Five officers were injured and nine people were arrested Sunday during an anti-capitalist march through downtown Seattle and SODO. This march is not to be confused with the Seattle March for Workers and Immigration Rights, a peaceful event attended by thousands of people earlier in the day.
Around 6 PM, a group of self-described anti-capitalists huddled in Westlake Park. Officers could see the crowd had a collection of rocks and spray-paint, and were carrying wooden poles similar to those used in previous years to smash windows and commit other property damage.
As the group marched out of Westlake Park, Seattle police provided an escort to block traffic on downtown streets. Almost immediately, masked members of the group threw rocks, bottles, Roman candles and other items at officers, residences and businesses.
Shortly after 7 PM, police determined the march had become an imminent risk to public safety, and issued a dispersal order, requiring members of the group to leave the area.
Bike officers directed the group south on 4th Ave, eventually containing the crowd in a large and mostly-empty parking lot. After making several arrests in the lot, police released small groups of marchers throughout the evening to ensure no further property damage or significant disruptions to Seattle residents.
Three officers were treated by medics Sunday evening. One officer was bitten in the arm while arresting a suspect who attempted to assault him. One officer was hit by a Molotov cocktail, while another was struck in the face by a rock thrown from the crowd. Two other officers sustained minor injuries and did not require hospitalization.
Police are documenting property damage caused by demonstrators, but have received reports that three cars were vandalized near 2nd Ave and Bell St. Windows were shattered at two businesses—a coffee shop at 4th Ave and Pine St and a bank at 2nd Ave and Cherry St—and a window at a residential building at 4th Ave and Virginia St. was reportedly damaged by a Roman candle fired from the crowd.
The Seattle Police Department is working with federal, state and regional law enforcement partners to identify, investigate, and bring charges against dangerous individuals who caused injuries and damage during yesterday’s events.
All force used by officers during the evening will be thoroughly reviewed, as per department policies developed in partnership with the United States Department of Justice.
“The Seattle March for Workers and Immigration Rights yesterday was a great example of people coming together and expressing their First Amendment rights,” said Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “Unfortunately, individuals during a second evening march engaged in behavior that caused injuries and damage to property. While we made as many arrests as we safely could, we will not tolerate acts of violence against people or property. SPD has created a task force that will work in collaboration with the FBI, ATF and local partners to seek out and arrest additional persons for crimes committed during the evening march and we will work to pursue federal charges and or local charges as appropriate.”