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CHOP: One year later — Seattle rises up in protest to the killing of George Floyd

Below are images from CHS photographer from the first week of Black Lives Matter protests in Seattle following the police killing of George Floyd (Image: Alex Garland)

Tuesday marks one year since the May 25th, 2020 police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and the start of Black Lives Matter protests across the country and around the world.

Four days later with broken glass at an Amazon grocery and the neighborhood’s Ferrari dealership, unrest spread across downtown and Seattle as thousands of protesters took to the streets of the city in the midst of pandemic lockdowns.

Here is a look at those early days of Seattle’s Black Lives Matter uprising — days that have been overshadowed by the Capitol Hill occupied protest camp that formed, the abandonment of the East Precinct and its barrier walls, ongoing anti-police protests, and the attempts of Seattle City Hall to adequately respond to the movement with changes to its police department and an election that will bring new leadership to the City Council and the mayor’s office.

Friday, May 29thProtests begin in Seattle after the Floyd killing as thousands march and demonstrate. Windows are smashed at Capitol Hill’s Amazon grocery and Ferrari dealership, and seven arrests are reported.

Saturday, May 30thProtests continue as clashes with police grow downtown bringing flames, tear gas, and gunfire. Mayor Jenny Durkan begins a nightly curfew to try to quiet the unrest.

A protestor enters an intersection blocked by police during Saturday’s demonstrations

A burned SPD SUV was part of the weekend wreckage

Protesters fled as police attempted to clear downtown streets on the first weekend of Black Lives Matter protests in Seattle

Sunday, May 31stProtests grow with a large rally in Westlake.

Monday, June 1st: Police clash with demonstrators on Capitol Hill, deploying tear gas and flash grenades.

Tuesday, June 2ndDurkan tries to address protester demands by speaking at a march to thousands of demonstrators. Protesters again march on Capitol Hill.

Thousands marched across Seattle on June 2nd, 2020

Motor vehicles ended up being a surprisingly important part of protests including the Car Brigade effort that eventually formed to protect marches

Wednesday, June 3rd: A ‘Defund Seattle Police’ rally begins in Cal Anderson after another battle of tear gas and blast balls on Capitol Hill. National Guard troops join the lines with police outside the East Precinct.

By June 3rd, the line separating law enforcement and the National Guard from protesters had formed outside the East Precinct on E Pine, shifting up and down the street before eventually settling at 11th Ave

Mutual aid and community efforts formed quickly to distribute resources including meals, face masks, and safety gear

Police abolition leaders like Nikkita Oliver were part of the early June rally in Cal Anderson

District 3 Councilmember Kshama Sawant representing Capitol Hill and the Central District made regular appearances during the first days of the protests. Her actions during a later protest inside City Hall would eventually be part of the charges brought against her in the ongoing recall attempt.

Thursday, June 4th: The city bows to protest demands and lifts its curfew as demonstrations continue. Capitol Hill’s Pike/Pine core and Cal Anderson continues to grow as a center of the ongoing protests. Meanwhile, a battle line forms at 11th and Pine. The abandonment of the East Precinct and formation of CHOP would soon follow.

As the first week of protest and unrest entered the weekend, a clear line had formed on E Pine. Next would come the abandonment of the East Precinct and the formation of CHOP.


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Nekrasova
Nekrasova
20 days ago

Covid was in full swing, and people were tripping over each other to pack in like sardines and scream in each other’s faces.

Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Nekrasova

Nearly everyone was masked. In fact, masking was described in street art as a symbol that you understood Black lives matter. Epidemiologists studied the protests and later reported that community spread in Seatle was lower than most other cities during that period, and the protests had little impact on the spread of COVID-19.

genevieve
genevieve
20 days ago
Reply to  Nekrasova

The beginning of the protests was when Capitol Hill finally started masking up and stopped pretending it was just another spring. It was very disconcerting to attend the first protest, because I had not been near that many people in months and social distancing was impossible; nearly everyone was masked, and every protest and march I attended had the distancing measures locked in.

Pre-CHAZ/CHOP Cal Anderson, however, was to be avoided like the literal plague.

Moving Soon
Moving Soon
20 days ago

I will never ever forget what I saw in that time living here on Capitol Hill.

It was incredibly moving to see so many show up to speak truth to power and it was mortifying to watch as SPD flailed and continuously escalated the situation; disappearing people that posted videos of them pepper spraying children, using their official social media accounts to spread lies about protestors and threats to the precinct and their disgusting union boss leaping on the alt right train looking for extra work as a national media pun-dit. I will never ever see police the same way ever again and will absolutely never trust the official narrative surrounding absolutely anything. Police are pure violence and danger.

Glenn
Glenn
20 days ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

Not moving soon enough for me.

Why move?
Why move?
20 days ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

Why are you moving? What paradise have you found off the hill? Everywhere except Portland is more conservative.

Moving Soon
Moving Soon
19 days ago
Reply to  Why move?

Simply been priced out. There’s no paradise.

RWK
RWK
19 days ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

“Police are pure violence and danger.”

Quite a generalization, don’tcha think? Yes, there are some bad cops, but the vast majority are not in that category.

R U Serious?
R U Serious?
19 days ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

If you paid a little more attention you would have known the police who pepper sprayed that child were aiming for a grown woman who stood directly in front of the child, attacked a cop, and then ducked at the last minute. The whole thing was caught on camera, you just need to find a version of the video that wasn’t edited by anti-cop bigots to remove the first half.

Moving Soon
Moving Soon
19 days ago
Reply to  R U Serious?

And the police hunting down and taking the citizen that took the video into custody to harass them for multiple days is a totally ok thing for a taxpayer funded organization to do?

McCloud
McCloud
20 days ago

I’ll never forget having to walk through four dudes posted up at a makeshift barricade wielding AR-15s and wearing camo fatigues to pick up lunch at Danbo. The power of community and restorative justice <3

kasa
kasa
20 days ago
Reply to  McCloud

huh i live a couple blocks away from cal anderson and never saw this but myself and all my roommates were required to show our IDs to the same police who gassed us in our homes whenever we left our apt for like a week so….

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
19 days ago
Reply to  kasa

Willful ignorance? They were the guys who shot two children in front of multiple witnesses and on camera…… plenty of other photos and videos of them too. It’s pretty hard to claim they didn’t exist.

Moving Soon
Moving Soon
19 days ago
Reply to  McCloud

Replacing the dudes at the professional barricades wielding AR-15’s wearing police uniforms. Seems no matter the side the patriarchy speaks the same violent language.

Jim Demur
Jim Demur
19 days ago

I feel like the article uses the word protest instead of riots, and it’s a matter of bias (and a lack of perspective). You can’t engage in violence against Government and Citizens and then claim you are justified because of the cause. Use or threat of Use of Force to influence Government or Civilian opinion and policies is literally called terrorism.