Cleanup begins after Bellevue protests lead to violence, vandalism

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Cleanup is underway in Bellevue on Monday morning after buildings were damaged and stores were looted during protests on Sunday.

Though a civil emergency was declared in the city and a 12-hour curfew was put in place on Sunday starting at 5:30 p.m., it didn’t stop dozens of people from looting stores at Bellevue Square while others protested the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer a week ago.

Police said some of the protesters broke windows, damaged property and threw objects at officers.

Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett described the situation.

"I had rocks thrown at me. A rock, almost a brick, missed my head by this much. And that’s common. They’re throwing bottles. They’re throwing anything they can get their hands on. Then, they run,” said Mylett.

A spokesperson for the police department said they learned Saturday night that “known gang members” were planning to come to Bellevue to cause chaos.

As the curfew expired Monday morning, several busloads of the National Guard arrived across the street from Bellevue Square as businesses began to board up their windows after people smashed their way through.

Every door and window on the entire Macy’s storefront on Bellevue Way is boarded up. Windows at the Cheesecake Factory were shattered and boards are being placed where glass used to be.

Shards of glass and piles of hangers litter the street outside stores where people broke in and left with armloads of stolen clothes.

Though numerous stores at Bellevue Square were badly damaged, they were not the only ones that were looted and vandalized.

A few blocks away, J Lewis Jewelry & Appraisals on Northeast 12th Street was also hit by thieves. The store windows were shattered and glass display cases inside were destroyed so looters could access the jewelry inside.

Workers are now sweeping up glass and dealing with the aftermath.