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SPD says officer injured, two arrested as police step into clash between private security team and Capitol Hill protesters — UPDATE

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

(Image: @ENDDSeattle)

An officer was reported injured and two people were arrested after police say there were forced to intervene in a clash between a small group of protesters and private security on the eastern edge of Cal Anderson Park late Wednesday night.

A witness tells CHS the officer was splinted at the scene by members of the security patrol. A Seattle Police Department spokesperson says the injury required the officer to be taken to the hospital but Seattle Fire was not dispatched to the scene, according to 911 records.

The 11th Ave melee was set off after a patrol vehicle from private security firm Iconic Global nearly hit a small group of protesters gathered near a building at 11th and E Olive St, according to video from the scene and the witness account. Police say it was not clear why the security company was responding but that police had to intervene as the scene became heated between the protest group and the heavily armed security team.

UPDATE: A member of the Iconic Global tells CHS the arrival of an unmarked blue Yukon with SWAT officers — and a different vehicle-protester close call with the Yukon also nearly striking people in the area — also contributed to the tense scene.

As the crowd became more agitated over the presence of Iconic Global and the SWAT officers, the security team member said one protester rushed forward with a skateboard and was grabbed by police.

SPD tells CHS they were in the process of taking that protester into custody during the response when another rushed in and the officer was injured.

SPD says two women were arrested and booked into King County jail in the incident.

Iconic Global is one of at least three different security firms CHS has documented now working in the Pike/Pine area with heavily armed guards and a fleet of marked and unmarked vehicles that are often mistaken for police or law enforcement officials.


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Their presence began this spring at buildings boarded during the COVID-19 restrictions as property management companies sought increased security for empty restaurants and storefronts. The guards were typically uniformed and often armed with a handgun. Some became part of the odd city nighttime scenes of COVID-era Pike/Pine as they kicked back on store furniture and watched videos on their phones in darkened showrooms.

UPDATE: The owner of another private security firm working out of the Odd Fellows Building at 10th and E Pine tells CHS that SPD’s fast and heavy response Wednesday night came after he reported threats made against his firm and a business in the building they patrol. Aleksandr Butowicz of Iron and Oak tells CHS that threats were made against his company and the business and that he notified SPD. Butowicz said he was also contacted by Homeland Security about the report. Butowicz says his personnel were not part of the security response that set off the 11th Ave conflict. “Iconic has been really aggressive with their overall handling of folks. We focus on deescalation,” Butowicz said. He reports that Iron and Oak guards aren’t armed with firearms — their weapons fire pepper spray rounds, Butowicz said. “I don’t really believe in firing guns in the most densely populated area of Seattle,” he said.

With CHOP, the presence of the security firms has escalated. CHS reported here on the arrival of Iconic Global along 12th Ave where the private “high threat protection” team became part of the heavy security around a collection of businesses and properties on the edge of the protest zone.

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

(Image: Matt Mitgang)

The company’s owner Joseph Spiro said the one-year-old Auburn, Washington company is paid by clients in the area but also is providing some support to businesses and buildings in the area pro bono. The company has been providing security to many of the same collection of businesses and property owners involved in the CHOP lawsuit against the city. Earlier, Spiro declined to identify who pays for the services but some small businesses have reportedly been asked to chip in.

UPDATE: Spiro tells CHS that he is still in process of looking into the circumstance around what happened on 11th Ave overnight. “Officers were responding to an incident at one of our businesses that we were hired to protect,” Spiro said.

Spiro tells CHS that his teams have recently switched tactics and have begun following protests and marches because it has become difficult to track the groups as demonstrators currently active on Capitol Hill are less and less likely to allow video streamers or media in their midst. The security teams following the crowds can radio other Iconic Global personnel to alert them when a client property might be threatened. “It’s more efficient than trying to spread across the area,” Spiro said. He said the security personnel will also pick up trash and objects left in the roadway as it follows the crowds.

The new tracking, Spiro acknowledged, has also brought new tensions to the relationship between the security teams and the marchers. “We’re not instigating with them,” Spiro said. “Our presence does make them feel that way.”

Like Iron and Oak, Spiro said there is a “misconception” about how heavily armed his personnel are. While those licensed are likely carrying handguns with live rounds, Spiro said his company has spent heavily on “less lethal” weapons including tasers, pepper balls, and batons.

Spiro said tensions with the protesters has risen. “We’ve increasingly become the target,” he said.

Despite the end of the protest zone, the security forces remain. At the Ferrari and Maserati dealership on 12th at Union, armed guards in military style uniforms stand watch as smaller nightly protests continue in the area. The “direct action” protester involve smaller groups as Black Lives Matter demonstrators have moved their efforts to cross other parts of the city. The recent marches have also involved property damage including a night of targeted vandalism that smashed glass and burned goods at a roster of businesses including Amazon, Starbucks, banks, and a Capitol Hill shop owned by the spouse of a Seattle cop.

We’ve asked businesses involved with the security including Ferrari of Seattle about the ongoing presence but they did not respond. Others have declined to comment.

Butowicz of Iron and Oak said that property manager Redside Partners chose his company because it is not licensed for armed security patrol. “That’s probably the lead of the (sales) pitch,” Butowicz said. “All of them are very familiar with firearms,” Butowicz says of his guards. “They are choosing to work for me unarmed.”

Some business owners, meanwhile, are caught in the middle as property managers bring in the new security forces. “The first day they were back on duty one of them brought a machine gun and stood in our doorway all night,” one owner tells CHS.

That owner said they and others end up paying for the security firm and its “conspiracy theory, militia, apocalyptic mentality” as part of the annual common area maintenance clauses part of most commercial leases.

“The property owners are the ones who hire the security companies,” the business owner said. “They are not hiring this with any kind of equity lens. They are just interested in property.”

At least two more security firms have been seen patrolling and providing guard services elsewhere in the neighborhood bringing a heavily armed mix of security professionals into the streets of Pike/Pine every night.


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isoor
isoor
3 months ago

i just don’t understand why anyone would attack a luxury car dealership in capitol hill

MaybeBob
MaybeBob
3 months ago
Reply to  isoor

Hi welcome new comer to Seattle. Capital hill’s history as Auto Row starting back in 1910’s. Back in 2013 there was a BMW, and Volvo dealership also up on Capital Hill. That is why that building with the Redhook Brewlab is it; is call Pike Motor Works. They both left around the same time that place was built. The Ferria dealership bought the land their showroom is on back in 1999. Lets also be clear people love to pretend that Cap Hill is low rent neighborhood but it’s not anymore. A small condo up there will start around 400K without parking for a studio.

Cappy
Cappy
3 months ago
Reply to  MaybeBob

Who’s the newcomer? It’s CapitOl Hill…not CapitAl Hill. Pet peeve of mine

weyes
weyes
3 months ago
Reply to  MaybeBob

Try spelling the name of the neighborhood you know so much about correctly

weyes
weyes
3 months ago
Reply to  MaybeBob

Can’t even spell Ferrari correct. C’mon man.

Mark
Mark
3 months ago
Reply to  MaybeBob

Hearing “Cap Hill” makes me want to ask “are you from Frisco or the Big Apple?”

Max
Max
3 months ago

It’s going to be a boon for private security and paramilitary forces with police defunding. My G4S shares are up 25% in the last month! If this keeps up I’ll definitely donate to Kshama’s next campaign whenever it is (I live on Bainbridge Island so not sure what the Seattle council election cycle is off hand). Maybe we can even surpass the 50% target and get it up to 60%???

matt
matt
3 months ago

Iconic Global corporate structure is so strange. It looks as though they are attempting to mask their business entities, and may have been in the security game longer than this article says.

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Minutia
Minutia
3 months ago

The “direct action” group that breaks off from the other BLM marches has been yelling at residents/threatening them and smashing things in their path. Protest, sure that’s fine but apparently a few of them think they own the neighborhood. Told me when I was walking my dog to “leave techie” even though I’ve always lived here.

p-patch
p-patch
3 months ago

We’re going to see a lot more of this as defund SPD kicks in. The realities of “a truly community-led public safety model” are vague at best, so some businesses and individual are going to throw money at the problem and buy the security they need to protect their interests. I doesn’t take a Nostradamus to predict some of this stuff…

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
3 months ago
Reply to  p-patch

Going by the success rate of previous predictions by CHS commenters, a community-led public safety model will be a huge success and a shining example for the rest of the country.

Seaguy
Seaguy
3 months ago
Reply to  Fairly Obvious

It was during the CHOP crime only went up 500% in the area.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
3 months ago
Reply to  Fairly Obvious

It was during the CHOP crime only went up 500% in the area.

And that has to do with community-led public safety how?

Emily
Emily
3 months ago

Sounds like this unnamed “business owner” virtue signaling about an “equity lens” and “apocalyptic mentality” wants to have it both ways.

Whichever
Whichever
3 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Seemed like a lot of the businesses went that way on Capitol Hill. They supported it all, until the shit went sideways – then they stepped back from it – like any logical person would be.

Aleksandr Butowicz
Aleksandr Butowicz
3 months ago
Reply to  Whichever

I thought this was interesting too. I am pretty sure I know who said this because it sounds like one of our client-tenants.

Justin did a very solid job of reporting this article.

I believe building owners have an ethical duty to provide equal safety and access to all tenants, regardless of a tenant’s politics. This can create a tense situation in the building itself, as various tenants may feel endangered by the other’s actions, which are often protected speech.

Managing the interbuilding politics is just as important to an effective site security plan as how you secure the physical structure.

RWK
RWK
3 months ago

The need for this is real, as businesses in the area are very vulnerable to attacks by violent, far-left anarchists. But it makes me sad. This is an ugly world neighborhood we are living in now.

neighbor
neighbor
3 months ago
Reply to  RWK

Totally agree. Makes me sad.
ugly world neighborhood = shithole

ColumbiaChris
ColumbiaChris
3 months ago

I’m just now remembering that there was some sort of security guy at the Ferrari dealership during the July 25th march who lost his shit and started threatening marchers with his pistol. I’m going to guess it was also one of these Iconic Global thugs.

dftl
dftl
3 months ago
Reply to  ColumbiaChris

The thugs are those threatening residents & damaging property.

tired
tired
3 months ago
Reply to  ColumbiaChris

Your facts are not straight.
But do recall the burning building, the rioting, looting and destruction of stores, and the bomb making materials recovered from the rental trucks.
But while getting facts wrong, peacefully consider that this is all “peaceful protesting”…

Calli
Calli
3 months ago

Can you please expound on this statement?
” Earlier, Spiro declined to identify who pays for the services but some small businesses have reportedly been asked to chip in.”

Because THIS sounds like the “armed extortion” that Carmen NotSoBest was referencing when she lied about protesters doing this during the CHAZ/CHOP days. Reporters could never find any businesses that “armed” protesters tried to extort.
It almost became a meme.
Media asks cops: Where did you hear it from?
Cops: You guys.
Cops ask media: Where did you hear it from?
Media: You guys.

I mean, I can see where it could be easily mixed up, an armed gang of thugs trying to shake down local businesses for protection money….oh, it’s an “armed security company”.

Brian
Brian
3 months ago
Reply to  Calli

The NY Times had an article recently about one case of this happening. They interviewed a business owner and an individual who was doing what you describe.
I know there was at least one interview, where the originally extortion story was linked back to comments on the Capitol Hill blog.

Jordan
Jordan
2 months ago

Sadly, I feel like it’s only a matter of time before one of these chuds for hire kills someone for property damage. Regardless of what you think of direct action, and I have my own list of criticisms, windows should not be guarded by bros in ski masks carrying guns with live ammunition. It’s just a tragedy waiting to happen.