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Seattle Police bust up Capitol Hill protests — one a candlelight vigil, one breaking more glass on 15th Ave E — UPDATE: Another federal arrest

Seattle Police swept in and cracked down on two Capitol Hill protests Wednesday night as tensions continue to run high amid continued demonstrations and riots following the Kenosha police shooting.

Early in the night, officers surged onto 15th Ave E tackling protesters and making arrests after windows were smashed at two businesses and a bank. Later, police and troopers opted to make another show of force as a group of protesters that have become a regular part of Seattle and Capitol Hill’s streets held a candlelight vigil outside E Roanoke’s Washington State Patrol headquarters for Summer Taylor, the activist struck and killed by a driver during a protest on I-5 in July.

The WSP standoff and police surge came around 10:30 PM as the daily-organized Everyday March was holding its vigil at the Roanoke Park-area facility above 520 and I-5 with its usual brigade of several vehicles used to protect the marchers as they cross streets and intersections.

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Livestream journalists with the group showed police demanding the vehicles be moved from blocking the street near the WSP facility and Fire Station 22 as the vigil for Taylor continued.

Sometime after 10:30 PM, police surged on the group of more than 100 demonstrators and pushed many of the marchers back. One driver who did not clear the area and move their vehicle was reportedly forcibly removed from the car as SPD smashed its window to pull the occupant out.

Police announced an “order to disperse” around 10:40 PM as officers moved in.

Video streams showed clouds of pepper spray and a chaotic melee during the SPD pushes and as officers pursued some protesters into the Roanoke Park neighborhood and into nearby Eastlake.

Seattle Black Lives Matter activists and leaders decried the police action on the Everyday March group which is known for organizing daily protests and marches across the city with few arrests and a dedication to non-violence and said at least seven people were reported in custody.

One demonstrator was reported injured and taken to Harborview.

The vigil outside the local WSP headquarters marked the killing of Taylor, 24, who was killed during a protest after a driver was able to access the freeway despite troopers blocking portions of I-5 between SR-520 to I-90. State troopers have also been part of the lines of law enforcement defense during protest and CHOP standoffs and one of the WSP’s airplanes has been used for surveillance during the summer’s demonstrations across the state.

There was no reported damage at the WSP facility.

Windows were broken, however, during a demonstration earlier in the night after anti-police protesters gathered in Volunteer Park and then marched onto 15th Ave E joined by a large police presence following weeks of property damage, fires, and vandalism.

Around 8 PM, there were reports of busted windows and vandalism at two businesses as the group of around 100 marchers made its way south on 15th Ave. As the glass was also smashed at the street’s Key Bank, police moved on the group, tackling protesters, and making arrests.

There have been no announcements from organizers on arrests and SPD has not yet made a statement on the night’s activities.

The 15th Ave E businesses hit Wednesday night have been targeted before.

Uncle Ike’s has also suffered fire and vandalism at both its 23rd and Union and its new E Olive Way location as demonstrators have targeted the pot chain for its effects on gentrification and the owner Ian Eisenberg’s politics.

The Canterbury has also suffered vandalism this summer after co-owner Ryan Lewis posted messages on social media saying “looters should be shot.”

Following a bout of graffiti at the 15th Ave E bar and restaurant CHS spoke with Lewis in June as the owner said he regretted the statement. “I support the protesters but I despise looting and the destruction of the city,” Lewis said. “I definitely regret calling for an escalation in violence. I saw people’s pro-looters, pro property discussion and it made me really upset. I do believe business owners have a right to protect their properties.”

Lewis said he hoped the situation would blow over and feared making the situation worse. “The anger is really hot right now and it’s hard to reach out,” Lewis said, “They don’t want to unhear that.”

Wednesday night’s vandalism and the Everyday March vigil later in the evening comes as outrage over the police shooting of Jacob Blake and the deadly shooting of two people during the subsequent protests and riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin has spread following a summer of Black Lives Matter activism.

More demonstrations are planned in Seattle. While the recent property damage has so far been limited, criticism of the destruction and the aggressive police crowd control tactics has grown along with consequences. Wednesday, CHS reported on the federal arrest of a suspect in Monday night’s arson fire set outside the East Precinct. And a Seattle Police sergeant is being investigated for his “conduct at a demonstration” caught on video at protest near Cal Anderson earlier this month.

UPDATE 1:35 PM: SPD reports 14 arrests on the night — two along 15th Ave E and a dozen more outside the WSP headquarters. Of those, around a dozen were booked for various alleged crimes including obstruction and unlawful use of a laser.

One man arrested on 15th Ave E was booked for a more serious alleged crime — malicious mischief, and possession of an incendiary device. The King County Prosecutor says the man will be taken into federal custody and could face federal charges after he was arrested by Seattle police for investigation of breaking windows at the Key Bank and “had a Molotov cocktail in his backpack.”

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29 thoughts on “Seattle Police bust up Capitol Hill protests — one a candlelight vigil, one breaking more glass on 15th Ave E — UPDATE: Another federal arrest

  1. Yes, the big bad SPD just targeting candlelight vigils. Never mind the fact that it was because it was blocking access to a fire station when violence (including fires) was occurring elsewhere in the area. But hey, we get some good footage of the SPD breaking up a vigil to rile people up on Twitter.

    The intellectual dishonesty here is a major turnoff.

  2. Gross. Tired of the vigilante “justice”. 100% with radical reform of the police department. 0% with the constant violence and predatory attacks on those who don’t agree.

    You are squandering the best chance in a generation for real police reform.

  3. I watched the livestream, so much rage? I genuinely don’t know. These people are very mad, angry, and they are being told that the answer is the keep protesting until they get what they demand. Their violence is being condoned by the organizers and activists, many of whom are influential in Seattle city politics. They really believe that shouting, yelling, and fighting are necessary and justified tools for their own progress.

    Whatever message they once had is seemingly lost due to mob violence and bully tactics. They keep telling us to read more books and do the work. Okay, the world is a messed up place I get that. So lets destroy it further?

    • Nope, the message is the same and it’s still loud and clear. Property damage is not violence and if you’re not listening to the message anymore because you’re tired of it…that sounds like a YOU problem.

      • If silence is violence then property damage is certainly violence. I’ve heard the message. I already agreed with (90% of) the message.

        All I’m seeing from this is that Ryan Lewis shot his mouth off with some dumb commentary, and now people are targeting his business. What am supposed to take from that? What is the purpose of that if not to frighten others into silence? And what is the purpose of THAT? They’ll take revenge in the voting booths like they always do.

      • Violence:
        behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something… the unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force.

        Who’s feeding you this rubbish? Think for yourself. Think.

      • Property damage is violence…. how about someone comes into your apartment and smashes everything up – I’ll make a bet you’d feel really, really violated, scared, sad and all kinds of emotions. I highly doubt you’d just say – meh – it’s just stuff, I’m fine with it.

        Every time you bust some shop owner’s window you are subjecting them to a threat, you are subjecting their employees to a threat – what if next time it’s not just a window, what if next time it’s them in your way, what if they lose their job because the store owner decides it’s not worth fixing things over and over again. Not all violence has to be directly to another person’s body. You are subjecting the people in this neighborhood to psychological abuse and yes – it *is* violence.

      • Most definitions of violence seem to include destruction, which implies property damage is violence. It certainly feels like violence to me, even more so because it is happening over and over again in my neighborhood. Just as a storm can be violent without harming people, a crowd can be violent without harming people.

      • Very convenient of you to declare that “property damage is not violence.” If you’re not participating in the destruction, you are complicit.

    • The twitter feed of Nikkita Oliver supports property destruction as a form of protest and leverage. I would caution city leaders from giving her leverage by discussing police reform with her. I would say “You want leverage with us, then do not condone property destruction.”

    • Totally agree with this. Especially heartbreaking to think about when I read the statement from Desmond David-Pitts, who is 19 years old and dealing with a lot, talking about how his emotions got the best of him and he needs to be accountable. Now he’s likely to be doing serious federal time and the whole thing is tragic.

      I’m seriously worried about the guidance these young, passionate activists are getting. There’s no way to make lasting social change without persuading people who disagree.

    • Can we all agree that harming or attempting to harm a person is a much more serious offense than damaging or attempting to damage inanimate object is? Lumping both into the term “violence” is misleading at best.

      • Yes, one is a more serious offense and is treated as such by the çriminal justice system. But harming people and vandalizing property are both violent acts, and both need to be condemned as unacceptable.

      • What’s your point, really? That we should just sit back and watch people destroy our neighborhood and people should just smile while their personal property and livelihoods are destroyed because it’s not as bad as physical violence against people?

        We can walk and chew bubblegum here, Phil. Two things can be true at once. Stop trying to justify one crime because it’s not as bad as another. That doesn’t fly in our justice system and it’s not going to get us to the solutions we actually need.

  4. Thank you for your work Justin! Please update when you will have more information on the arrests.

    It seems that 6 people were booked to King County Jail on obstruction and failure to disperse charges. All of them were released (on PR bond) in the early morning hours.

  5. You do realize you are participating in the dox’ing of the owner of the Canterburry?
    Look at the image you posted. The image is a combined snapshot of his comment, which was a private/friend’s only, and another snapshot of his personal details.
    Do you really want CHS to be contributing in this way?
    Once Twitter pulls that Tweet you will become the new reference to that instance of harassment.

  6. I don’t get why the WSP was chosen as the site for this “vigil.” Are the protesters (falsely) blaming them for Summer’s death? If anything, the WSP should be blamed for allowing the protesters to occupy the freeway. And, by doing so, the protesters put themselves at risk.

    • Totally agree. The responsibility the WSP bears in this is that they enabled people to be walking onto I-5. Once Summer was killed, they magically were able to prevent it from happening again. If the WSP hadn’t tolerated it, Summer would be still be alive today. It’s almost as if we have these laws for a reason.

      Also, I’m surprised the WSP haven’t been hit with a lawsuit on this very point (yet). The lawsuits are already flying from the government enabling the CHAZ.

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