The City of Seattle has agreed to extend a court-ordered ban on the use of tear gas, pepper spray, foam bullets and other force by Seattle police against peaceful protesters through the end of September.
The city and Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County filed a joint motion in U.S. District Court late Thursday agreeing to a preliminary injunction that would extend a temporary restraining order issued by Judge Richard Jones.
Jones issued that order June 12 following an emotionally charged hearing during which attorneys for BLM and the Washington chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union presented evidence that the judge concluded showed police had used excessive force and violated the free-speech rights of thousands of protesters who had gathered downtown in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Floyd’s suffocation death under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25 — the latest in a long string of police killings of unarmed Black people — was captured on video and sparked international outrage and protests that continue today.
In agreeing to extend the ban on force against peaceful protesters, the city’s motion specifically states that it is not conceding any wrongdoing or violations of the law as alleged by the BLM lawsuit. The injunction will stay in place until Sept. 30.
Jones heard testimony and reviewed video of the protests before concluding that some officers turned less-than-lethal weapons against the downtown crowds “disproportionately and without provocation” and likely in retaliation for the message the throngs were there to support: the end of police racism and brutality.