Rampaging local protests of the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision are a disservice to everyone — including the protesters.
THOUGH more than 2,000 miles away from Ferguson, Mo., hundreds of people have taken to Seattle streets in the fervor following the decision not to indict a police officer shooting death of Michael Brown.
Almost as soon as the grand jury found insufficient evidence to indict for the shooting of the unarmed black teenager in August, protests against racial injustice and police brutality erupted across the country.
For a moment, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray intimated that he’d joined them in spirit. Murray, who called for peaceful protests, in a news conference startlingly referred to the shooting as a “murder.” He quickly walked back his comment.
But Murray’s pandering faux pas was mild compared to the roaming gangs of belligerent hostiles disrupting lawful protests and innocent holiday celebrations, and destroying property — to no apparent end.
From obstructing downtown intersections and Interstate 5 the night of the decision to rampaging through two downtown shopping malls Friday and Monday, some demonstrators are doing their cause a grave disservice.
Local protesters have chanted “black lives matter.”
But bringing Westlake Center and Pacific Place mall to a standstill on the busiest shopping days of the year, scaring a choir of small children to the point that their performance was canceled, and inciting otherwise restrained police officers to deploy pepper spray and percussion grenades for crowd control adds no value to the lives of any race.
Instead, the extremists among the protesters are antagonizing innocents and risked turning the public against them.
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Thus far, 11 people have been arrested. Police say protesters have assaulted them with bottles, rocks, umbrellas and a knife, have broken car and store windows and shot fireworks into a mall crowd. One man brought a cache of deadly weapons, including an assault-style rifle, to a demonstration.
That’s a recipe for tougher — not more considerate — policing.
Regardless of whether the demonstrations have merit, or participants are merely drawn to Seattle’s persistent current of youthful protestations, the unsettling of this city’s Ferguson-related disruptions are doing more harm than good.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is eyeing the Ferguson case and the victim’s family is mulling civil charges. President Obama wants to equip police with body cameras and has ordered a review of military weapon sales to local departments.
Having reached a nadir Friday and continuing this week, local demonstrators need to ask themselves if they’re building the world they want, or destroying it. Anything less is a gratuitous exploitation of a senseless death.
And that’s no better than the behavior they’re protesting.