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‘You are ordered to disperse’ — Echoes of CHOP as SPD arrest on Broadway draws large crowd — UPDATE

(Image: Capitol Hill Seattle Facebook Group)

Concerns about police violence against a Black man and echoes of CHOP and months of protests against SPD flared on Broadway Wednesday night, turning the arrest of a suspected DUI driver into a heated standoff and flooding the area with officers from across the city and members of the department’s crowd control task force.

The incident, occurring at one of the busiest corners in the city at a still-busy time of day, is the latest example in Seattle of ongoing concerns and distrust of police — especially in incidents involving Black males.

The Capitol Hill incident began with reports of traffic issues on Broadway and then, around 8:20 PM, a report of a car stopped and blocking the street with a reportedly unconscious driver at the wheel in the 200 block of Broadway E. According to East Precinct radio, an officer attempting to take the driver into custody issued a call for help around 8:25 PM, sending the first wave of police cars to the area just north of the E John/E Olive Way at Broadway intersection.

UPDATE: In a brief on the incident, SPD says the suspected DUI driver attempted to run from the scene:

Just after 8:00 p.m., officers were flagged down about a man asleep at the wheel of his running car, which was blocking traffic in the 200 block of Broadway. Officers believed the driver was intoxicated and asked the man to step out of his vehicle, which he did. When police attempted to take the man into custody for investigation of DUI, he tried to run away and fought with officers. Officers were able to place him in handcuffs after a struggle.

“During the arrest, a hostile crowd of several dozen people formed on the sidewalk on both sides of the street,” the brief reads. “Officers called for additional units to stabilize the scene, ensuring the safety of both officers and bystanders.”

The situation quickly spiraled out of control. According to witnesses and Seattle Police Department radio reports, a large crowd formed during the fight with the suspect as the man yelled he was unable to breathe. Many people were photographing and recording the scene. More police were dispatched to the area along with officers from SPD’s Community Response Group, the task force formed during 2020’s ongoing protest to focus on crowd control efforts across the city.

Police struggled to push back the crowd and establish control of the 200 block of Broadway E, allowing Seattle Fire to dispatch a crew to the scene to treat the suspect and transport him from the scene around 8:40 PM. Public address announcements ordering the crowd to disperse, something that became a regular part of nights during 2020’s protests, bounced off buildings around Broadway and only seemed to further agitate the groups and crowd.

(Image: Matt Mitgang with permission to CHS)

Groups were reported in continued conflict with police including people that gathered at the East Precinct where the suspect’s car was towed and another incident at Harborview — though police said the suspect had been taken to Swedish for observation.

We do not yet have further information from Seattle Fire regarding the suspect’s condition and will be following up with SPD to learn more about the arrest and any booking information from the incident and investigation. UPDATE: SFD reports its crews treated a 44-year-old man at the scene before transporting him to the hospital in stable condition. SPD says medics examined the suspect “and determined he was stable and did not need further medical attention” —

Because the suspect continued to be combative throughout the incident, SPD determined it would be safest to transport him on a gurney, which is typically done by private ambulance. However, since the wait for a private ambulance was around 30 minutes, and the crowd at the scene continued to be hostile, SFD agreed to transport the suspect to the hospital so SPD could complete a DUI blood draw. After the blood draw the suspect was transported to KCJ for and booked for DUI, obstruction, and driving with a suspended license.

Police say around two dozen people marched on the East Precinct at 12th and Pine, blocking traffic before the crowd was “eventually dispersed.”

There were no reported additional arrests or injuries.


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Moving Soon
Moving Soon
8 days ago

Defund the police!

Bob
Bob
8 days ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

Are you pro drunk driving?

Moving Soon
Moving Soon
8 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Are you pro police murder?

Judy
Judy
7 days ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

No one was murdered. Also, byyyeee!

JJ Mills
7 days ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

Ummmm…. did you even take 5 minutes out of your oh, so busy, day to even SCAN the article, let alone READ IT? Good lord, I wouldn’t even think you could read, if I met you on the street!

Tom C
Tom C
8 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Why would they be?

The response seemed to be vastly disproportionate to the situation. One DUI driver who’s passed out with no harm to others didn’t need an entire precinct to respond.

Just as they over responded to BLM protests last year (while ignoring, or outright supporting Proud Boy protestors. Still waiting to hear more about the fake PB reports over police radios last year right after CHOP formed).

That’s our tax dollars being wasted as usual by SPD, likely paying out overtime for it to many of those officers. Over one minor DUI case.

It’s been stunning to watch the East precinct in particular wipe away years of community relations and trust with incidents like this.

district13tribute
district13tribute
7 days ago
Reply to  Tom C

Tom,
The police response wasn’t for the DUI suspect. The response was due to the massive crowd that gathered, attempted to interfere with apprehending someone who was passed out in his vehicle and then became hostile toward the police when the suspect refused to cooperate. It’s great to demand police accountability when they act improperly but when they are actually doing the job they are supposed to do and protect public safety people need to allow them to work. It’s amazing to me that we have a man driving around a motor vehicle so impaired he passed out and yet the criticism here is directed at the police. Are you even reading what you wrote?

Glenn
Glenn
7 days ago

Please do not confuse Tom with the facts. They only serve to distract from his narrative. If the facts were slightly different, the same people criticizing the police response here would be savaging the apparently impaired driver of a “gasp” motor vehicle. Down with automobiles would be the cry.

CD Rez
CD Rez
7 days ago
Reply to  Tom C

What an insane take. How did we get here?

JJ Mills
7 days ago
Reply to  Tom C

It looks like everyone is too busy clicking on their devices to read the story. Pathetic. Read: “the man was combative and attempted to run”

Ballardite
Ballardite
5 days ago
Reply to  Tom C

His car was running – if he woke up he might drive and cause an accident

L A
L A
8 days ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

Wrong answer. So wrong. If you’re moving soon, please do it quickly so we have one less idiot adding fuel to an unnecessary fire.

ClaireWithTheHair
ClaireWithTheHair
8 days ago

There’s a small army of local folks who are just itching for any sort of fight with the police. CHOP made them feel like they were part of history — even if it’s really embarrassing and awful history — and they really want to recapture that feeling again.

So what do they do? As soon as the Groupchat gets updated with “opportunity to protect an unarmed black man on Broadway”, hundreds of them come down from their apartments to swarm the SPD. Whether the SPD is actually doing their job correctly — peacefully apprehending a drunk driver who then tried to fight the police — is beside the point. They’re not down there to ensure justice, they’re down there to try and generate some sort of newsworthy incident that will make them look like heroes on social media.

In truth, all they’re doing is making everyone else’s life a lot more difficult, so they can cosplay as Black Panthers by holding up their phones and chanting worn-out slogans that aren’t applicable to the situation.

Moving Soon
Moving Soon
8 days ago

You should take police violence more seriously.

CD Rez
CD Rez
7 days ago
Reply to  Moving Soon

Ironically, you’re the one who needs to take things a little more seriously.

Something doesn't add up
Something doesn't add up
8 days ago

The details of this arrest are confusing. If the suspect was unconscious, why did the police officer need to call for back up and how did a fight ensue between the suspect and officer(s)? I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but as is often the case with police provided accounts of events, there seem to be some missing parts to the story.

Nandor
Nandor
8 days ago

He was drunk and passed out/asleep behind the wheel when reported and woke up angry when they attempted to remove him from the car…. not a particularly hard concept or circumstances to understand.

Glenn
Glenn
7 days ago
Reply to  Nandor

You wonder sometimes if these people even read the stories.

JJ Mills
7 days ago
Reply to  Glenn

AMEN! It seems that way!

Scandinavian
Scandinavian
7 days ago
Reply to  Nandor

Agreed. The woke mob doesn’t seem capable of complex critical thinking. Everything is black and white. As another reader pointed out, the sad truth is that they are interfering with the the arrest of a drunk driver, creating drama, and trashing the neighborhood for likes on Instagram.

Something doesn't add up
Something doesn't add up
7 days ago
Reply to  Nandor

Except that until this post was updated, the reporting did not include the detail that he woke up and started fighting, so it did seem strange that more than two police officers would be needed to detain a drunk, passed out man.

As someone whose only SPD interaction was awful, when a police officer stopped me for speeding and immediately started screaming at me, threatening me, and treating me like I’d robbed a bank before I’d said a single word, I have no inclination to believe that the police weren’t the ones responsible for unnecessarily escalating the situation.

Ballardite
Ballardite
5 days ago
Reply to  Nandor

And the car was running

CD Rez
CD Rez
7 days ago

This is really not hard to figure out how it played out and to see that there’s no conspiracy needed for explanation.

Something doesn't add up
Something doesn't add up
7 days ago
Reply to  CD Rez

Uh, why would that be obvious? See my second paragraph about my own experience with SPD, and you’ll see that it’s not always the case that situations are escalated by the civilian, and anyone who has paid any attention to the news, data, and research into racial bias and policing in the last few years should also know that.

So you, a person who is inclined to believe that police do no wrong and Seattle citizens are ridiculous, may not require any details to jump to your conclusion, but I want all the details before reaching mine.

Russ
Russ
7 days ago

Drunk driving causes 10,000 deaths per year – its amazing peoples anti-police ideology runs so deep that they oppose arresting someone who could easily be a danger to pedestrians and other drivers if they wake up still intoxicated and decide to drive.

Sorry folks – some people don’t want to go to jail and you have to use force. No one died here and it seems like the massive police response was due to the crowd that opposed arresting the person.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
7 days ago
Reply to  Russ

If only we would expect the same police response to anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers after COVID killed 500,000+ in a year.

Jim98122x
Jim98122x
7 days ago
Reply to  Fairly Obvious

Explain to everyone how, in your mind, that would play out?

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
6 days ago
Reply to  Jim98122x

Something 50x as worse as the response that played out in the above article might be appropriate.

Even further, the people refusing vaccines and masks are doing so under complete cognizance, whereas drunk drivers do so under some manner of impairment (note: this doesn’t absolve drunk driving in any way).

John Anhalt
John Anhalt
7 days ago

Wonder how much overtime SPD will charge after escalating this situation. Wonder why they claim to be too understaffed to respond to most calls, then can call in 20+ cops in a matter of moments when they are being held accountable by citizens. Shameful.

Zach
Zach
7 days ago
Reply to  John Anhalt

Where in the story does it say that the police escalated this situation?

MarciaX
MarciaX
7 days ago
Reply to  Zach

Whether or not the police response was justified (I wasn’t there and have no opinion on that), it did clarify one thing: This city has no shortage of cops. Anyone who claims otherwise can safely be ignored.

Edward
Edward
7 days ago
Reply to  MarciaX

Just because a bunch were available to come to an incident at one particular time does not prove there is no cop shortage.

Same as a cold snap doesn’t disprove global warming.

Ballardite
Ballardite
5 days ago
Reply to  John Anhalt

They only need to pay it because the crowd escalated. The police were just doing their jobs.

Guesty
Guesty
7 days ago

Great, jumping up in a frothy rage over police having to subdue a jackass that was passed out in his car near a busy intersection. Not the hill to die on folks….

Calvin
Calvin
7 days ago

This country and city is seriously ill.

People need to learn to look at facts, and base their emotional reactions on reality instead of existing, biased narrative.

This applies to voters who still think Trump won, and Seattle woke crowds who descended on police who are just doing their job against a black man.

Jim98122x
Jim98122x
7 days ago
Reply to  Calvin

Their attention spans aren’t long enough to process semi-complex thoughts. And besides— they don’t have time for that because it just gets in the way of immediately jumping to re-tweet, re-share, and re-Instagram for social media. Because as we all know, social media is way more real than…um, real life.

dennis
dennis
5 days ago

As the story is written the police behavior sounds reasonable. I would be interested in seeing body cam footage of the officers involved. Police behavior over the years particularly towards minorities does not encourage unquestioning trust, indeed quite the opposite.