Editor’s note: This is a live account of updates from demonstrations and other events on Tuesday, June 9, as the day unfolded. Click here to see protest updates from Wednesday, June 10.

It has been more than two weeks since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed on May 25 by a white Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. The protests over Floyd’s death, police tactics and systemic racism continue, not just in Washington and the United States, but around the world.

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

If you’ve taken part in these protests, we’d like to hear from you: What has been your experience? What did being out there mean to you? Click here to let us know.

Live updates:

Seattle protesters begin to camp out on Capitol Hill

Seattle protesters, stocked with tarps, blankets and tents, have started to camp out in their self-declared Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone — the area near the Police Department's East Precinct at 11th Avenue and Pine Street. The hope, many protesters have said, is to turn the building into a community center.

Some remaining demonstrators continued talking and organizing donations past midnight, though the area had mostly cleared out by 2 a.m., multiple livestreams showed. Lights at the nearby Cal Anderson Park stayed on, and police were nowhere to be seen.

Organizers have spent the last couple days devoting areas surrounding the precinct to serve different purposes. One stretch of the street is dedicated to a candlelit George Floyd memorial. Another is filled with street art and spray paint. Medics set up a booth for protesters in another spot. Yet another station offers free snacks.

—Elise Takahama

Protesters settle in for movie night on Capitol Hill

By 11 p.m., multiple protest groups had congregated back near the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct on Capitol Hill — a space demonstrators are now calling the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone," or CHAZ.

Many protesters settled in around a large projector at 12th Avenue and Pine Street to watch "13th," a documentary directed by Ava DuVernay that explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the nation's criminal justice system.

DuVernay later tweeted her support of the movie night.

"Blessings and bravery to all the good people at #CHAZ tonight. Onward. xo," she said on Twitter.


—Evan Bush, Percy Allen and Elise Takahama

Seattle protesters leave City Hall to make their way back to Capitol Hill

After Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant led protesters to occupy City Hall for about an hour, the group started marching back toward the Police Department's East Precinct on Capitol Hill.

When a Seattle Times reporter asked why she brought the group into City Hall, Sawant said it was essential that the power and uprising evident in the streets be seen in the halls of power in Seattle.

In response to a question about the movement being co-opted by other messages, she said, “When you talk about Black rights, you can’t leave out the horrific gentrification in Seattle.”

“Taxing Amazon is absolutely a part of Black rights ... It’s about actually putting dollars on the table to address inequities affecting the Black community,” Sawant said.

She also addressed the lack of social distancing inside City Hall, despite the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

“It does (enhance the risk)," she said. "I don’t deny it. The rebellion is still happening. That shows you the complete failure of capitalism as a system.”

—Evan Bush

Protest group led by Kshama Sawant occupies Seattle City Hall

One group marching from Capitol Hill toward downtown — a crowd led by Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant — made its way to City Hall just before 9 p.m.

As the protesters marched inside the building, they chanted about a goal that's become more and more popular among demonstrators in the past week: to remove Mayor Jenny Durkan from office.

The crowd filled the lobby and quickly moved up the stairs. Many carried signs reading "Durkan must go."

Sawant spoke to the group about her work in fighting for the city's $15 minimum wage and the importance of building new political representation that “grabs power for ordinary people.” She also mentioned an upcoming City Council vote that would address “banning chemical weapons and chokeholds.”

After other protesters shared a few words, one man took the mic and asked the crowd to rise to their feet. He led another chant directed at Durkan: "You about to lose your job."

One speaker, Sarah Tornai, told the crowd the Black Lives Matter movement needs to be led by LGBTQIA women of color.

“This movement cannot become a movement that is led by male voices,” Tornai said. That doesn’t mean they aren’t important, she said, but “LGBTQ women of color right now need for male voices to listen.”

Tornai added that without organization and strategy, she worries the movement will fracture.

“We are up against the city of Seattle, but this is a national, global movement," she said.


—Evan Bush, Percy Allen and Elise Takahama

City of Seattle describes what it's doing to keep Capitol Hill protest area clean and safe

The city of Seattle issued a statement Tuesday describing the work different departments have done to "create (a) safe place for peaceful demonstrations." The statement called the Monday decision to take down the barricades outside the Police Department's East Precinct "an important step in the (city's) efforts to lead with de-escalation and rebuild community trust."

As of Tuesday, the statement said, the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) "has and may continue to upstaff resources near the area to ensure crews are appropriately equipped to respond to fires and medical emergencies when it’s safe to do so."

Several city departments have attempted to improve access to the area near the East Precinct in case an emergency arises, the statement said. SFD has also shared information on arson awareness and steps that businesses and residences in the area can take to prevent or protect against bonfires, dumpster fires or structure fires.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is also working to keep the area safe and clean, according to the statement.

SDOT "is picking up debris and trash, has cleaned graffiti that displayed hate, racist, and vulgar language or concepts, and has arranged for garbage cans and portable toilets to be placed in the vicinity for use by demonstrators," the statement said.

The department has also closed streets from 10th to 13th avenues on Pine Street and on 11th Avenue between Olive and Pike streets.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has cleaned or removed about 50 large commercial trash containers  or carts from the area in the last 24 hours to help support firefighters and prevent fires, the statement continued. SPU also continues to pick up trash for businesses and protesters.

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is helping clean up garbage and debris, weed and trim trees, repair damaged garden beds, remove graffiti and fix damaged fencing and bathrooms, according to the statement.

"In addition to SPR facilities, there are currently at least 12 portable toilets in the vicinity," the statement said.

The city has hired an artist to create a mural at Cal Anderson Park, and lights in the park will remain on until 4 a.m. to keep the area well-lit, the statement added.

—Elise Takahama

Capitol Hill protesters split up into at least three groups

Before Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant finished speaking at Cal Anderson Park, a small group of protesters took off to march west on Pine Street.

“Walk with us,” one woman said over the loudspeaker.

The group started heading downtown around 8:15 p.m.

Meanwhile, Sawant announced another march will proceed south on Broadway, but didn't immediately say where the group would be heading.

Another group of demonstrators remains gathered at Pine Street and 12th Avenue.

—Evan Bush

How ambiguity and a loophole undermined Seattle’s ban on tear gas during George Floyd demonstrations

At the time, it seemed like a significant concession. Mayor Jenny Durkan and police Chief Carmen Best, facing mounting criticism over the police’s heavy-handed response to protests taking place after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, took to a podium at City Hall on Friday afternoon to announce Seattle police officers would stop using tear gas.

The chief’s directive to her officers, announced a few hours after the city’s three civilian-led police watchdog groups recommended that change, meant “banning the use of tear gas for 30 days in any of these protests,” Durkan said.

There’d be only one exception, Best said: Seattle police SWAT officers would “maintain their trained ability to protect life and to end standoff situations,” upon her, or her designee’s, approval.

But a little over two days later, white clouds of tear gas billowed across the streets of Capitol Hill.

Seattle police announced their justification for breaking the supposed ban in a tweet at 12:18 a.m. Monday: “Officers are taking heavy projectiles, coming from the crowd,” said a post from the department’s official Twitter account. “A male, armed with a gun, is in the intersection of 11th and Pine ST. CS gas has been authorized.”

Some protesters and elected officials have since disputed the police account, and at least one of the city’s police watchdog groups said it understood the SWAT exception only would apply to standoff and hostage situations — not to demonstrations.

Read the full story here.

—Lewis Kamb

Protesters and ACLU sue Seattle, blame mayor and police chief for ‘unnecessary violence’ at demonstrations

A lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of Black Lives Matter activists, protesters and a journalist alleges the city of Seattle has violated the constitutional rights of people at recent demonstrations against police brutality and racism by allowing Seattle Police Department officers to deploy “unnecessary violence” in controlling and suppressing crowds.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Seattle, alleges the city deprived protesters and others of their First Amendment rights by using chemical agents such as tear gas and pepper spray, as well as projectiles such as flash-bang grenades and blast balls, to crack down on the free-speech demonstrations sparked by the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other Black people. The lawsuit also alleges the city has deprived protesters of their Fourth Amendment rights by subjecting them to excessive force.

There were no signs of violence Tuesday evening as hundreds of people again gathered on Capitol Hill, outside the Police Department’s East Precinct and nearby at Cal Anderson Park. There also were no cops in sight.

Read the full story here.

—Daniel Beekman

Seattle schools chief, School Board propose one-year suspension of partnership with Seattle Police Department

Seattle Public Schools superintendent Denise Juneau on Tuesday announced an effort to suspend the district’s partnership with the Seattle Police Department for one year, echoing the moves of several large school districts across the country.

Juneau said the Seattle School Board will consider a resolution Wednesday that would “re-evaluate our relationship with SPD and enact a district-wide one-year suspension.” Seattle School Board president Zachary DeWolf said he expects a draft of the resolution to pass tomorrow. A final vote is to occur June 24.

The partnership, started in 2008 after the shooting deaths of five teenagers, involves four armed “school emphasis officers” stationed across Seattle schools: South Shore PK-8, Aki Kurose Middle School, Denny International Middle School and Washington Middle School.

Outside the Puget Sound region, over the past week and a half, school districts across the country — including Portland Public Schools and the Minneapolis School District, located in the city where a white police officer killed George Floyd — made similar announcements.

Read the full story here.

—Dahlia Bazzaz

Councilmember Sawant repeats call to defund police, impeach Durkan

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who made an appearance among protesters on Capitol Hill Monday night, spoke to them again Tuesday during a public meeting in Cal Anderson Park.

She made a push to defund the city's police — a demand voiced by the large majority of protesters — but she reiterated that completely abolishing the department wouldn't be possible under capitalism.

"You can't have capitalism without racism," she said, quoting Malcolm X. "We need a fundamentally different society if we aim to see a society free of police. That's why I'm a socialist."

Sawant also promised to fight to tax Amazon and "other profiteering big businesses," adding that people need to "strike a blow against racist gentrification."

"It has to come from the wealthiest in our society," she said to a round of cheers from the audience.

Nikita Oliver, who has been a prominent leader at the Seattle protests, took the stage after Sawant to emphasize the need for the city to provide reparations to those who have suffered from police brutality. She also urged the movement to continue with "fire and passion."

An ironworker later stepped up to the microphone to tell the crowd a member of his union was responsible for driving into crowd Sunday night.

“My union’s leadership has been silent," he said.

He also called for the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild to be expelled from the Martin Luther King County Labor Council.

Sawant's speech to the crowd is being livestreamed by her office here.


—Percy Allen, Evan Bush and Elise Takahama

King County could make sheriff an appointed rather than elected position to increase accountability

King County would switch to an appointed rather than an elected sheriff, and the county’s Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) would be granted subpoena power to investigate the Sheriff’s Office, under two new proposals under consideration in the Metropolitan King County Council.

Both measures, which were recommended after an 18-month review, aim to increase accountability and oversight of the Sheriff’s Office. Both changes, if approved by the County Council in the coming weeks, would be placed on the November ballot for voter approval.

The County Council also unanimously passed a motion asking the Sheriff’s Office to respond, in detail, to each of 43 recommendations made by OLEO in a February review of the killing of a teenager by sheriff’s deputies in 2017. That review raised questions about the thoroughness of the internal investigation that exonerated the deputies.

“I really just want justice, I want answers to each one of those recommendations,” said Alexis Dunlap, the mother of the Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, the boy shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies in 2017.

Read the full story here.

—David Gutman

Protesters gather around Seattle Police precinct

A group of protesters has gathered at the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct in Capitol Hill.

Seattle OPA to investigate police actions in two recent events

The Seattle Office of Police Accountability is investigating two recent actions by police during protests.

One incident Monday involved police throwing several flash bangs into a medic tent, where a woman was being treated. The office will also investigate police officers' use of tear gas, which chief Carmen Best said last week would be suspended for 30 days.

—Michelle Baruchman

Seattle to withdraw legal challenge against King County's new rules for police inquests

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes announced the city will withdraw its legal challenge against King County's new rules for inquests into police killings.

In a statement, he called the procedures to investigate the circumstances when a person dies when police are involved "vague" and "leave much room for interpretation and inconsistency between inquest hearings," but said he "heard the community's call loud and clear."

Holmes also noted Pierce County has not established any procedures to investigate such deaths, including the recent killing of Manuel Ellis.

"Washington state needs a consistent statewide inquest process that is designed to provide a thorough and systematic review of officer-involved fatalities," he said.

The state Legislature, Holmes said, is the best place to create this new system.

"Every county in the state should have a modern inquest process that all members of the community consider to be transparent, accountable, fair and legitimate," he said in the statement.

Seattle mayor, police chief sued by protesters, ACLU for ‘unnecessary violence’ at demonstrations

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best have violated the constitutional rights of people at recent demonstrations against police brutality and racism by allowing Seattle Police Department officers to deploy “unnecessary violence” in controlling and suppressing crowds, says a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday on behalf of Black Lives Matter activists, protesters and a journalist.

The lawsuit against Seattle alleges that Durkan and Best have deprived protesters and others of their First Amendment rights by using chemical agents such as tear gas and pepper spray, as well as projectiles such as flash-bang grenades and blast balls, to crack down on the free-speech demonstrations sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The lawsuit also alleges the city has deprived protesters of their Fourth Amendment rights by subjecting crowds to excessive force.

“On an almost nightly basis, the SPD has indiscriminately used excessive force against protesters, legal observers, journalists, and medical personnel,” the lawsuit says. “For example, SPD has repeatedly sprayed crowds of protesters with tear gas and other chemical irritants — including as recently as (the early hours of) Monday, June 8, just days after the city pledged a 30-day moratorium on the use of tear gas.”

Durkan and Best have mostly stood by the Police Department’s actions, while blaming problems on bad-actor provocateurs mixed in with nonviolent protesters and while promising to have allegations of police misconduct thoroughly investigated.

Read the story here.

—Daniel Beekman

Watch mourners gathering for George Floyd's funeral on Tuesday

The funeral of George Floyd, whose death beneath the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis ignited worldwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice, is being held on Tuesday in Texas. Floyd, who spent most of his life living in Houston's 3rd Ward, is being laid to rest in Houston Memorial Gardens. 

Watch the service here:

—Christine Clarridge

George Floyd, whose death energized a movement, to be buried today

George Floyd will be laid to rest today in his hometown of Houston, next to his mother.

His funeral will be private. Some 6,000 people attended a public memorial service yesterday.

The world knows him through his horrific final moments. His loved ones know him as Big Floyd, a man who dreamed big, unswayed by his many setbacks. Here is the story of his life.

Catch up on the past 24 hours

Monday night stayed peaceful in Seattle.

Protesters celebrated after police began, in the chief's words, "decreasing our footprint" in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Officers removed barricades at 11th Avenue and Pine Street, clearing the way for crowds to march, and boarded up the department's East Precinct, where demonstrators gathered to list demands for change that they plan to send to public officials. The conversation turned heated at times, including when City Councilmember Kshama Sawant stepped up to the microphone.

Protesters consistently cited rumors of an appearance by a far-right group called the Proud Boys, but it never materialized.

Seattle City Council members vowed yesterday to rethink how to ensure public safety, including carving into the police budget — and some members called for the mayor to step down.

Find all our protest updates from Monday here.

Seattle-area health care workers of color are pulling double duty. They're in the hospitals and the streets, fighting the twin pandemics of coronavirus and racism. “Racism is the biggest public health crisis of our time,” one Black surgeon at UW explained during a recent march.

Snohomish's police chief has been replaced amid tension over how he handled rumors about antifa that spurred citizens to gather with semi-automatic weapons in the city's historic downtown.

The man accused of driving into a crowd of protesters and shooting a man on Capitol Hill is being held on investigation of assault. A document outlines the police case against Nikolas Fernandez in the incident, which was captured on video.

Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed restrictions on police chokeholds and the creation of an independent state body to investigate police killings, among other changes.

Who should investigate Manuel Ellis’ death at the hands of Tacoma police, and how? The state and Pierce County are divided as activists demand an independent probe.

Portland's police chief has resigned amid accusations that her department used inappropriate force against protesters.

—Kris Higginson and Elise Takahama