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Seattle under curfew again as fourth night of protests planned — UPDATE: Tear gas and flash grenades at Capitol Hill’s East Precinct

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

MONDAY UPDATE 9:35 PM: A peaceful fourth night of protest in Seattle gave way to a violent clash just after 9 PM as thousands of protesters trickled off Capitol Hill and remaining demonstrators tangled with a wall of police outside the East Precinct headquarters at 12th and Pine. Updates from the protest and clashes are below.

TUESDAY UPDATE: MAYOR MEETS WITH ORGANIZERS — 6/2/2020: Two large crowds of protesters have gathered with one group marching up Capitol Hill while another larger demonstration has settled in around the city’s Emergency Operations Center on 5th Ave just south of Yesler where organizers are meeting with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

A protester marches on Capitol Hill Sunday

A protester marches on Capitol Hill Sunday

Monday afternoon in Westlake. Thanks to a CHS reader for the picture

Original Report: Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Seattle will again be under curfew Monday as protesters are expected to gather in Westlake for a fourth night of protests against police after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The 6 PM to 5 AM citywide restrictions call for people to stay inside unless they need to work or “are experiencing homelessness,” a City of Seattle FAQ on the civil emergency reads. There have also been restrictions on carrying weapons or items that might be used as weapons.

Monday’s curfew has been pushed back an hour later than Saturday and Sunday night’s restrictions.

Monday afternoon, Durkan and city officials said they were preparing for another night of demonstrations centered around the downtown core.

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Sunday, led by Black Lives Matter organizers, large crowds marched across Capitol Hill and eventually made their way past police blockades to Westlake where the protest continued until past 9 PM when Seattle Police cleared the square.

The protest and police response represented a marked change from Saturday’s clashes which filled downtown streets with flames, and tear gas, and left shattered glass and vandalized buildings across downtown, the ID, and Capitol Hill. The violence and aggressive police crowd control tactics were sparked here Friday night as crowds first began taking to Seattle’s streets in protest of Floyd’s death and ongoing police brutality, leaving windows smashed at an Amazon grocery store and a Ferrari dealership on Capitol Hill.

Mayor Durkan has 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 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.

Monday afternoon’s traditional June 1st raising of the Pride flag at City Hall was postponed, the Seattle LGBTQ Commission announced.

Earlier Monday, SPD released a timeline of the events reported to its command as Saturday’s protest zone was transitioned to riot control.

The Community Police Commission has said it is meeting Wednesday to discuss the protests and the police response. People have been encouraged to report evidence of police misconduct to the commission. You can learn more about the CPC here.

Crowds had begun forming around Westlake by mid-afternoon Monday and people were reported in the street near the park as police and National Guard troops were being prepared for deployment.

Images of Sunday’s clean-up efforts after downtown protests (Images: Matthew Cromwell)

UPDATE: Organizers are calling for the city to “defund” the Seattle 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. The Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County 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.”

View this post on Instagram

It’s time to #DefundSPD. Please sign on this petition and look out for follow up calls to action 🙏 #BlackLivesMatter #DefundSPD #CareNotCages #FreeThemAllWA Alt text: 1: Red crumpled paper background with white text reads: "Defund, Disarm, Dismantle SPD. 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. SWIPE FOR DEMANDS + ACTION LINK. #FreeThePeople #DefundSPD #CareNotCages" 2. Red crumpled paper background with white text reads: 1. Defund SPD, 2. Fund community-based health and safety, 3. Drop all charges! individual sign on: Org sign on: #FreeThePeople #DefundSPD #CareNotCages" 3. Red crumpled paper background with white text reads: "The 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. #FreeThePeople #DefundSPD #CareNotCages, TAKE ACTION:" 4. Red crumpled paper background with white text reads: "City leaders must protect and expand investments to make our communities safe. These investments must prioritize 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. #FreeThePeople #DefundSPD #CareNotCages, TAKE ACTION:"

A post shared by COVID-19 Mutual Aid (@covid19mutualaid) on

UPDATE 6:15 PM: Crowds including thousands of protesters marched through downtown Seattle and were climbing Capitol HIll toward the East Precinct at 12th and Pine. There were limited reports of objects and water bottles thrown at officers and few arrests were reported through the afternoon and early evening. Police were busy keeping traffic routed away from the massive crowds. The area around 12th and Pine was once again barricaded and blocked off to traffic and pedestrians. Crowds of protesters were also reported near University Village. I-5 was also reported closed between I-90 and 520.

UPDATE 7:10 PM: Thousands have massed on E Pine near the East Precinct with chants and cheering. Estimates from Seattle Police radio have ranged from around 5,000 to nearly 10,000 marchers. While not at the scale of the 2018 Women’s March, Monday night’s protest is one of the largest gatherings ever on Capitol Hill.

Thanks to a CHS reader for the picture from above 11th and Pine

UPDATE 7:55 PM: The large crowd remains ensconced on E Pine. East Precinct Captain Bryan Grenon has reportedly taken a knee with the protesters and has been reported talking with the crowd. “I want to show my respect for the peaceful people that want to get their message across,” Grenon says in a video recorded by a KOMO reporter. “We’re in solidarity. We agree that there is no room in police work for people who don’t respect human life.” CHS spoke with Grenon, a veteran officer and colonel in the Washington Army National Guard, in 2018 as he took over command of the East Precinct.

UPDATE 8:13 PM: The massive crowd began to break up with a large group moving south on 11th to circle up Pike and around 13th Ave to march back down Pine to Westlake while others marched or gathered nearby. It has been a peaceful night of marching, protest, chanting, song, and anger with few moments of violence reported on either side of the police lines.

UPDATE 9:15 PM: After the crowd of thousands broke up and many marched back down off Hill, ongoing skirmishes at 11th and Pine outside the East Precinct’s perimeter boiled over with police deploying clouds of tear gas and flash grenades to push back the remaining protesters. Witnesses reported seeing people in the crowd throwing water bottles and rocks at officers when police began deploying pepper spray, flash grenades, and then tear gas to drive back the remaining protesters.

Clouds of gas billowed through the streets of Pike/Pine just south and east of Cal Anderson and into the mix of commercial and apartment buildings nearby.

Protesters were reported scattering from the scene with many seeking refuge on Madison as police forces advanced to push back any remaining groups away from the East Precinct headquarters.

UPDATE 9:31 PM: SPD has declared the situation a riot and authorized increased use of crowd control tactics.

Seattle Fire dispatched four or five crews to the area following the skirmish and gas but we do not have further information on injuries. One male was reported with a head wound at Nagle and Pine.

A group of about 500 people was reported fleeing the area toward Westlake.

UPDATE 10:12 PM: Organizers at Westlake were reported urging the crowds to go home. As of 10 PM, only a few stragglers remained.

Police also engaged in a long high-speed chase after suspects in a Dodge Charger fled from officers checking on a report of two men with what appeared to be an AR-15 style rifle in the parking lot near the Madison I-Hop. The long chase carried on through the city and ended southwest of downtown near 99, according to police radio updates. Two suspects were reported in custody.

This is the moment it all happened from Seattle

UPDATE 6/2/20 12:15 AM: SPD posted this brief on the night’s events. “Hours before declaring the incident a riot, East Precinct commanders had spoken and knelt with members of the group at a barricade line near the precinct,” it reads. “As the night continued, members of the crowd threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at officers, and attempted to break through a fence line at 11th Avenue and Pine Street.” —

The Seattle Police Department declared a demonstration on Capitol Hill a riot Monday evening after a crowd threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at officers and attempted to breach barricades one block from the East Precinct. Hours before declaring the incident a riot, East Precinct commanders had spoken and knelt with members of the group at a barricade line near the precinct. As the night continued, members of the crowd threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at officers, and attempted to break through a fence line at 11th Avenue and Pine Street. In response to the increasing number of assaults on officers and the increasing risk to public safety, the Incident Commander declared the incident a riot. Officers deployed less-lethal munitions and a mobile line of bike officers was established to disperse the crowd. While daily demonstrations continue to pose unique and dynamic challenges to the Seattle Police Department and the city, SPD remains committed to facilitating safe, lawful first-amendment demonstrations.

UPDATE 6/2/2020 7:55 AM: Police scattered and took cover around East Precinct just before midnight as the sound of nearby gunfire echoed through the area. SPD say it was investigating the reports of shots fired and radio updates said multiple callers reported hearing the likely gunfire. Police checked out a nearby building on E Madison and were looking for vehicles reported leaving the area that may have been involved with the gunfire. There were no reported injuries related to the incident and no immediate arrests.

Police also responded to multiple reports of break-ins and at least one looting incident on Broadway at the 1600-block Game Stop store. UPDATE: The video game store looting was discovered underway around 1 AM with a group of juveniles reported fleeing the scene in vehicles. Around 1:15 AM, a group was reported damaging vehicles at 11th and Pike and trying to throw rocks through windows at Chophouse Row. Seattle Fire also responded to a reported natural gas leak at 10th and Pike around this time. Later in the morning, seven people were reported detained after a report of the sound of breaking glass in the parking garage at  Harvard and Pine. Police found no damaged vehicles according to radio updates. Just after 4 AM, police reported that someone had smashed glass in the East Union building at 23rd and Union where PCC is planning to open later this month. Pre dawn, police were also called to the Bartell’s above Pike and Broadway where a barrier was reported moved that had been put in place after the store was broken into over the weekend.

The Capitol Hill Business Alliance and its parent organization GSBA are hosting a morning meeting for a Q&A with a representative from the mayor’s office to discuss the protests, police response, and impact to neighborhood businesses. UPDATE: Our report on the morning session is here.

Protest organizers, meanwhile, have vowed to return for a fifth day of demonstrations and calls to “defund” Seattle’s police department.

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44 thoughts on “Seattle under curfew again as fourth night of protests planned — UPDATE: Tear gas and flash grenades at Capitol Hill’s East Precinct

    • UWAlert says a UVillage protest is planned for today. Telling that it’s at an upscale retail area, isn’t it? Ask yourself who is organizing these. Which will be next – Alderwood or Southcenter?

      • Small march down univ Ave, businesses boarding up as well. Didn’t see many police, appeared to be heading away from u village though. The Ave doesn’t need more destruction…

  1. How are we supposed to know about these curfews? Yes, I read this blog, but there is no alert on my phone, there is nothing on the front page, the “Alert Seattle” site linked on the homepage only lists Sunday’s curfew, not Monday. I guess it’s on twitter, but there must be a better way? (Other than sending an alert only moments before or even after the curfew starts)

    • I only knew about the one on Saturday because my sister-in-law (who lives up in Phinney) told my sister (who lives in Massachusetts) and she asked me if our neighborhood (Capitol Hill) was ok.

  2. Soooooo….They didn’t have enough police presence to stop the looting so lets cut them in half! Who the f is in logistics here? Really? This insanity.

    • Proposals to “defund the SPD” are ridiculous. That would do nothing but allow criminals in Seattle to become even more active.

      If you foolishly support this idea, and some day need the help of the police for yourself, you will be sorry.

      • You’re severely uninformed if you think the police is here to help. Read up on Warren v. District of Columbia and Castle Rock v. Gonzales. The police do not have a constitutional duty to help or protect somebody.

      • The intent is to demilitarize them by not allowing them to have the budget to buy military grade arms and vehicles.

        Think past your knee direct reaction

  3. How bad does it have to get before we elect law & order politicians who recognize that 99+% of us can’t be held hostage by the <1% they are too afraid to take head on.

    It started with not enforcing laws against the homeless… and now we have to live in a trash strewn landfill. And now we are just going to allow criminal elements to use the ruse of protest to vandalism and loot. What's next?

      • So quarantine is basically over right? The large gatherings show it’s okay now. No leader seemed to think it’s wrong, so we must be good to go.

    • You really don’t get it do you? How long will the black community have to take it? You worry about property while they fight for their lives! Peaceful protest is nothing to do with vandalism and looting. These are two different things happening here concurrently by two separate elements, but you buy into the lie. You would rather propose authoritarian means to cover up the real wounds and paste it all over with a nice pretty city for the privileged beasts.

      • “Peaceful protest is nothing to do with vandalism and looting.” That’s exactly my point. Protest is good, needed and often useful particularly when it doesn’t turn into mayhem. But the moment a “protester” smashes a window, steals stuff, sets things on fire, etc, they are no longer a protester. They are a criminal. And should be treated as such.

        Unless you’re saying we need regime change. In which case, man up, get your gun, and overthrow the government. Don’t break the windows and loot businesses (many of which are small, family run operations who have no political power). Take over City Hall, Olympia or DC and make change.

        But don’t think when you smash the windows of a business and steal some stuff you are helping anyone but yourself.

  4. They can’t defund SPD. The state constitution is clear about city’s obligations to provide safety services. Same about the youth jail, the state constitution mandates that there be a separate facility for youth.

  5. Sure. Defund police, and see how many more people buy guns. You think cops are trigger-happy? YOu think cops carelessly fire on people of color now? Just wait till John and Jane Q. Homeowner start thinking they have to protect themselves because the cops can’t. Sure, great idea.

      • Maybe pay the $ so you can read it ?

        Seattle protests continued near the University Village shopping center Monday evening, sparking some brief looting at a nearby Safeway.

        Several people began smashing windows and running inside around 4:30 p.m., before quickly fleeing the area.

        Meanwhile, a separate group of about 40 people started marching down an alley between QFC and Safeway, but were stopped and eventually pushed back by a line of police.

        The scene calmed down pretty quickly, some protesters said, leaving the group peacefully sitting in the parking lot to stand off against police.

        Jay Cole, a 17-year-old student at Montlake Terrace High School, said she’s advocating for a peaceful gathering, but that some people feel looting is “the only way they’ll listen.”

        She said she wasn’t one of the people who started smashing Safeway windows.

        “I’m here to get justice not only for George Floyd, but all people who were unarmed and killed by police,” Cole said.

        Law enforcement officials began clearing customers out University Village earlier in the day.

        A spokeswoman for the shopping center said all restaurants and businesses were closed at 2 p.m. out of an “abundance of caution.” Most University Village storefronts, including Piatti and Victoria’s Secret, had been boarded up by 3 p.m.

        Here’s the scene now.

        — Elise Takahama (@elisetakahama) June 1, 2020

      • All you needed was a link – the snark is unnecessary and unbecoming and an incorrect assumption on your part.

        I do pay for news thanks, and though I generally prefer to read the NY Times over the Seattle Times, I can access the articles – and I still have yet to see this one…. even a search of the site doesn’t turn it up. What is happening/has happened at the U Village appears to be quite under covered by all the media outlets.

      • The antifa argument that looting is necessary in order for them to be heard is self-serving and ridiculous. The looters are selfish, opportunistic criminals…pure and simple. It saddens and angers me that so much of this is going on, and that most looters will not be held accountable.

  6. Be careful, neighbors. The wanks on MyNW are talking about becoming “a good guy with a gun.” There’s folks over there champing at the bit for an excuse to start shooting.

  7. Damn. I was hoping they’d use these protests to make a set of actionable asks that they could realistically get out of the city.

    Instead, we get crazy stuff like cutting the police budget in half. Good luck with that.

    (And if there’s a fund to ensure everyone arrested who actively looted or trashed businesses in my neighborhood actually gets prosecuted in criminal or civil court — I’d *totally* donate to that.)


    • If they re-wrote it and suggested a 50% cut in property tax it would sure get more attention. We can do like Kirkland and buy some assault rifles to protect our homes and business from trespass….

  8. Looking at the videos, the situation near Cal did not “escalate.” Protests were peaceful until cops bombed the entire block, causing chaos. Increasingly people come peaceful and leave hating the police.

    • I was watching it live last night from a camera right up in the front and the no, the cops didn’t start the trouble. The leaders of the peaceful protest left – or got pushed to the back. The people up front started pushing the barriers over – but that’s not what even caused the reaction. The police didn’t react until objects began, once again being thrown at them. When that started then the tear gas was thrown.

      I’m sure from some places it may have looked like nothing was happening and suddenly there was tear gas and flash bangs, but that’s not what was actually going on on the other side of the crowd.

      • Oh – and quite soon after that the crowd scattered further because some random guy in a tan vest of some sort (flack jacket?) carrying an AK looking rifle started walking around amongst them…..

    • Same. I was watching the several feeds and live very close. The entire update on this blog for 9:15 pm 6/1/20 is incorrect and should be updated with a correction.

      There is both arial and front row video that shows no escalation or violence by people as they are gassed by the police at close distance. It sent the HUGE crowd running in all directions in the neighborhood.

      The CHS account is absolutely false and makes me wonder where this writer got their facts and what other parts of the writing are also not true.

  9. Yeah, let’s “defund the SPD” so next time a redneck Midwest cop hurts or kills an innocent person, protesters can burn downtown Seattle to the ground & completely decimate small immigrant businesses in the International District. Seattle’s activist class has some really great ideas.

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