by: Chris Legeros Updated:
SEATTLE - Seattle Police Department Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh said he's "very proud" of the way his officers handled May Day demonstrators.
Seventeen arrests were made during sometimes violent protests.
A task force will examine cellphone video and news media coverage to try to identify others who vandalized businesses and threw rocks and bottles at police.
McDonagh praised the bike patrol for being on the front lines. He said most of the eight officers who suffered bumps and bruises were on bikes.
The department believes its use of force was appropriate and restrained.
McDonagh said planning was better this year, so were communications within the department. He said blast balls and pepper powder were used when necessary to get the crowd's attention and to drive people in an easterly direction towards Capitol Hill. That way they had more opportunities to disperse onto different streets as they moved away from the downtown area.
The police revealed that some of the protesters arrested last night were involved in last year's May Day riot.
One group was spotted boarding a van after demonstrations and heading south on Interstate 5 -- evidence, police said, of some protesters coming from outside Seattle specifically to incite violence here.