The story behind a viral video of a police takedown at Sea-Tac protest

By: Graham Johnson

Updated:

In a CNN video that went viral, Kent Thomas was in the front of the line at a protest early Sunday morning at Sea-Tac Airport, wearing a pink Planned Parenthood shirt.

Outraged by President Trump's travel ban, he arrived at Sea-Tac around midnight and documented his first protest experience on Facebook Live.

"You're now being ordered to disperse and leave the building," police are heard saying on his video.

Thomas decided to stay, risking arrest and pepper spray.

As officers moved the crowd back, pushing them toward the parking garage after several warnings, one officer pushed Thomas a few times.

Then a Renton officer grabbed him and pulled him to the floor.

Thomas said he did nothing to provoke police.

A KIRO 7 source whose job it is to hold law enforcement accountable noted how the video appears to show Thomas did nothing to provoke the response.

Renton Police say the arrest was done appropriately.

They say as an officer moved Thomas back, he pushed back, closing the distance with the officer.

Police also say Thomas apologized, afterward saying, "I should not have acted that way, I'm sorry."

"I believe the police met nonviolence with violence," Thomas said. 

Thomas was cited and released for disorderly conduct.

Five of his friends filed complaints about how police treated him.

But he is more concerned about the issue that brought him to Sea-Tac - the president's travel ban.

"People are seeing a peaceful person like me resist, maybe it will influence others to resist," Thomas said.

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