Seattle police limited property damage and made ten arrests during May Day 2014.
While police anticipated the day’s large, permitted afternoon labor and immigration rally—organized by El Comite—would be peaceful, they’d seen indications that other evening protest events planned on Capitol Hill and the Central District could draw potentially destructive crowds.
In the lead up to May Day, police had seen threatening posters, with messages like “the only good cop is a dead cop,” as well as photos posted on social media of a burnt and battered SPD officer-shaped piñata. In anticipation of a hostile crowd during the evening events, SPD ensured there would be a substantial police presence in the city, even calling in officers from other jurisdictions for assistance.
The first reports of May Day-related vandalism began trickling in Thursday morning after officers found “Kill SPD” spray painted on a bank at 13th Avenue and E. Madison Street. Officers received reports, and found, an Anarchist symbol painted on a car dealership and “smash this” on the window of a restaurant, both at 12th and Madison. All three locations were tagged with the same white paint sometime early Thursday morning.
The rest of the day went peacefully. Police had no issues during the afternoon El Comite march, until a second unpermitted protest group gathered at Seattle Central Community College at Broadway and Pine around 6:30 PM. The group began marching toward the Youth Service Center (YSC) at 12th and Alder in the Central District, but police prevented the group from entering the YSC property.
The crowd circled the Central District and then downtown for about three hours, before moving back up to Broadway and Pine Street. There, officers worked to corral the large group, which lit dumpsters on fire and hurled bottles, bricks and firecrackers at officers throughout the night.
Police made a total of ten arrests throughout the night:
- A a 22-year-old man for property damage in the 1500 block of Broadway.
- A 23-year-old man for assaulting an officer at 6th Ave and Battery Street—officers also recovered a gun on the man during the arrest.
- An 18-year-old man for malicious mischief at 6th and Virginia Street, where he damaged at least one vehicle.
- A 22-year-old man arrested for obstruction at 5th and Virginia.
- A 17-year-old man arrested for property damage at 6th and Pine.
- A 37-year-old man arrested for assault at Broadway and Pine.
- A 21-year-old man arrested for assault at Broadway and Pine
- A 19-year-old arrested for assault at Broadway and Pine
- A 20-year-old man arrested for assault at Broadway and E Olive.
- And a 17-year-old man arrested for obstruction at Broadway and Pine.
Seattle police are still reviewing reports from the evening but only recorded one use of OC spray, deployed during the arrest at 6th and Battery where officers seized a firearm during an arrest.
The department’s Force Investigation Team was activated and available during the event, but was not needed.