SPD officer blasted in face with explosive during riot feels ‘isolated’

SEATTLE — For the first time Tuesday, KIRO 7 heard from a Seattle police officer hit in the face with explosives in Sunday's riot.

Officer Adam Fowler says officers aren't just facing physical injuries in their jobs and he feels targeted by rioters and City Hall.

Given the resignation of chief Carmen Best and effort to defund the department, he says morale in the department is low.

“I think there’s a lot of emotions that I haven’t been able to digest and to fully comprehend yet,” said Fowler.

Fowler says injuries to his eye and his face, caused by the blast of a powerful improvised explosive, will eventually heal, but he’s concerned about the increasing trauma faced by his fellow officers.

He says officers feel isolated and unsupported as they defend city property from rioters’ intent on injury and destruction.

“These aren’t tiny fireworks. They’re not fireworks. These are commercial-grade mortars. These are things that should be launched up hundreds of feet in the air,” said Fowler.

Police say rioters tried to set fire to a police car, directing their rage at the police union building Sunday night. The union president believes the group of more than 100 would have burned the building down if officers didn't take a stand. Fowler said officers were hit with rocks, bottles and explosives.

“The only thing I could see was a bright flash and then a loud bang and what felt like a hammer hitting me in the face,” said Fowler.

Fowler said in that instant, he thought he’d lost an eye.

“I’ve been in a lot of these protests, but I haven’t been hit where I might seriously lose part of my body – something that might affect my ability to do my job, to effectively take care of my family – that’s really hard,” he said.

Fowler said deeper than the threat of physical injury, which is part of the job, is the painful feeling of having a historically low level of support and confidence from leaders in the city he serves.

“What’s wearing is the current political climate in Seattle. It’s just I feel isolated, I feel like the police department is on their own in this city, and that’s a daunting feeling and a heavy weight, a heavy burden to carry and you feel alone in it,” said Fowler.

Fowler is not the only one who is upset with the Seattle City Council.

On Tuesday, the president of the police union, Mike Solan, expressed serious frustrations as well.