Seattle was one of 90 U.S. cities where demonstrators held vigils Thursday in solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, Mo., site of the fatal shooting last weekend of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a police officer.
More than 100 people took part in the National Moment of Silence at two Seattle locations — Fourth Avenue and Pine Street downtown and the Queen Anne Baptist Church. The vigils called for an end to police brutality and support for people in Missouri protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown just outside of St. Louis.
In downtown Seattle, participants carried signs and wore red sashes while the group stood in silence for about an hour. The police presence was minimal, save for a few bicycle officers and security guards.
The Rev. Harriett Walden of Mothers Against Police Brutality said the vigils were held to show that citizens have a right to protest.
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“We’re standing for democracy,” Walden told the demonstrators, before they formed a circle and went silent.
One of the participants was Rick Williams, whose brother John T. Williams, 50, was killed by a Seattle police officer in 2010. John T. Williams, a partially deaf First Nations wood carver, was shot four times after failing to comply with the officer’s order to drop a knife.
“I don’t want to see another young man hurt the way my brother was,” Rick Williams said.
Rodney Jarreau Greene, 28, held up a sign that read “Black Lives Matter.” He said issues of police brutality aren’t unique to other places.
“This ties to us,” he said. “It’s not just in Missouri.”
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released a statement Thursday that offered condolences to Brown’s family and said public safety and police reform remain his top priorities.
“This is a moment to reflect and learn for not just Ferguson, but for every city in this country including Seattle,” the statement said.
Paige Cornwell: 206-464-2530 or firstname.lastname@example.org