A woman who appears to have filmed the aftermath of last week’s fatal shooting in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest area, capturing people talking about removing evidence from the scene, was arrested Thursday but released without charges.
She was booked into King County Jail on Thursday afternoon for investigation of rendering criminal assistance, a felony, but released Friday afternoon.
She had been scheduled to appear before a judge Friday for a probable-cause hearing to weigh the evidence against her, but was pulled from the schedule and released.
“Seattle police officers made the arrest decision Thursday,” said Casey McNerthney, a spokesperson for the King County Prosecutor’s Office. “On Friday, it was determined additional investigation was necessary.”
An Instagram account that appears to belong to the woman — it links to her personal website — shows video of people milling around a crashed white Jeep Cherokee in the protest area, after two teenagers were shot in the early morning hours of June 29.
Antonio Mays Jr., 16, was killed in the shooting and a 14-year-old boy was wounded.
Seattle police have said the two teenagers were “presumably the occupants of the Jeep.” Police have not named any suspects in the shootings.
The video captures a person, next to the Jeep, saying “you see any shells on the ground, pick those up, pocket ’em, take ’em home.”
“Hell yeah, no evidence, no evidence, pick that [expletive] up,” the filmer says. “Is there another flashlight, I need to see about shell casings.”
“Did anyone witness?” someone asks.
“No, and nobody is going to witness anything,” comes the response.
The video also shows someone with an AR-15-style rifle walking toward the shooting scene.
The Seattle Times is not naming the woman because she has not been charged.
Taylor Moye, her friend and college roommate, said the woman, a freelance photographer, has been traveling the country documenting protests. She said the woman told police that she doesn’t know anything about the shooting.
“She knows nothing, she got there, just like everybody else did, last minute,” Moye said. “This is not her character for her to be in any jail cell, she goes by the book 100%, 1,000%, she knows her rights.”
The woman’s arrest Thursday was filmed and quickly went viral on social media, amassing around 220,000 views by Friday afternoon. It shows police apprehending her on a South Lake Union street corner, as demonstrators protest and curse at police.
“The person in this video was arrested and booked into the jail for rendering criminal assistance — a felony — in connection with an ongoing homicide investigation,” Seattle police later wrote on Twitter.
On Friday, Detective Mark Jamieson, a Seattle police spokesperson, said the decision to release the woman was not the department’s.
“We arrested the correct individual, it’s part of an active and ongoing homicide investigation and the decision to charge or not charge someone rests solely with the prosecutor’s office,” he said “That’s not our purview.”
Police have said little about the status of the investigation, but did say, after the shooting, that the crime scene was disturbed before officers arrived. Detectives did not arrive to begin their investigation until nearly five hours after the shooting, police said. Police have not explained the delay.
A Seattle Times review of social media footage from that night shows a series of chaotic events on 12th Avenue between East Pike and East Pine Streets, outside the police’s shuttered East Precinct building. Many people at the CHOP area that night appeared to believe they were being attacked. Whether they were is unclear.
Just before 3 a.m., several gunshots were fired before the Jeep crashed into a portable toilet or concrete barrier outside the CHOP area.
Voices on some footage can be heard in the aftermath of the gunshots. “Oh, you’re not dead, huh?” someone asks. “Yo, you want to get pistol whipped?”
After the shooting, a number of people surrounded Mays and the injured 14-year-old, attempting to treat their injuries before they were transported by private cars to seek medical aid.
Later, someone standing next to the crashed Jeep says “I’m sorry, I ran out of bullets.”
The shooting, the fourth in nine days in or around CHOP, effectively ended the city’s waning tolerance of the protest area. Mayor Jenny Durkan ordered it cleared two days later.
Earlier this week, in an interview with The Seattle Times, Mays’ aunt, Diva Walls, expressed frustration about the city’s response to violence in CHOP.
Mays had left his San Diego home less than a week before, according to his family, and left a note saying he wanted to be a part of the Seattle protests.
“The way that it was handled down there in that zone was just horrendous and it’s unbelievable and I can’t believe it and I want to get to the truth,” Walls said.