Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from demonstrations and other events on Sunday, June 7 as the day unfolded. 

In the Seattle area, there has been over a week of protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed on May 25 by a white Minneapolis police officer when he pressed his knee onto Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

Black Lives Matter Seattle – King County is calling for a statewide general strike and silent march on Friday, June 12, the group announced Saturday. More details on the June 12 actions are yet to come, according to the local Black Lives Matter group, which met Saturday with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to discuss police-reform demands as protests continued over police killings of Black people, including George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

Calling for an end to tactics like pepper spray and flash-bang grenades, city, county and state elected officials joined protesters Saturday night on Capitol Hill. Seattle City Councilmembers Lisa Herbold, Dan Strauss, Andrew Lewis and Teresa Mosqueda, King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay, state Sen. Joe Nguyen and state Rep. Nicole Macri, who represents Capitol Hill, joined the protest near the front line facing a line of police.

Meanwhile, at Saturday’s march beginning at Magnuson Park, demonstrators echoed demands to defund the Seattle Police Department. The rally and march took place in the northern Seattle neighborhood to honor Charleena Lyles, killed by Seattle police in 2017, and to bring attention to racial injustice in white neighborhoods, speakers said before the group left the park to march.

Throughout Sunday, on this page, we’ll post updates from Seattle Times journalists and others on the protests in the Seattle area. Updates from Saturday can be found here.

If you’ve taken part in these protests, we’d like to hear from you: What was your experience? What did being out there mean to you? Fill out this form and let us know.


Live updates:

Police use flash bangs and pepper spray after giving order to disperse

Seattle Police were using flash bangs, pepper spray and tear gas against protesters on Capitol Hill, starting at around midnight Sunday.

The police department said on Twitter that a crowd twice ordered to disperse from outside of the East Precinct on Capitol Hill started throwing bottles and other projectiles, and shining green lasers into officers' eyes.

Social media videos showed the streets filling with gas, with demonstrators running and crying out in pain.

The SPD also said there was a man with a gun on 11th Avenue and Pine Street.


At 12:40 a.m., after a barrage of flash bangs and gas, protesters were given a five-minute warning to disperse.

Earlier Sunday, Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best apologized for instances during the past week in which police officers failed to de-escalate tense moments and deployed less-than-lethal weapons against demonstrators too quickly.

But Durkan and Best also asked protesters to “do more” to quell violence within crowds and said officers would continue to barricade streets surrounding the Police Department’s East Precinct. While the city "should not look like a military zone," officers must "respond to the reality on the ground," Durkan said.


'Unreal': Man drives toward protesters, shoots one, walks through crowd and surrenders to police

A man drove a car into toward a crowd of protesters on Capitol Hill Sunday night, shot one man and walked through the crowd brandishing a gun, then approached a line of Seattle police officers, who took him into custody.

The shooting victim was tended to by protesters — one applied a tourniquet to the man's arm, a social media video showed — then medics, who then walked him to an ambulance and took him to Harborview Medical Center, where he was in stable condition, according to fire officials.

The events started at around 8:15 p.m., when a black Honda Civic raced down 11th Avenue, toward Pine Street, where hundreds of protesters were peacefully gathered in front of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct.

As the man drove toward the crowd gathered at 11th and Pine, videos showed a protester reaching into the driver’s side, apparently to stop him. The protester falls back, apparently having been shot, and those nearby go running.

The gunman then got out of the car, and waved his handgun around while protesters scattered. Wearing jeans and a black hoodie, he walked into the crowd — some unaware that he was the shooter —  and toward a line of police in riot gear, showing them that he had a gun. He was taken into the police precinct.

The events were captured on social media by both protesters and journalists who were airing live streams, including The Seattle Times.

In a video posted on Twitter by photographer Alex Garland, the shooting victim, identified as Daniel, 26, said he saw the man’s car running down Pine Street, and at a stop light, he ran over and “punched him in the face.” 

“I hear the gunshot go off in my arm,” he told Garland. “My whole thing was to protect those people, my whole thing was to protect those people down there.”

The events angered some on social media, who wondered how an armed man could have gotten so far. They said he had been treated differently than the protesters by police.


Read more here.

One shot after man drives car into Capitol Hill protesters

A man drove a car into a group of protesters on Capitol Hill Sunday night and shot a man on the street before he stopped the car, got out and brandished a gun as he walked through the crowd toward police, who took him into custody.

A 27-year-old man was shot and tended to by protesters, then medics, and taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he was declared in stable condition.

The man with the gun has been detained.

Seattle mayor, police chief apologize to nonviolent protesters met with force but say barricades are still needed

In a news conference Sunday night held as protests against police brutality again broke out on Capitol Hill, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best apologized for instances during the past week in which police officers failed to de-escalate tense moments and deployed less-than-lethal weapons against demonstrators too quickly.

But Durkan and Best also asked protesters to “do more” to quell violence within crowds, blaming "bad actors" for inciting clashes, and said officers would continue to barricade streets surrounding the Police Department’s East Precinct. While the city "should not look like a military zone," officers must "respond to the reality on the ground," Durkan said.

The mayor said she would freeze spending on police technology, weapons, vehicles and buildings until more dialogue with community members, and she promised to identify $100 million in budget allocations for community needs.

That money won’t necessarily come from reductions to the Police Department’s budget, however, she said. Some protesters have demanded that up to half of the Police Department's $400 million-plus annual budget be redirected.

Asked about Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant calling for Durkan to resign, the mayor said she wouldn't be "distracted by political ploys." Best left before the event ended to deal with another chaotic scene near the East Precinct.

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

—Daniel Beekman

BREAKING: Man drives car at protest crowd, waves gun, is detained

Rainier Beach protest draws huge, peaceful crowd; Sawant repeats call to impeach Durkan

Sunday's protest and march in Rainier Valley, which began at Othello Playground and drew thousands of protesters, made its way to a Safeway parking lot in Rainier Beach in the early evening, where a huge crowd continued to listen to impassioned speeches.

Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant repeated her vow to use the articles of impeachment to oust Mayor Jenny Durkan. Another speaker asked that people “excuse Black folks if we’re tired, but we’ve lost track of the actual count of Black bodies that have been lost to white supremacy.”

And another speaker ended his time “with the wise words of Kendrick Lamar,” and then played a song for the crowd.

Elected officials pledge support for police demilitarization, ask Seattle mayor to de-escalate protests

More than two dozen local elected officials sent a letter Sunday to Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best calling on them “to take urgent and sustained action to de-escalate the police tactics” being deployed during ongoing protests against police killings of Black people and institutional racism.

The letter says the officials, including four Seattle City Council members, three King County Council members and numerous state lawmakers, are concerned “that the response of the Seattle Police Department is escalating the conflict in the streets of Seattle” by using excessive force.

“We firmly request that you direct SPD to change their tactics,” says the letter signed by Seattle Council President M. Lorena González and Seattle Councilmembers Teresa Mosqueda, Tammy Morales and Lisa Herbold, among others.

“It is well-documented that peaceful protests are being targeted by law enforcement and turned into violent conflict … Deploying police in riot gear to form a wall of officers positioned against peaceful protestors is not conducive to de-escalation and healing."

More Seattle council members may sign the letter Monday; only up to four can coordinate outside a public meeting.

Sunday’s letter also says the officials will work on certain policies related to demands brought forward by Black-led community movements. Few details are mentioned.

“We pledge to advance and support policies,” the letter says, “that 1) de-militarize the police 2) further restrict use of excessive or deadly force by police 3) increase accountability and transparency in police union contracts 4) give subpoena and other investigative powers to independent oversight boards and 5) redirect police department funding to community-based alternatives.”

The letter doesn’t call on Mayor Jenny Durkan to resign, as Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant did Saturday. 

Read the letter here.

—Daniel Beekman

Watch Capitol Hill protests live via Seattle Times photographers

Thousands have gathered in Rainier Beach, and are listening to speakers, including one who said this:

Protests continue on Capitol Hill

While thousands of people continue to march in South Seattle, other demonstrators are back on Capitol Hill on Sunday. Police had boarded up the windows at the East Precinct, and installed sturdier barricades that Chief Carmen Best said could help avoid confrontations between police and protesters over the barricades being moved.

Meanwhile, hundreds chanted "Defund SPD." At another point, they kneeled in the street.

—Jim Brunner

Seattle police chief announces efforts to 'modulate' protest response

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said in a brief media appearance Sunday that the police department is making various changes to "modulate" its response during tense interactions between protesters and police outside the department's East Precinct on Capitol Hill.

Although the department has ordered a temporary ban on the use of tear gas, officers again used pepper spray and flash-bang grenades against protesters Saturday night at the barricade at the East Pine Street and 11th Avenue. Police said that after warning protesters to stop moving the barricade, people in the group threw rocks, bottles and incendiary devices at the officers. Six officers were injured, including two who were taken to Harborview Medical Center, Best said.

"We really want to meet peace with peace," Best said. But officers have to protect police, law-enforcement facilities and other demonstrators from potential "bad actors" in the crowd, she said.

The department is installing a different barricade that she said will be less likely to be moved. In addition, the department is boarding up windows at the East Precinct and moving many of its resources off Pine Street and into police facilities, so there's less visibility of police on the street. Best said the goal was to make the scene feel less "militarized." She said the department is also speaking with people in the community about whether they can help communicate requests from the police to the crowd.

"My own family has been right here at 11th and Pine demonstrating and expressing their free-speech rights," Best said. "I want to make sure that everyone who comes is respected and treated fairly."


—Diana Samuels, Jim Brunner

Protesters fill Othello Park to kick off Sunday's South Seattle demonstration

On Sunday afternoon, the crowd at the "We Want to Live: March for Black Lives and to End Violence" covered the entirety of the playground at Othello Park, likely more than  1,000 people.

Organizers started the march by separating the crowd, saying they were parting the red sea. They had young people and some of the speakers come through with a banner. With their fists up, they began their walk on Rainier Avenue.


—Dahlia Bazzaz


Seattle police union president warns of 'tenuous situation' in open letter to Durkan

In an open letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan, the president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) this weekend expressed concern over what he describes as a “tenuous situation” on Capitol Hill. Following another night of clashes between protesters and the Seattle Police Department at 11th Avenue and Pine Street, guild President Mike Solan said he is concerned for the officers' safety, blaming “a group of criminal agitators” for instigating confrontations.

According to a post on the Seattle police blotter, two officers were treated at Harborview Medical Center for injuries sustained during an incident that took place around 7 p.m. Saturday at the police barrier established at the intersection. Police say they used pepper spray and blast balls to disperse the crowd after bottles, rocks and “incendiary devices” were thrown over the barrier separating the police and the protesters. A photo provided by the Police Department of the devices thrown showed what appeared to be a candle.

Since the demonstrations began, protesters have frequently accused Seattle police of provoking altercations at the barricade separating them from police. On Saturday night, Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda also accused police of using excessive force. A video that surfaced online appears to show officers attempting to move the crowd back away from the fence line.

“The situation is becoming more untenable by the day and I fear law and order and SPOG members' safety are in peril,” Solan wrote in the letter dated June 6. “As president of SPOG, I have the responsibility to protect the working conditions of my members and it is also my sworn duty to protect the lives and property of our citizens. You have the responsibility for the overall safety and wellbeing of Seattle's citizens as you are the executive officer. It is our hope that we can begin to work as a team to solve this public safety crisis because at this point, I'm extremely worried about the safety and morale of the SPOG membership and our community's safety.”

Solan also took issue with the 30-day ban on using tear gas as a way to disperse crowds, arguing that the temporarily prohibition may lead to more physical confrontations between police and protesters.

“We must develop a plan or this will continue without end,” Solan wrote.

Mayor Durkan has not yet commented on the Saturday night incident or Solan's letter, which you can read in its entirety here.

'A long time coming': Iconic Lee statue in Virginia to be removed

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — David Harris Jr., a nephew of humanitarian and tennis legend Arthur Ashe, tried for decades to get a street named after his uncle in Richmond, the hometown that once denied Ashe access to segregated public tennis courts.

Finally, in 2019, the city council approved the renaming over the objections of some residents. So it was gratifying, Harris said, to see Virginia's governor announce plans to remove an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee after days of protests over the death of George Floyd.

“My hat is off to them for getting this done," Harris said Friday. “It took me 25 years to get the street name changed. I commend these young folks for getting these guys to see it within a week and a half.”

In recent days, amid an extraordinary outpouring of grief over Floyd's death, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has pledged to remove the Lee statue, while city leaders have also committed to taking down the other four Confederate memorials along Richmond's prestigious Monument Avenue.

The changes amount to a reshaping of how one of America's most historic cities tells its story in its public spaces — and a rethinking of whom it glorifies.

“It’s been a long time coming. ... We’ve tried marches, petitions, protests, going to city council" to get the Confederate monuments removed, said Phil Wilayto, a longtime community organizer and activist with the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality. “And it took what is in effect a mass uprising of the community to say these things are not acceptable.”

Read the full story here.

—The Associated Press

‘Again? Really?’ Families who’ve lost loved ones to police violence find George Floyd case painfully familiar

Alexis Dunlap and her daughter had joined the throngs last weekend at Seattle’s Westlake Plaza to protest the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer. They were fleeing the choking tear gas, she said, when she looked up to see the woman next to her holding a sign bearing a picture of her son, Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, a 17-year-old shot and killed by police three years ago.

“I thought, ‘That’s my baby,'” she said. “I thought, ‘That’s why I’m here.'”

Even before her son was killed, Dunlap had been seething at the injustice of it all. She recalls that the videotaped shooting and death of Philando Castile in Minnesota in July 2016 had infuriated her. “I wanted to do something,” she said. “I wanted to run out into the street. I thought everybody should be mad.”

Six months later, her own child would die in a hail of police gunfire. She and her ex-husband, Frank Gittens, were told Chance had shot at the deputies — it wasn’t true, although the department held to that story for more than two years. As it turns out, the boy had been shot four times in the back running away from a botched, and as it turned out, misguided attempt by deputies to arrest another teenager for a crime he did not commit.

As people across the nation have filled the streets to protest Floyd’s death, Dunlap-Gittens’ family and the families of other Black people killed by police have found themselves swarmed by traumatic reminders of their own lost loved ones — a grim catalog of injustices that were seldom met with demonstrations or public calls for change.

Read the full story here.

—Mike Carter

History of racism, police brutality and a pandemic led to an ‘extraordinary moment’

The sustained demonstrations to protest systemic racial injustice and the killings of George FloydBreonna Taylor, Tony McDade and scores of other Black people over decades by police have brought thousands into the streets every day across the nation and beyond for nearly two weeks. Curfews were enacted across the country, demonstrators were tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets, and the National Guard was called into Seattle for the first time in 20 years.

Floyd was killed May 25 in Minneapolis after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, causing his heart to stop, the medical examiner said. All four officers involved now face charges in the killing.

Floyd’s death may have been the breaking point, but pressure has built up for decades.

To understand the unprecedented moment we’re in, activists, organizers and scholars are looking back at its historic underpinnings, parsing the dynamics of the moment and envisioning where it might take us next.

Read more here.

—Naomi Ishisaka

Black Lives Matter group in Seattle meets with Mayor Durkan, calls for general strike and march

Black Lives Matter Seattle – King County is calling for a statewide general strike and silent march on Friday, June 12, the group announced Saturday.

“We’re calling on everyone in Washington state who is able to be there. If you can’t march in Seattle, organize one in your community,” board member Ebony Miranda said in a video news conference, asking people to participate despite the COVID-19 crisis.

“Anti-blackness is a greater threat to our survival, and racism in itself is its own pandemic. It’s killing us. We’re fighting to survive and thrive.”

The local Black Lives Matter group previously had cautioned protesters about COVID-19 risks.

More details on the June 12 actions are yet to come, according to the group, which met Saturday with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to discuss police-reform demands as protests continued over police killings of Black people, including George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

Read more here.

—Daniel Beekman and Evan Bush

The death of George Floyd and demands for changed attitudes toward race and changed approaches toward policing were marked in the Seattle area Saturday at iconic spots ranging from the Space Needle to Pike Place Market, and by thousands of demonstrators — in the morning by health care workers at Harborview Medical Center and at night on the lush green of Magnuson Park, with an event honoring the life of a mother fatally shot by police in her home three years ago.

But as night fell, the calls for change again zeroed in on the Seattle Police Department and its handling of the week’s protests. After officers used blast balls and pepper spray at about 7:30 p.m. to disperse a crowd on Capitol Hill — a day after an announced 30-day ban on tear gas — several elected officials showed up to issue their own kind of protest: De-escalate now, they urged.

Read the full story here.

—Brendan Kiley, Melissa Hellmann and Heidi Groover

Seattle Police Department confirms officers used blast balls and pepper spray during Capitol Hill protest

The Seattle Police Department confirmed its officers used blast balls and pepper spray after ordering protesters to disperse outside the department's East Precinct on Capitol Hill on Saturday evening.

Several officers were hurt shortly after 7:30 p.m., and two officers were taken to Harborview Medical Center with unspecified injuries, according to the department.

According to the police department, a scene commander warned protesters at 11th Avenue and East Pine Street to stop pushing barriers, and then some people "began throwing bottles, rocks and incendiary devices" at officers. A photo provided by the police department of the devices thrown showed what appeared to be a candle.

Read more here.

—Paige Cornwell