Protesters smashed glass and set fires across Capitol Hill Wednesday night in a bout of mayhem organizers said was a “call for direct action” against Seattle Police and federal agents.
The night’s early targets included the E Olive Way Starbucks and the soon to open new Uncle Ike’s nearby where fireworks were reportedly used to start a small fire on the outside of the building that was quickly extinguished by Seattle Fire as the protesters marched on. The Uncle Ike’s at 23rd and Union was also damaged by a suspected arson fire involving fireworks in early July.
Starbucks continues to be a target in Seattle protests over its support of the Seattle Police Foundation.
The Blu Dot showroom and the Neko cat cafe also suffered damage during the riot involving around 100 people who marched from Cal Anderson starting around 10 PM. UPDATE: Sounds like the report of damage to Neko wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Ownership reports the building was hit with graffiti. Thanks for checking on the kitties. E Pine’s Plant Shop also suffered a broken window.
Seattle Police were present in large numbers following the crowd and collecting evidence at crime and fire scenes.
As the demonstrators marched near the East Precinct later in the night, protesters ripped down plywood and busted into the Rove vintage store and were reported gathering clothing and items from inside and setting the goods on fire.
The store was opened in early 2017 by Rachel McNew, wife of Steven McNew, one of the two officers who shot and killed Charleena Lyles later that year.
The 11th and Union high-end shoe store Likelihood was also reported broken into and looted.
UPDATE 7:09 AM: SPD has posted a brief on the overnight riot saying a business at Madison and Broadway was also attacked by the crowds:
At about 9:00 p.m. a group of about 150 people gathered at Cal Anderson park. The group roamed about the Capital Hill neighborhood, doing massive amounts of property damage, looting, shooting fireworks, and committing arson. Individuals from the group broke the windows of a business in the 1400 block of East Olive Way and then started a fire inside. Seattle Fire was called to extinguish the fire. The group then went to the 1500 Block of 11 Avenue, breaking more businesses’ windows along the way. Individuals then broke into a business, took merchandise, and put it in middle of the street where they lit it on fire. The group went to Broadway and Madison, where individuals used baseball bats and pipes to break windows at a store. They threw fireworks into the store and then began looting. The group headed to the area of Summit and Madison where they damaged property at two banks. After leaving the banks, the group returned to Cal Anderson Park and then dispersed. No arrests were made. No officers were injured.
Seattle Fire did not respond to the 11th Ave blaze as personnel from private security firm Iconic Global were reported at the scene attempting to extinguish the fire outside the heavily damaged store. The firm’s security teams have been working in the area since the CHOP occupied protest camp.
Marches continued to cross the area with reports of damage including burning fireworks, graffiti, and broken glass at businesses and banks. The fence put up to keep campers off of the south lawn at Seattle Central was also reportedly torn down.
Explosion at newly built Uncle Ike’s on Bellevue and Olive in Cap Hill.
Graffiti on building reads “Gentrifier”.
— Luis (@LuisGuitart) July 23, 2020
There were no immediate reports of arrests and no reports of significant injuries.
Anti-police actions and property destruction that left windows at the East Precinct shattered also followed a demonstration against federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Sunday.
Some organizers have said they plan to continue their actions with further gatherings on Capitol Hill and downtown over the weekend.
Wednesday night’s unrest comes three weeks after Mayor Jenny Durkan ordered the Capitol Hill protest camp around the East Precinct raided and cleared and comes as much of the region’s attention to ongoing Black Lives Matter protests has shifted to Portland and the clashes there between demonstrators, federal agents, and city police. In Seattle, meanwhile, the city council is hashing out cuts to Seattle’s policing budget in hopes of addressing concerns about the force and with plans to shift more funding to social and community programs. The county is also preparing for major changes in how it handles law and order with proposals being formed to end youth detention and shutter its Seattle jail facility.
UPDATE x2: The federal judge overseeing the consent decree over Seattle Police has decided to leave the city’s ban on crowd control weapons in place. U.S. District Court Judge James Robart declined to stop the City Council’s ban but said that the ordinance “will need to be reconciled with SPD’s court-approved policies on crowd control and use of force,” Seattle City Council Insight reports.
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