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SPD protest response criticized by city council, community police commission

SEATTLE — Anger over how Seattle police are responding to protests about police brutality was clear as the city council held a special virtual meeting Wednesday.

"We are being over-policed specifically because of the color of our skin," said Netsie Tjirongo, a protester who spoke on a panel.

Demonstrators who were on the streets last weekend say police did not give adequate warning before using tear gas and implementing the curfew.

"There was no pre-warning, and it felt like it was a setup," said Willard Jamison, who also spoke on the panel.

Police Chief Carmen Best spoke with the city council and with the community police commission.

"Not everything was perfect," Best said.

"If there was wrong, we're going to hold people accountable. That will happen, and you have my word on it," she said.

Best said officers did warn the crowd before using dispersal tactics.

"Officers were assaulted multiple times before they responded with force," Best said. "They took projectiles to the face and the body, and they were hit with fire extinguishers and concrete."

Seattle's Office of Police Accountability received thousands of use of force complaints and is investigating at least 13 incidents, including a girl who was pepper-sprayed.

The civilian director said he hopes to have the highest priority cases investigated within two months.