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Arrests after reported Capitol Hill Halloween march property damage as SPD announces ‘new approach’ to demonstrations

(Images: Renee Raketty)

With reporting by CHS and Renee Raketty

Protesters and police said there was property damage and arrests in a Halloween night demonstration and march as part of continuing nightly actions targeting the Seattle Police Department  and the East Precinct around Cal Anderson Park.

Earlier in the day, SPD announced what it says is a “new approach” to demonstrations including what officials called “de-escalation” efforts and “new strategies to address individuals taking unlawful actions in otherwise lawful crowds.”

“This year has brought unprecedented demonstrations to our region, posing new challenges for our community and the Seattle Police Department,” the SPD announcement reads. “Our department has itself been the focus of many of the ongoing protests about inequities in criminal justice, violence in law enforcement, and SPD’s own response to demonstrations.”

Halloween night, the most obvious tactic on display was SPD command’s use of a notably large number of vehicles and responding officers after marchers were reported damaging property in the area. SPD reported making multiple arrests at Broadway and Denny after officers moved on the crowd and the numerous “safety brigade” vehicles accompanying the march just before 11:30 PM.

The night started in Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park with a festive atmosphere on Halloween night with a larger than usual turnout for the nightly marches with a few hundred Black Lives Matter protesters in costumes, masks and black bloc gathering.


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The event was organized by activists from the Every Night Direct Demonstration and included crafts, food, and a few vendors from Black-owned businesses. However, unlike your typical Halloween bash, there was an Antifa literature table and a black bloc clothing exchange. A flag burning; some short speeches; and announcements cemented the fact that these demonstrators were not your typical Halloween party-goers. One announcement reminded the crowd that a Black young man, Kevin Peterson Jr., had just been shot by Clark County sheriff’s deputies in a suburb of Vancouver, WA. A memorial was erected in the park to honor Peterson’s memory, complete with candles and tissue paper flowers. Later, the protesters took a poster size picture of Peterson with them on a march through Capitol Hill.

The march passed through residential streets before passing a bar where a group of protesters with umbrellas broke off from the crowd and shielded the others from the patrons who were attempting to record the march with cell phones.

A roll of burning toilet paper was thrown in the direction of a Seattle University building and SPD reported broken glass in the area of 13th and Columbia as one person was taken into custody. SPD reported issuing a dispersal order at this point as officers from the department’s new Community Response Group arrived. UPDATE: Police ordered the drivers protecting the demonstrators to break off or face arrest and also issued similar orders to pedestrians in the road. On E Columbia between 13th and 12th Avenues, the CRG made its first arrests at approximately 10:45 PM. (CHS has updated arrest details to better reflect police actions we are able to verify.)

Saturday, SPD command and interim Chief Adrian Diaz issued a press release announcing new approaches to handling Seattle’s months of protests and preparing for what SPD says it believes are more large demonstrations to come.

The department promised more details of the announcement are to come but said initiatives include:

  • Recognizing the visible presence and appearance of officers at a demonstration can impact interactions with a crowd, and reducing the department’s presence, when safe and feasible
  • Taking additional measures to provide media, legal observers, and protest medics safe avenues to carry out their important roles
  • Working to de-escalate whenever it is safe and feasible
  • Improving means of conveying public safety messages to large crowds
  • New strategies to address individuals taking unlawful actions in otherwise lawful crowds

“Over the past four months, our department has undertaken significant changes to our practices regarding demonstrations,” SPD said in the announcement. “These changes are based on feedback from our accountability partners in the Office of Inspector General, Office of Police Accountability, and Community Police Commission – but also community voices we have heard loud and clear.”

Saturday, as the groups marched back toward Cal Anderson, more glass and property damage was reported near Broadway and Denny where the CRG made multiple arrests outside the Al Bacha restaurant, scattering the group which reconvened in Cal Anderson.

King County Jail records show at least five people were booked in conjunction with the protest including two for failure to disperse and obstruction, one for failure to disperse, obstruction, and rendering criminal assistance, one for failure to disperse, obstruction, and resisting, and one for obstruction. All five were booked and released overnight.

SPD commanders, meanwhile, say they are preparing for more unrest this week but officials have identified no specific threats behind their concerns. “We don’t know what’s going to happen during the election, so we’re preparing for the whole week, from Sunday to Sunday, planning for the worst and hoping for the best,” one department representative told a community group last week.


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neighbor
neighbor
4 months ago

Thank-you SPD.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
4 months ago

Grow up and go back to your neighborhood and leave ours!

K P
K P
4 months ago

Thank you, SPD.

RWK
RWK
4 months ago

I’m glad that the SPD is arresting people for criminal behavior, but this will have little impact if they are just quickly released and not charged. Pete Holmes, are you listening?

Greg
Greg
4 months ago

This is good news and should have been the strategy from the beginning: “new strategies to address individuals taking unlawful actions in otherwise lawful crowds”

Otherwise, a few provocateurs, unrelated to the group, easily can get the police to attack a peaceful crowd. Which has happened many times in the past.

Police are supposed to protect people, including peaceful protestors, not treat everyone as the enemy. It’s about time SPD switched to a strategy of arresting violent individuals and leaving others alone.

jz
jz
4 months ago

Can’t trust SPD.

Mike F.
Mike F.
4 months ago

Love how de-escalation is a “new approach.” Can’t trust them at all. SPD get out of our neighborhood. Folks who want locals to leave so you can continue to ignore SPD’s brutality? Go back to where you moved from.

Anne
Anne
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike F.

It seems to like the protesters getting arrested are the ones who aren’t from the neighborhood. Two of the higher profile ones were from Kirkland and Edmonds. The residents who have had to deal with 150 days of late night, weeknight protests are understandably tired of it.

I’m not sure what you think your strategy is, but it seems to be having the opposite of its intended effect, since support for BLM has sadly gone down by 10% in correlation with these protests. So I hope you guys are doing actual useful work for the cause like registering voters and driving people to the poles in red states where voter intimidation is real and polling stations are being closed in black neighborhoods, to name just a couple. That’s what my friends and I are doing.

I walked by Cal Anderson on Halloween night and you were all standing there chanting “antifa!” like a ridiculous Fox News parody of yourselves. You clearly have tons of time on your hands, so trying growing up and doing the hard work. Don’t just run around breaking windows like children throwing tantrums.

stan
stan
3 months ago
Reply to  Mike F.

Per a KING 5 story, at least for the protests in May/June, the majority of those arrested are from outside Seattle.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/investigations/analysis-of-seattle-protester-arrests/281-908cad06-29be-408a-9093-3f45941bc039

While not complete data of everyone arrested since the start of protesting it’s not much of a stretch to believe that the ongoing property destruction is being carried out primarily by people who: A) don’t live in Seattle and B) who don’t live on Capitol Hill. It’s easier to go to a place you aren’t known if you want to trash it.

Otherwise, mom and dad might ground them if they pulled this crap in their own neighborhoods.

NN
NN
4 months ago

I watched the SPD Saturday night bum rush into the demonstrators from behind when they had not (yet) done anything wrong. I completely understand taking action towards demonstrators who are violent, damaging public property, lighting things on fire, etc. However what I witnessed was the same demonstrators that typically walk through here every night, huddled together, protesting, but not doing anything that would cause an officer to run into the group from behind shoving them to the ground for arrest.

Sugartits
Sugartits
4 months ago

Poor kids, grew up and suddenly realized there is no such thing as free candy. Must be tough. Smashy smash capitalism, gimme free stuff!

d
d
4 months ago

endd is not a group. it’s a nightly event.