SEATTLE — Nearly four dozen people were arrested, and more than 55 officers were injured Saturday after protests turned violent with trailers set on fire, windows at businesses smashed, cars damaged, and explosive devices thrown at police.
During a media briefing with Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, she said Saturday’s protest was not a peaceful demonstration at all, and many people were put at risk. She described the path that rioters took.
What started with thousands of people gathering peacefully Saturday afternoon in Capitol Hill in solidarity with the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in Portland changed later in the day.
The group met at Seattle Central College at East Pine Street and Broadway at around 1 p.m. before starting their march and loudly making their message heard to defund SPD.
Things shifted at about 4 p.m.
During the march, Seattle police said about a dozen people devolved into a rampage of destruction as they marched past the King County Youth Detention Center at 12th Avenue and Alder Street, targeting the site.
Some rioters carried sledgehammers and began shattering workers’ car windows in the parking lot.
At one point, a rioter grabbed a flagger’s stop sign and used it as a weapon.
At the same time, a row of construction trailers next door on 12th Avenue were firebombed after some rioters scaled a fence.
The site used to be where the old juvenile detention center stood, but KIRO 7 was told workers at the site were building a parking lot.
Fire crews responded and reported that five construction trailers were on fire. They were destroyed.
King County youth detention officer Daryl Breaux saw her SUV’s smashed windows and slashed tires. Her fellow workers were overcome with emotion seeing the damage to every worker’s car.
“I didn’t deserve this, OK! I’m a hardworking individual, college-educated young lady, Black lady at that! Born and raised in Seattle!” she said.
When she saw her co-workers’ cars also destroyed, Breaux wondered what the point was when county leaders had already committed to closing the facility in five years.
The destruction did not end there. A Starbucks was destroyed five blocks up 12th Avenue at Columbia Street.
Everything outside and inside the Starbucks appeared to be shattered, mangled and looted. Even nearby parking pay stations were destroyed.
Seattle police said some protesters spray-painted the East Precinct at 12th and Pine Street, tried to disable cameras and caused damage after someone breached a fence line.
Moments after the breach, a device exploded, leaving an 8-inch hole in the side of the precinct, according to police.
Because of the ongoing damage and violence, police declared a riot.
Police said a telephone pole at 11th and Pine Street was set on fire, and they continued to receive reports about broken windows and damage on Capitol Hill.
A crowd threw rocks, bottles and mortars at officers during the protests, according to police.
During the violent protests, 59 officers were injured on Capitol Hill, including one who suffered a leg injury caused by an explosive device, authorities said. Most were treated for their injuries and returned to work.
KIRO 7 caught the simmering tension between protesters and police on camera, including police taking down a demonstrator who tried to tear off an officer’s helmet.
Police said they used less-lethal tools to disperse crowds, including OC spray, blast balls and 40 mm sponge rounds, but did not deploy tear gas.
During the riot, police made arrests for assault on officers, obstruction and failure to disperse. They reported that 47 arrests were made due to the riots.
See below Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, along with Fire Chief Harold Scoggins and King County Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht briefing on today’s protests that turned violent.
Cox Media Group