King County Sheriff directs deputies to follow judge’s orders issued to SPD

KING COUNTY, Wash. — King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht has directed her deputies to follow the orders issued by a federal district judge, which bars Seattle police from using tear gas and other chemical agents on peaceful protesters for 14 days.

>>RELATED: King County Sheriff’s Office posts use-of-force data

The temporary restraining order also prevents officers from using “OC” spray, also known as pepper spray, and “any projectile such as and including flash-bang grenades, ‘pepper balls,’ ‘blast balls,’ rubber bullets, and foam-tip projectiles.”

The order however does not prevent officers from “taking necessary, reasonable, proportional, and targeted action to protect against a specific imminent threat of physical harm to themselves or identifiable others or to respond to specific acts of violence or destruction of property.”

Johanknecht said in part, “It is my hope that our agency will not find it necessary to even consider the use of chemical irritants or projectiles. If it is necessary, it will be under the circumstances outlined by the court and only initiated with my approval.”

A Black Lives Matter group sued the Seattle police to halt the tactics it has used to break up largely peaceful protests in recent days.

In response to the judge’s temporary restraining order, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County released this statement:

“As tens of thousands of people were gathering today to march silently and in solidarity against police brutality and misconduct, the U.S. District Court affirmed their right to protest, free from state violence. That is a victory for today. Black Lives Matter demands a justice system that works for us every day. A legal system grounded in racism can never deliver equal treatment. We take this victory and we keep fighting, we keep marching, we keep assembling to demand the seismic changes that are necessary to rid our justice system of institutional racism.”