— Her Dark Materials (@Carrie_Opal) August 27, 2020
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.
$5/MONTH? SUBSCRIBE AND SUPPORT LOCAL NEWS: 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.
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.
An order to disperse has been given to protestors asking them to move West or North from the 1000 block of Roanoke. Please leave the area.
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) August 27, 2020
Hey babes! 💕 Our stream was cut short tonight due to SPD being back on their bullshit and brutalizing peaceful protesters. 💩 Christina is okay, she was not arrested!! Her phone was knocked out of her hand when she was shoved by cops — at a CANDLELIGHT VIGIL. 🐷🤬 (1/2)
— Rebellion Baby (@RebellionBaby) August 27, 2020
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.”
— Yes Segura (@blitzurbanism) May 31, 2020
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.”