but because of the reality that the police are not accountable to the people and their dignity in any significant way:

        + We don’t elect officers.
        + We can’t recall officers when they violate the rights of the community.
        + Most officers don’t even in live in Seattle, much less in the communities they serve.
        + The only tool cops have to keep order is violence, and they use it judiciously due to the lack of oversight and accountability.

        Calling for a restructuring and democratization of policing is not done out malice for cops, but rather a necessary implication of supporting human rights, respect, and human dignity.

      • Emily,

        You want to be really careful when you start telling people where they should or shouldn’t live based upon their beliefs. I like a diversity of thought, especially in my neighborhood, as group think and uniformlity of beliefs are incredibly boring and the antithesis of what urban living should be.

  6. Although apparently no one can locate the leaders of whatever organization the city is supposed to negotiate with. The people talking to the mayor yesterday were apparently just someone from the crowd. So really what we have is anarchy with demands to disband the police.

    • We need direct community oversight over the police, including the ability to appoint and repeal ranking officers. Those officers should come from and live in the communities they serve. If officers were elected by precinct and subject to repeal then we wouldn’t have this nonsense.

      The fact that Durkan can’t even keep the force from taping over their badge numbers should strike us as incredibly scary–the force operates on its on terms, not the people’s.

      • Maybe if you paid cops better they’d come live in this expensive city and feel more connected to it and also be of high caliber. Defunding cops is not compatible with these goals.

  7. Would anyone care to explain why all the bars and clubs are still closed? Clearly, no one cares about “Social Distancing” at this point.

    It feels like the protests are being used, at least in part, as an excuse to get out from under what feels more and more like house arrest as the weeks go by. When protest is the only entertainment, protest is going to happen.

    And here’s the reality of protesting: It may drive a conversation and lead to long-term change. Maybe. But it also alienates the community. And the longer the protests continue, the more it is going to harden the position of people who were otherwise moderate. As this goes on, the counter-narrative will continue to grow. It starts with “all the police are dealing with the protesters, so the criminals are getting bolder”, flows through “the increased crime we are seeing is because the selfish protesters are wasting the police officers’ time dealing with their garbage”, and flows through to “the protesters are criminals. Clear them off the streets”.

    We can look to the Occupy protests for a pretty clear example of how that happens.

    • I was just saying this. King County was going to apply for phase 1.5 on Monday 06/01 they never did that. We are now on Wednesday 06/03 and still nothing. I think people are now distracted and so they aren’t doing anything. Numbers WILL or ARE going to rise and we wont be eligible for phase 2 anytime soon. Who cares about 1.5? It soon won’t matter.

    • We don’t need bars and restaurants. We need police to stop murdering people. The latter can only be accomplished through protest.

      • Your three statements:
        1: False.
        2: We need people to stop murdering other people. (Fixed this for you)
        3: Unequivocally False. Not all minorities experience the same rate of officer-involved homicide. The difference in rates of officer-involved homicide by racial grouping is not linked to the presence or absence of prior or current protest. Clearly something works, but it certainly is not “only protesting”.

        Not today, Antifa. Not today.

  8. @jseattle, any chance you were able to interview residents of the nearby apartments who reportedly had tear gas enter into their homes?

    Even if you feel that use of force is warranted against the protest – even if you feel that using tear gas is acceptable – how can it be acceptable to use so much tear gas that some residents are saying they had to evacuate their own homes?

  9. I’ve heard so much frothing “I HATE THE PIGS!” commentary from people here over the years, it means I have to read all of this “authentic reportage” from the streets, against my will, with a grain of salt. I’m supposed to take ya’ll’s word for it that everyone is innocent and the cops are just hell bent here. Sorry…I’m not able to just believe that wholesale through some kind of confirmation bias. I want to see the results of the investigation, thanks. If the finger of justice points at the cops, then may justice be swift and mighty.

      • I’m one of the people living in these apartments.

        I 100% blame the protesters for the gas. They are staging their protests in a residential neighborhood that most of them don’t even live in.

        I’ll put up with having to tape up all the entrances to my apartment to keep the gas out if it means letting the police keep using CS gas to disperse the protesters. Because I’ve seen the alternatives: rubber bullets, water cannons, fire hoses, stingball grenades.

        When the bad actors in the crowd of peaceful protesters decide to start problems, I’d much rather see kids running out of clouds of CS than I would see those same kids with broken bones and missing eyes and teeth.

        At this point, my biggest request to the protesters is to take their protest to where the politicians work, not where I live. And my request to the police is, pop smoke earlier. Like 2 minutes after the curfew hits. That way, the CS clears early enough that I’m not waking up to it unexpectedly.

    • What the cops did to Floyd–ie murder him–is probably legal. Same with the use of teargas on protestors. That legality **is** the problem. Watch the videos and decide for yourself who’s at fault.

      • Pretty sure what the cops did to Floyd wasn’t legal. Hence they’ve all now been charged including a 2nd degree murder for the cop that did it.

        There’s plenty to change on the culture for why this happened in the first place, though.

  10. Anarchists and other far-left kiddos spend all their waking hours harassing police, provoking police, threatening police, destroying, burning & stealing things police are sworn to protect, attacking police, sucker-punching police, throwing rocks & bottles at police, brandishing all kinds of weapons against police, throwing fire bombs at police …. but when they get done with the latest chapter of this endless cycle of provocation, harassment and assault, they try to re-write the story and blame cops for reacting exactly what they wanted them to react.

    This is the exact same game the insufferable Trumpkins and right-wingers play: go on the offensive, provoke reaction then claim victim hood.

    If you stand for something (or in the anarchists’ case, nothing) own it. Don’t try to have it both ways. That’s what entitled people do.

  11. Thank you Justin & the CHS Blog reporters for the excellent coverage. I have yet to come across another community news outlet that does such comprehensive work – which is especially appreciated now. I’ve been remiss in donating to the cause (great neighborhood journalism) but will do so today.

  12. The state constitution mandates police services. “Defunding” by a city isn’t going to happen. Its not an option. And rioting is not OK. Peaceful protest of course, but rioting is illegal around the world no matter how much tunnel vision Seattle suffers from.

    • hi paul – you might think that writing these words buried in a comment section might make them that much more potent in your own little mind. but the real story here is how little your mind is. please refrain from mansplaining all those thoughts in your head. remember, they are just thoughts in your head. be safe, and pull up those boot straps as high as possible.

  13. Everyone hates the cops…until you need them.

    What would you think about someone who berates the clerk at Safeway because they don’t like the store’s policies?

    Attacking (verbally or physically) front line cops is pretty much the same thing. The cops on the front line don’t set the policies, culture, etc. Most of them are decent people doing a hard job. Most of them are just trying to do their job and go home alive. It only takes one person with a gun in a crowd to make that not possible. Would you not wear armor if you were on the other side of the barricade? Don’t be a hypocrite. You know you can yell at the cops and throw stuff at them and they will not shoot you. They don’t know some crazy in the crowd won’t pull out a gun and shoot at them.

    You should be protesting at City Hall. Be angry with the mayor. Or the chief of police. Or the city attorney for not pressing charges when there is abuse.

  14. I would like to see Nikkita Oliver and the social justice community be defunded also. The extortion going on in this city is beyond belief. If you look at some of the s*** that goes on, scratch the surface, look up some of these people who are speaking at this event listed above, and you will see that having them lead the city would not bring about positive change anymore than allowing the alt right.

  15. Stop ruining life on Capitol Hill. Go to the police and politicians homes and communities. Go to Medina where the masters of billions of dollars live. Go to the Highlands, go to Sammamish! Disrupt the people that are rich, politicians,and those of institutions! Free those that have been incarcerated, rescind felonies of non violent offenses. Stay out of the daily lives of Seattleites trying to go to work during COVID 19! Wake the real fuck up!

    • Everyon needs to be very careful of virus while protesting but a brigade of people six feet apart on 520 on the way to medina would be pretty awesome, or just right in front of Bezos house. We are going to have a massive budget shortfall and we need Bezos to pony up. (not Dick’s burgers, or local suffering businesses)

  16. This is one of the saddest weeks I’ve seen in my 65 years.
    WOKE culture wants to defund the police….This hive mentality that ALL COPS BAD-is stupid and does nothing to help the memory of George Floyd.By defunding the police you hurt the most vulnerble areas of cities-hurting the very people you pretend to care so much about. What we will fall into is anarchy, chaos and more unustified violence.
    Did you watch the people of all colors ripped apart by their neighborhoods being looted,violent attackers hurting innocent people and worse? WTF. And famous people asking for this?? Of course they have paid security to take care of them.Remember when you are in the midst of a violent crime and no one helps you THEN WHAT?
    Our world is totally screwed by hive mentality that reacts instead of thinks.WAKE UP!!

  17. There are hundreds of peout on the street, and the consevative media and commenters would have us believe that they all agree with the violence and destruction perpetrated by a few.
    The conservative media and commenters would also have us believe that “protests don’t work,” without ever offering any alternatives.
    It’s just as invalid to assume that agents provocateur interspersed in the crowds and attacking police are working with the government. They could very easily just be independent actors who just want to incite the police.
    I don’t believe any of the pronouncements about the protesters or the police made by anyone here or anywhere else on the internet or any other media because I have learned that if you already have a particular belief, you are only going to observe evidence that reinforces what you already believe.
    Everyone is biased, and nearly everyone believes they are not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.