Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from demonstrations Saturday, May 30, as the day unfolded.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a curfew starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday as protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis gripped downtown.
Tensions had built throughout the rainy afternoon, as protesters chanted “I can’t breathe!” and “What’s his name? George Floyd.” Many sought to call attention to Floyd, a Black Minneapolis man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, ignoring the man’s pleas that he was suffocating.
Police struggled to disperse the crowd and enforce social distancing; Gov. Jay Inslee activated National Guard troops to respond shortly after 5 o’clock.
There seemed to be at least two protests going on Saturday afternoon. One, taking the stage at Westlake, was purposefully nonviolent. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) also faced questions for its tactics, including the use of flash bangs as it dispersed people Saturday, and for a videotaped incident Friday night of at least one officer punching a man as he was being held on the ground.
Nationwide, unrest spread across dozens of American cities Friday, prompting the Pentagon to order the Army to put several active-duty U.S. military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis. In Portland, police declared a riot late Friday night after protesters broke into the city’s police headquarters and set fires inside.
Throughout Saturday, on this page, we’ll post updates from Seattle Times journalists and others on the protests in the Seattle area and throughout the nation.
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- Complete coverage from the Northwest and the nation
27 arrested in Seattle
Seattle police arrested 27 people Saturday on suspicion of offenses including assault, arson and looting and were continuing to respond to incidents into the early hours of Sunday, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said in a statement posted online.
Best said "multiple" police officers and civilians were injured, but did not provide specifics.
“Currently, we are still addressing a number of groups of offenders who continue to assault officers and loot the downtown core, indiscriminately," Best said in the statement, posted at 12:43 a.m. The National Guard is present downtown, Best said.
Property destruction started around 2:40 p.m. Saturday and officers were struck with rocks and bottles, Best said.
The Seattle Police Department has faced scrutiny for its tactics during demonstrations Friday and Saturday, including a videotaped incident in which an officer punched a man who was being held on the ground. SPD plans to review officers' use of force during Friday's protests, the department said earlier in the day Saturday.
Police did not discharge their firearms, although "there were countless uses of non-lethal and crowd control tools," Best said.
Southbound I-5 to reopen
Southbound Interstate 5 will reopen soon, Washington State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson said in a Tweet shortly after midnight. The stretch of freeway was closed between State Route 520 and Interstate 90 earlier Saturday after protesters walked onto the highway.
Reports of looting and break-ins continue downtown, Northbound I-5 to reopen
Shortly after 11 p.m., police were continuing to respond to calls about break-ins and looting throughout downtown Seattle.
Stores along several downtown blocks near Westlake Center had broken windows and graffiti. A Seattle Police Department spokesman could not immediately be reached for information about the number of arrests.
A man was taken into police custody inside the Walgreens on 3rd / Pike. pic.twitter.com/bScJLD6C4d
— Evan Bush (@evanbush) May 31, 2020
A stretch of northbound Interstate 5, shut down between State Route 520 and Interstate 90 earlier in the day when demonstrators flooded onto the freeway, will reopen soon, Washington State Trooper Rick Johnson said in a tweet at about 11:10 pm. There is no estimated time for reopening southbound I-5, Johnson said.
Sound Transit’s Westlake Station downtown will remain closed until further notice, the agency said shortly after 10 p.m., citing “cleanup and police activity in the vicinity.” The Pioneer Square light-rail station is also closed but may reopen tonight, Sound Transit said. King County Metro buses are not currently serving downtown between Denny Way and Edgar Martinez Drive.
Earlier Saturday, two King County Metro supervisor vehicles were significantly damaged by fire, spokesman Jeff Switzer said. There were no reports of injuries to Metro employees, he said.
Human Services: City Hall emergency shelter moved to Seattle Center 'due to damage from today's demonstrations'
The Salvation Army's emergency overnight shelter in City Hall will be moved to Fisher Pavilion in Seattle Center because of damage that occurred during the day's demonstrations, according to the Seattle Human Services Department (HSD).
According to a city spokesperson, one window facing Fifth Avenue was shattered during the demonstration around 4:30 or 5 p.m., which caused tear gas and smoke to fill City Hall's lobby and trigger the fire alarm. No city employees were hurt and no one was in the shelter at the time.
"Because of these conditions, the City chose to move the overnight shelter to Fisher Pavilion for the health and safety of shelter residents and staff," city spokesperson Kelsey Nyland wrote in an email.
As of 10:30 p.m., 11 people seeking shelter at City Hall had been referred to Fisher Pavilion, according to Jonathan Harvey, spokesperson for The Salvation Army. Harvey could not confirm if capacity had already been reached Saturday evening, but said arrangements have been made to help transfer people to other shelters if Fisher Pavilion becomes full.
The Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) is anticipating 20 to 25 people to sleep at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall who would have otherwise stayed at the Salvation Army shelter at City Hall.
Both Exhibition Hall and Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center are temporary shelter spaces opened in recent months to accommodate shelter residents at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 in more crowded conditions.
Daniel Malone, executive director of DESC, which operates Exhibition Hall, said one DESC-run shelter where homeless clients were staying was also damaged during the day's events.
The space, a 40-bed shelter run out of the west wing of the King County Jail in downtown Seattle, had its entrance door shattered by someone throwing something at it, Malone said.
"There was some discomfort on the part of our staff and clients inside the space experiencing something like tear gas or something like that," Malone said. "And so they kind of sealed up the entrance the best they could with some wet towels."
Staff then put up a sign identifying the space – which has a different entrance than the jail – as a homeless shelter, in the hopes that it might deter people from damaging it.
DESC's behavioral health clinic in Pioneer Square also had its entrance broken, according to Malone.
In 2019, a majority of people experiencing homelessness in King County identified as people of color, according to last year's one-night count and survey.
An estimated 32% of people experiencing homelessness identified as Black or African American, while making up only 6% of the county population. People identifying American Indian/Alaska Native made up 10% of the homeless population, according to the count, while representing less than 1% of the county population.
Seattle City Council leaders request June 3 briefing on demonstrations, police response
Seattle City Council leaders have asked Mayor Jenny Durkan’s administration for a briefing next Wednesday on the police department’s response to the George Floyd protests in the city.
Council President M. Lorena González and Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the council’s public safety committee, said they want to hear about injuries and arrests, as well as “health and safety impacts on our downtown core.”
“We will ask for a detailed after-action, incident report which should include details specific to rifles stolen, police vehicles destroyed, damage to property and to the Interstate,” González and Herbold said in a statement Saturday night, referring to Interstate 5.
“We will also request a review of whether the policies for policing of demonstrations in the SPD Policy and Procedures Manual, following implementation of recommendations of the Community Police Commission, were followed,” they added.
González and Herbold said Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, which came after a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, “has angered, saddened and moved many of us to use our collective power to march on the streets.”
They also said, “The destruction we saw tonight will not correct the wrongs of police brutality … We know that many people came into downtown Seattle to protest George Floyd’s death, while it appears others came to distract us from the necessary focus on police violence inflicted upon black people.”
The council members thanked first responders and “the quiet leaders who ensured there was no loss of life.” They asked people downtown Saturday night to go home.
Councilmember Morales: Protests 'a reaction to just the deep frustration and angst of centuries of oppression'
Seattle City Councilmember Tammy Morales said she hopes the main reason for the demonstrations isn’t overshadowed by the confrontations between some people and police on the streets.
Morales attended a peaceful rally at Westlake Park and described protests across the country as “a reaction to just the deep frustration and angst of centuries of oppression.”
“People are fed up and they’re not going to take it anymore. They are demanding that things change,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do to address the structural racism in our city and our country. Our Black neighbors have borne the burden of this trauma for too long.”
Morales said she wished the city had been more prepared to stop “these folks who come in and cause damage and create chaos.”
“My fear is that tomorrow the headline is going to be ‘Nordstorm windows broken,’ and we’re not going to talk about the fact that Black people are suffering,” she said.
Morales said she didn’t know the curfew order was coming.
“My hope is that people were not caught downtown with no way to get home,” she said.
A vigil in Olympia
Demonstrators are masked (for virus). Silent, holding signs that say things like:
- I can’t breathe
- justice for Floyd
- Black lives matter
— Joseph O'Sullivan ⛰ (@OlympiaJoe) May 31, 2020
Fire and poetry
A stark contrast between different scenes at the same time and along the same street in Seattle today.
While a vehicle burned at 5th and Pine, pastors and community leaders less than a block away at Westlake Park cited poetry and spoke out against racial injustice. pic.twitter.com/oxYuvP8rxr
— Mary Hudetz (@marymhudetz) May 31, 2020
Seattle Community Police Commission monitoring protests, police policies
The Seattle Community Police Commission said that its members will review police policies related to the protests and continue to monitor the developing situation in downtown Seattle.
"The CPC and our community are grieving the death of George Floyd and the continued disparate treatment of Black and brown persons by law enforcement," co-chairs the Rev. Harriett Walden, Prachi Dave and the Rev. Aaron Williams said in a statement. "We continue to stand with our community and their constitutional right to protest. We hope everyone makes it home safely tonight. We are concerned about the potential for disproportionate impacts of police action tonight on communities of color and will be closely monitoring the situation."
Police moved a scattering group of protesters and then halted at 4th / Lenora. A tense couple of blocks, but now calmer. Some demonstrators took off north on Lenora, but seems others might have scattered. pic.twitter.com/8M3o9GNZd3
— Evan Bush (@evanbush) May 31, 2020
Could not get tweets out for a bit. About 15 minutes ago, 4th / Pike was shrouded in smoke from car fires. pic.twitter.com/2weGqM0oGO
— Evan Bush (@evanbush) May 31, 2020
And a live performance on 4th /Pine pic.twitter.com/SIF2TuAsrA
— Evan Bush (@evanbush) May 31, 2020
Durkan explains curfew decision, says city will investigate force against demonstrators
In news conference Saturday night, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said she chose to impose a curfew and ban weapons in the city to help quell violence and property destruction downtown. Durkan also said the city would investigate how police officers have used force against demonstrators and hold officers accountable for any misconduct.
“Today, many across Seattle came together to grieve, to protest and to commit themselves to the cause of justice,” Durkan said, decrying the death of George Floyd, who died after a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes. “For most of today, the demonstrators were peaceful and I thank all of those who chose to exercise their right to protest without hurting others.”
The mayor said her sudden actions were prompted by a subset of people in the streets.
“Unfortunately, in the late afternoon, demonstrations downtown by others quickly turned violent and destructive. We have seen this play out across the country,” she said.
Some people threw Molotov cocktails at cars and buildings, some threw fireworks at peaceful crowds and police, “and for periods, our firefighters could not access the fires to put them out, because it was not safe to do so,” Durkan said.
Multiple officers and civilians were injured, the mayor said, adding, “At this time, we’re not aware of any serious injuries.”
Durkan has signed three emergency orders, she said, proclaiming a civil emergency over the downtown demonstrations, imposing a citywide curfew from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. “tonight and tomorrow night” and prohibiting the use of all weapons, including guns, clubs and pipes in central Seattle. It wasn't immediately clear how exactly the ban would work with regard to gun owners.
“This was a difficult decision to make because we in this city and cities across America enjoy the right to come together,” she said, reminding Seattle residents that Gov. Jay Inslee’s coronavirus stay-home order also is still in place.
Police officers will “try to inform people and educate people first, but people in violation of the order who will not vacate, enforcement can be taken,” the mayor said.
“I understand the immense rage and grief and sense of betrayal” that many are feeling in the wake of Floyd’s killing. “However, the escalated incidents of destruction and violence do not honor Mr. Floyd,” Durkan said. “The criminal acts that took place during today’s demonstrations cannot and will not be allowed to continue … We will take all steps necessary to protect the residents and property of this city.”
Asked about officers using flash bombs and tear gas against peaceful protesters, Durkan promised investigations but stopped short of announcing any immediate disciplinary decisions.
“There have been a number of videos circulating related to the use of force, both from last night and tonight. Every one of those videos will be reviewed to make sure that they’re in compliance with Seattle Police Department requirements,” the mayor said, mentioning that the police department’s civilian Inspector General was present at the city’s emergency operations center Saturday to observe the department’s deployments. “Any police officer using force inappropriately will be held accountable.”
At the same time, “I have seen officers take enormous punishment, last night and today, with a number of things thrown their way,” Durkan said, defending the use of force in certain cases.
Asked why the curfew announcement came only minutes before 5.p.m., allowing demonstrators with scant time to comply, Durkan said the move was recommended by the police department as a tool to get people out of downtown.
“We are not using that curfew to set people up or to unnecessarily detain people or arrest people,” she said.” We’re trying to get everyone safely home.”
Though the protests were downtown, the curfew will apply to the entire city, Durkan confirmed. “People should be staying home unless they’re going to a necessary business or otherwise,” she said.
The mayor said it was “too early to determine the number of types of groups” that engaged in peaceful activity versus other behavior. That will be part of the city’s investigation into the demonstrations, Durkan said, noting other mayors have reported arresting non-local people.
“We don’t know whether that’s the case here in Seattle,” she said.
Two scenes, one city
Felt like two different scenes downtown earlier, one chaotic and the other peaceful – only blocks from one another. All protesters are calling for accountability for the death of George Floyd pic.twitter.com/qM1x0sMRgI
— amandamsnyder (@amandamsnyder) May 31, 2020
'We know why we're here'
Asha Ahmed and Hannah Khan said they were protesting injustice & history repeating itself with George Floyd’s death.
“The people who came out may think of justice in different ways, like some think it’s causing a riot,” Ahmed said. “But everyone who came out wants justice.” pic.twitter.com/Tp3OS4UGmu
— Asia Fields (@asiakmfields) May 31, 2020
“It shows a lot for people to be in the middle of it and staying there and holding down the fort in chaos,” protester Howard-Lewis said. “It’s scary to hear loud sounds but we know why we’re here.”
— Asia Fields (@asiakmfields) May 31, 2020
Not this Time! rally participant: 'We ultimately want peace'
Marjae Cole, 21, attended the Not this Time! rally with friends and family.
After it had ended and the crowd was dispersing amid the downpour, Cole said that she initially came to demonstrate against the death of George Floyd. But her hopes from the gathering became broader as it drew near.
“But it’s bigger than that. We ultimately want peace.”
She felt heartened by the turnout and diversity within the crowd at the gathering, especially since she had been hoping to see more support for the Black community that goes beyond social media postings.
Those at the Not this Time! gathering packed Westlake Park to listen to speakers. Almost all wore masks.
“Are you actually willing to make your presence known and show that you do support our people and what we are going through?” she said.
“I definitely feel better about it.”
Seattle City Council members weigh in on Durkan's curfew decision
Seattle City Council President M. Lorena González said she supports Mayor Jenny Durkan’s move to impose a 5 p.m. curfew.
“I’m still waiting to get copies of the emergency orders and the curfew notice, so I haven’t read the specifics of those orders yet," González said. “But I have had the opportunity to speak directly with the mayor about her motivations … and get from her and her staff a better understanding of what is happening downtown … It seems to me it’s reasonable for these emergency orders to be issued and a curfew to be issued to maintain public safety in the downtown core.”
She added, “The takeaway from me is there was a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest happening two blocks away from where some mayhem was occurring. We see this happening sometimes with our May Day marches where people who are interested in creating violence sort of interweave and take over. That seems to be what happened here.”
González said she intended to review Durkan’s orders and curfew notice “to make sure civil liberties aren’t being overly restricted” and to determine whether the council needs to get involved.
“But once things turn violent, it’s just unacceptable, and violence begets violence. We cannot tolerate that kind of disruption,” she said.
Asked whether people in Seattle received enough warning ahead of the curfew, González noted that an alert was pushed to mobile devices.
“It’s incumbent on the executive to make sure that people know,” she said, adding, “We have received assurances from the Durkan administration that they’re really issuing the curfew for the purpose of restoring order downtown, that it’s not going to be a blanket enforced all over the city.”
City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who was downtown until about 5:30 p.m., said Durkan’s curfew order came suddenly.
“I’ve spent the last 30 minutes or so telling people that the mayor was about to or had issued a curfew,” Herbold said. “My takeaway is that it doesn’t sound like there was much in the way of advance information about that, making it more challenging for people to comply.”
Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who spoke at the downtown protest, criticized Durkan's decision and said in a statement that "Seattle doesn't need a curfew, pepper spray and tear gas. We need an end to racist police violence."
Transit options limited under 5 p.m. curfew
As people protesting the death of George Floyd leave downtown to comply with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s 5 p.m. curfew, transit options are limited.
Buses will not operate in the downtown core, King County Metro announced in a news release.
Metro is encouraging riders to board transit east of Boren Avenue, north of Wall Street and south of South Royal Brougham Way.
Sound Transit’s Link light rail is not serving Westlake Station.
Colman Dock is closed. There is no Washington State Ferry service to Seattle on the Seattle-Bainbridge and Seattle-Bremerton routes.
Meanwhile, Interstate 5 closed in both directions between Highway 520 and Interstate 90 Saturday afternoon as protesters marched onto the freeway.
People planning to get home by transit should plan for extra time in their schedule, said King County Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer.
Metro is still operating under adjusted conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic, which includes passenger limitations.
On a 40-foot bus, only 12 riders are allowed on board at any time. On a 60-foot bus, the limit is 18 people.
In addition, some Metro routes have been temporarily canceled due to the public health crisis. Updated information is available on Metro’s website and through Metro’s Trip Planner. Riders can sign up for transit alerts and follow updates through social media.
“If somebody hasn’t ridden the bus for a while and chooses to do so today, they should research their typical schedule and route ahead of time and prepare for potential delays,” he said.
Inslee activates National Guard in response to ongoing Seattle protests
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has activated National Guard troops in response to a request from the City of Seattle during Saturday's downtown protests.
Up to 200 guard unarmed personnel will assist Seattle police officers in relation to ongoing protests, according to a statement from Inslee's office released Saturday evening.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best submitted the request Saturday, according to Inslee's office.
Seattle mayor announces 5 p.m. curfew
Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced a curfew starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday in response to the downtown Seattle protests.
The curfew will be in effect from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Residents should remain in their homes "to the extent possible" and not travel in or through Seattle, Durkan, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best and Seattle Fire Department Chief Harold Scoggins said in a statement released about 4:45 p.m.
"This curfew is intended to prevent violence and widespread property damage, and to prevent the further community spread of COVID-19 through continued gathering," the three said in a statement.
The city officials said the curfew won't be enforced, "except for violations that result in public health and safety threats including fires, extensive property damage, and violence."
Public transit schedules won't be impacted by the curfew, and the curfew doesn't apply to people who work during those hours, people in a medical emergency, people experiencing homelessness, or the news media.
I will soon be signing an emergency order and the @CityofSeattle will be imposing a 5 pm curfew soon. Crowds need to disburse from downtown immediately.
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) May 30, 2020
Work crews clean up Portland storefronts after Friday protests
Work crews descended on downtown Portland Saturday to put up particle board and plywood patches to the many storefront and office building widows shattered during outbreaks of vandalism and looting, which began Friday night and prompted Mayor Ted Wheeler to impose a curfew this evening that begins at 8 p.m.
Graffiti also was sprayed on many buildings, which included threats to police and – over and over again – the circle-A, which is the symbol embraced by the anarchist movement.
Much of the destruction and defacing took place after the end of a largely peaceful Friday evening protest march over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died as a Minneapolis policeman pressed a knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes.
That protest started as vigil in a north Portland park that drew hundreds of people, many of whom then marched a miles long route that ended by Multnomah County Justice Center, which is the site of the county jail. Individuals then broke then broke into the building, setting a small fire and damaging computers and other parts of an office before riot police move in.
The front of the justice center is engraved with a quote from George Washington that declares “The due administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government.” On Saturday afternoon, workers blocked off shattered windows beneath that inscription.
Other downtown targets for the vandals included high-profile shopping sites such as the Microsoft Store and the Pioneer Place shopping mall, which had many large windows severely damaged and required wood framing as part of the repairs.
But smaller businesses also were hit,
such as a shoe store and a jewelry store.
Some north Portland buildings -- located along the Martin Luther King Blvd. route of the protest march -- also suffered damage. They included the Bank of America, and Nike.
Interstate 5 closed in both directions between I-90 and Highway 520
The Washington State Patrol has closed both directions of Interstate 5 between Interstate 90 and Highway 520. Protesters in downtown Seattle are marching through the lanes of the interstate.
Drivers should avoid I-5 through Seattle, the state patrol tweeted at 4:15 p.m.
“The freeway is not a safe or appropriate place for demonstration," state patrol Chief John Batiste said in a statement. "WSP will thoughtfully do what is necessary to maintain public safety and urges everyone to use caution in the area.”
More traffic updates are available here.
Southbound I-5 closed after protesters walk on highway
Protesters have walked onto Interstate 5 and the Washington State Patrol has closed the southbound portion of the highway.
Drivers should avoid I-5 through downtown, the state patrol tweeted shortly after 4 p.m.
Seattle protesters remember John T. Williams
— Mary Hudetz (@marymhudetz) May 30, 2020
John T. Williams was a First Nations woodcarver who was killed by a police officer in August 2010. The shooting was found to be unjustified by the Seattle Police Department's Firearms Review Board and led to the resignation of the officer, Ian Birk.
When the shooting findings were released, Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer, who authored the report, said Birk’s actions were “among the most egregious failings that I have seen.”
Read more about John T. Williams here.
Seattle city workers hand out one-time masks for protesters
Representatives with the Seattle parks and neighborhoods departments plan to hand out single-use use masks to people taking part in Saturday's demonstrations.
The workers will be handing out hundreds of masks in downtown Seattle, according to the City of Seattle. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, Washington State Department of Health recommends that people wear face coverings when they are in a public setting and can't be 6 feet or more away from someone else. Distance is always recommended.
Thousands of people have gathered in downtown Seattle to demonstrate over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and demand more police accountability. Floyd, a Black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to Floyd's neck as he pleaded for air.
Several groups at the demonstrations have handed out masks, water and sanitizing wipes to participants.
— Asia Fields (@asiakmfields) May 30, 2020
Tensions grow as police use bikes, pepper spray to force back protesters
Seattle's protests are growing more tense as police used bikes and pepper spray against demonstrators who approached their lines.
Sgt. Lauren Truscott, a Seattle police spokeswoman, said some arrests have been made, but she said she could not provide concrete numbers, noting the total is likely to change as the day wears on.
Bike cops pushing back protesters near 4th and Olive in downtown Seattle pic.twitter.com/OLQtNat4Dw
— Asia Fields (@asiakmfields) May 30, 2020
Police are pushing protesters down fourth Ave, and pepper sprayed at least one pic.twitter.com/hMFXyP6Rsc
— Scott Greenstone (@evergreenstone) May 30, 2020
While demonstrators and police are wearing masks, it's not a scene conducive to the social distancing encouraged to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Lots of masks. Zero social distancing. pic.twitter.com/i7Wl44rKcv
— Christine Clarridge (@c_clarridge) May 30, 2020
Protests grow near Westlake Park; loud bangs heard
Demonstrations are growing near Westlake Park in downtown Seattle, where several loud bangs rang out. Protesters responded by putting their hands in the air at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street, chanting "Hands up! Don't shoot!" and "What's his name? George Floyd."
A police spokeswoman said the loud noises were not flash bangs (as an earlier version of this post reported) but were fireworks thrown by demonstrators.
Hands up! Don’t shoot, they’re saying, and What’s his name? George Floyd pic.twitter.com/TQaXK1Nj1f
— Christine Clarridge (@c_clarridge) May 30, 2020
Thousands of protesters from an earlier peaceful event at the Seattle Police Department headquarters, marched to join the 3 p.m. demonstration scheduled at Westlake.
The crowd from a higher view on Cherry and 5th Avenue pic.twitter.com/9MZN3gj4qT
— amandamsnyder (@amandamsnyder) May 30, 2020
Inslee urges 'safe and peaceful' protests, says violence will distract from 'important issues'
Gov. Jay Inslee is urging demonstrators to remain peaceful as they protest the "unjust death of George Floyd."
"Everyone has the freedom - and the right - to demonstrate and speak their mind. However, violence and destruction have no place in Washington state or our country," Inslee said in a statement Saturday.
Inslee's statement added: "The trauma inflicted on generations of people of color must be acknowledged, and more must be done to correct it. Feeling second-class in one’s own community does not make people feel safe. Insecurity hardens into anger. I fully support the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. I applaud every Washingtonian standing for what they believe in, but we must do so in a way that allows space for these important and necessary discussions, not in a way that inspires fear."
As people gather today to protest the unjust death of George Floyd, I hope they do so peacefully and safely. Everyone has the freedom - and the right - to demonstrate and speak their mind. However, violence and destruction have no place in Washington state or our country.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) May 30, 2020
"If you choose to protest today, please be safe and peaceful. These are important issues that deserve our full attention, without distraction from violence and destruction. Without solutions to inequity, the long road to justice will run even longer."
In peaceful protests in downtown Seattle, demonstrators Saturday afternoon have been voicing anger and frustration and calling for systemic change.
— Christine Clarridge (@c_clarridge) May 30, 2020
U.S. Attorney General William Barr warns against violent protests, as President Trump taunts governors and mayors
U.S. Attorney General William Barr is warning that peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd are being hijacked by groups intent on turning them violent.
In a statement Saturday, Barr said outrage over Floyd's death "is real and legitimate" and said "accountability for his death must be addressed, and is being addressed." However, Barr said, "with the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful protest are being hijacked by violent radical elements."
He said responsibility to halt violence lies with local and state leadership, but that the Department of Justice would support such efforts and "take all action necessary" to enforce federal law.
Barr's statement comes after his boss, President Donald Trump posted a series of tweets in recent days taunting governors and mayors, and cheering the idea of sending "vicious dogs" after protesters. One tweet, in which the president declared "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," was flagged by Twitter for glorifying violence.
Seattle police to review use of force during arrest at Friday night protests
The Seattle Police Department says it will review officers' use of force during Friday night's protests of the death of George Floyd.
In a statement Saturday, the SPD defended its record of monitoring hundreds of protests a year, "the vast majority without incident or arrests." The department acknowledged one forcible arrest Friday night "which received media attention" and said it would be reviewed.
"Under SPD’s policies relating to crowd management and review of force, any force that is used during the course of last night’s event will undergo a high level of scrutiny and review by the chain of command, SPD’s Force Review Board, the Office of Police Accountability, and the Office of the Inspector General," the police statement said.
The statement appeared to refer to a widely circulated video showing an officer punching and kneeing a man who was being held down on the ground, as nearby demonstrators yell "that's abuse!"
Another video of Seattle PD body slamming a protesting then giving them a ground and pound. This is major abuse. Do not let mainstream media lie to you. The cops aren’t being peaceful and inciting violence. This is America. #seattleprotest #JusticeForGeorge #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/Awj5RL7ocj
— Dae (@daeshikjr) May 30, 2020
Most of the protests Friday were peaceful. Seven arrests were made after some individuals smashed windows and threw fireworks downtown.
"The Seattle Police Department will continue to support the peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights. We will not, however, tolerate violence and property destruction. Individuals engaging in this behavior will be arrested," the police statement said.
Minnesota governor: Violent unrest is ‘no longer, in any way, about the murder of George Floyd’
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Saturday said that he was “fully” mobilizing the state’s National Guard, a first in the state’s history, saying that it was “nothing short of a blessing” that an innocent bystander has not yet been killed in unrest.
His announcement comes after protests raged across America on a brutal night in cities where people gathered to grieve and demand justice for George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody. At least 20 U.S. cities woke up to destruction and arrests Saturday morning after unrest over the death of Floyd boiled over in the Twin Cities, sparking demonstrations — some peaceful, others violent — across the country.
“Let’s be very clear, the situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd,” Walz, a Democrat, said.
The governor said he had “sensitivity to the legitimate rage and anger” that Minnesotans felt after Floyd’s death, which manifested earlier in the week with “healthy gathering of community.”
By Thursday, Walz said that peaceful protest was gone and that the destruction Friday night made a “mockery” of Floyd’s death.
Peaceful protest gets underway in downtown Seattle
Hundreds of demonstrators are gathering outside Seattle police headquarters as protests over the death of George Floyd continue Saturday. It's the first of two protests scheduled today, with a second set for 3 p.m. at Westlake Park.
Protesters chanted "I can't breathe!" to call attention to Floyd, the Black Minneapolis man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes, ignoring the man's pleas that he was suffocating. Dozens of Seattle bike cops are lined up at police headquarters as the demonstration builds.
Geneva Bolar joined her mother, Heather, the organizer of Saturday’s noon Justice for George Floyd protest, because she said a statement needs to be made.
"We are here for the Black community, for the problems they are still facing today,” said Bolar, 17, from Puyallup. “It is really sad and I hope people come together and realize that this is super important, and it is a problem that we still face today. We just all need to stand together because it doesn’t just affect the Black community."
— Christine Clarridge (@c_clarridge) May 30, 2020
— amandamsnyder (@amandamsnyder) May 30, 2020
Earlier, a group of demonstrators marched through the Lake City neighborhood, chanting "Black lives matter."
A peaceful protest march, accompanied by dozens of honking cars, is making its way through Lake City. pic.twitter.com/GxCTDyr2kS
— Lake City (@lakecitylive) May 30, 2020
Protests flare across the country and in Seattle over George Floyd's death
Protests continue to flare across the country, and in Seattle, in reaction to the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned his knee against Floyd's neck for several minutes during an arrest.
In Seattle, protests beginning Friday evening stretched into early Saturday morning in downtown Seattle, where some individuals broke windows and clashed with police, resulting in several arrests.
A demonstration began around 7 p.m. at Hing Hay Park in Seattle’s Chinatown International District with protesters speaking out against police brutality -- the first of several planned demonstrations this weekend, all sparked by the death of Floyd during his arrest on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck, ignoring his pleas for air, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Protesters moved into downtown Seattle, chanting "Black Lives Matter," "George Floyd" and "I can't breathe." A confrontation ensued with some individuals throwing fireworks, and Seattle police using pepper spray and flash bang devices to disperse crowds. Seven people were arrested Friday night, Seattle police said, on charges including an assault on an officer, failure to disperse, obstructing and resisting arrest.
In Portland, police declared a riot after some protesters broke into police headquarters and lit a fire. Blazes continued to burn early Saturday morning in multiple locations in downtown, including a building that housed a bank. Police via Twitter labeled the event a riot before midnight and closed several streets. "All persons in downtown Portland: it is not safe, it is dangerous, there is rioting, leave now."
A pair of additional protests are planned Saturday in Seattle to mourn Floyd and demand more police accountability.
One is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Westlake Center, 400 Pine St., with speakers, including community and youth leaders, pastors and politicians. The group plans to walk to the U.S. District Court building at 700 Stewart St., where there will be another round of speakers, music and poetry, according to organizer Andre Taylor,
“We can’t have officers killing people — unarmed people — and not being charged and convicted,” said Taylor, who leads the nonprofit Not This Time!, committed to reducing fatal police shootings and creating safer communities. “We need to see officers being held accountable.”
In addition to Floyd, the event, which is expected to last at least two hours, will honor Ahmaud Arbery, who was chased and fatally shot by white men in Georgia in February; Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Kentucky police officers during a “no-knock” raid of her apartment in March.
Another protest, organized by a group called Justice For George Floyd, will be held at noon Saturday at the Seattle Police Department headquarters at 610 Fifth Ave., according to the group’s Facebook page.
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