Seattle police broke up what participants called an “antifa soccer” game and arrested seven people Sunday in Cal Anderson Park, where the city recently cleared a homeless encampment.
One person required paramedic care during the confrontation between police and the group, as shown in photos by Matt Mitgang, who was walking in the neighborhood during the incident. The 26-year-old man, who had a medical issue, was taken to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition, said David Cuerpo, Fire Department spokesperson.
On-scene video shows several officers walking toward the soccer game, and the dispute, which occurred at about 4:30 p.m. “You all do realize the double standard here, right?” a participant tells police who arrived to remove the black-clad group, according to Instagram footage. Group members said other people have been playing in the park without being shooed out by police.
One man spit on an officer and was arrested, said police Detective Patrick Michaud. Then six people “attempted to unarrest that individual,” he wrote in an update online. A large group surrounded the officers, and more police were called in, Michaud said.
In an Instagram livestream video before any arrests were made, two police cruisers could be seen idling on the street at Cal Anderson Park driving away. The video shows a handful of people wearing all black, or “black bloc,” kicking around a soccer ball on the field, while two others hang a sign reading “Housing is the cure” on a nearby fence.
One individual began recording and yelled at the police cars that they were “profiling,” because they only showed up at the park when people in “black bloc” began to play.
“Why was it when the black bloc came out to play soccer, y’all started pulling up though. You’re profiling,” he said. “We just playing soccer. The Parks and Rec custodians told us [the park] might not even be closed.”
When the cars moved on, the person returned to the soccer field.
The Police Department’s Force Investigation Team will investigate what led to the person being taken to the hospital, the police update said. Seven people were taken from the park to King County Jail.
Sunday’s confrontation followed a clearing of the park Friday in which police ordered people living in the park to leave, while city workers removed fencing and debris. Police say they arrested 24 people, including protesters.
The park, on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, has been the site of a homeless encampment and a hub for protest activity since the former Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone that demonstrators formed following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis this spring. Protesters have called for racial justice and the defunding of the Police Department. A nearby police station remains surrounded by concrete blocks following arson attempts this summer.
While neighborhood residents have been using the park — people can be seen walking a dog in the same video while the soccer game is being played — Michaud said the park technically remains closed and officers are to enter the park and tell people inside to leave.