Weekend protests in Seattle after Breonna Taylor police killing decision
Protests for racial justice have been ongoing for more than 100 days in Seattle, and the most recent demonstrations come after the decision in Kentucky not to charge police officers with the killing of Breonna Taylor.
Protesters marched in Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle over the weekend. Police Chief Adrian Diaz said the protest was marked by “relentless violence, mayhem, and illegal behavior,” while protesters said that police continue to use excessive force.
Police admitted to using blast balls this weekend, a tactic that sent a young protester into cardiac arrest earlier this summer. The young woman died three times, according to her doctor.
A lawsuit filed by protesters details a range of wounds suffered from Seattle Police’s crowd control weapons (such as blast balls), including shattered bones, contusions, chemical burns, concussions, and temporary blindness among other injuries.
KUOW has also reported on a woman who was blinded, a child who was caught in the cross-hairs of tear gas, and people who have reported reproductive irregularities, potentially as a result of tear gas.
During a protest last week, a police officer wheeled his bike over the head of a protester, Camillo Massagli, who was lying in the street. That officer has been placed on administrative leave and the city's Office of Police Accountability is investigating. The incident has also been forwarded to the King County Sheriff's Office for a potential criminal investigation.
A protester struck an officer in the head with an object in that same protest; this was caught on a livestream. Chief Diaz said that it was a metal bat and that he believes the officer would have suffered a critical or deadly wound if they were not wearing a helmet.
The protesters’ lawsuit charges Seattle and Washington state with neglect that has led to dangerous conditions during protests, as well as for wrongful injuries and the wrongful death of Summer Taylor in July.
Different groups of protesters have held demonstrations in Seattle, but common goals include reducing police funding and reinvesting that money in community-based alternatives to policing. The Seattle City Council has moved forward with cuts to SPD, though far less than a 50% cut that many activists are calling for. The Council has said that the recent cuts are a "down payment" and more action is coming.