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Seattle Protests for Civil Rights
caption: A crowd gathers around the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct building at the intersection of 12th Avenue and East Pine Street on Saturday, June 13, 2020, inside the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, CHAZ, or Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, CHOP, in Seattle. 
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A crowd gathers around the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct building at the intersection of 12th Avenue and East Pine Street on Saturday, June 13, 2020, inside the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, CHAZ, or Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, CHOP, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Updates: Protests for racial justice in Seattle area (June 1-14)

This post is archived. Read the latest here.

Demonstrations and protests continue in Western Washington. What to know:

Read previous updates from over the weekend here.

SUNDAY, JUNE 14

Seattle Police Chief: "policing will have to change"

3:59 p.m. -- As demonstrators continue to call for massive police reform, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said Sunday that she realizes that policing will have to change.

She made the comments on the CBS News Sunday show, Face the Nation.

“We’re going to change in policing, we have to. It has to be a movement that involves everybody. We need to re-imagine and re-figure out, if you will, how we’re going to move forward as a country and as an organization to make things for everybody," Best told moderator Margaret Brennan.

The chief said she attended Friday’s silent Black Lives Matter demonstration in Seattle and had “an epiphany” when she saw the 60-thousand marchers.

“And I was looking at the 60-thousand people that were there. Signs saying “defund the police” and “stop police brutality”, “no qualified immunity”, and there were thousands of people carrying those particular signs. And I just realized, it was a moment, an epiphany, that this is pivotal moment in history. We are going to move in a different direction. Policing will never be the same as it was before," she said.

She declined to offer an opinion about whether police officers should be personally liable for their actions while on the job--a legal doctrine called “qualified immunity”.

Best said that decision should be handled by lawmakers and the public.

- Derek Wang

SATURDAY, JUNE 13

Hundreds gather for Seattle Children's March

1:35 p.m -- Several hundred parents and children gather at Garfield High School to listen to speeches before beginning a peaceful march in honor of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. The march will proceed a little under a mile through the Central District and end at the King County Youth Detention Center.

Participants are demanding an end to police brutality and systemic racism in the United States. The march was inspired by the The Birmingham Children’s Crusade of 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama where African American children used non-violent protest in an effort to end segregation in the south.

caption: Thousands gather at Garfield High School to begin peaceful march in honor of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.
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Thousands gather at Garfield High School to begin peaceful march in honor of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Credit: Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

-- Anna Boiko-Weyrauch and Jim Gates

FRIDAY, JUNE 12

Thousands march despite rain

4:30 p.m. -- Organized by the Black Lives Matter Seattle - King County chapter, organizers called for a number of things from city officials, including divesting $100 million from the police department budget and using that money for community investment programs.

KUOW editor Liz Jones stood a mile from the start and said a half-hour after the front of the crowd passed, people at the back still had not left Judkins Park.

caption: Marchers approach South College Street as they proceed on 23rd Avenue South. The silent protest organized by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County drew thousands.
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Marchers approach South College Street as they proceed on 23rd Avenue South. The silent protest organized by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County drew thousands.
Credit: KUOW photo/Liz Jones
23 S Judkins Ns
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Credit: Seattle Department of Transportation

Through the rain, they made their way silently, with signs condemning racism and police brutality.

Kal Eshete of Federal Way was among the demonstrators and said the march was the first that she attended since the protests across the nation started.

“I hope it will change the laws that are too protective towards the cops. I feel like they’re over-protected by the law and I hope we can change some of that so things like this don’t happen again," she said.

-- Gil Aegerter, Esmy Jimenez, Liz Jones and Amy Radil

Judge restricts Seattle police use of tear gas, pepper spray

2:30 p.m. -- A federal judge has just prohibited the use of chemicals or projectiles against peaceful protesters in Seattle.

That includes tear gas, pepper spray, and flash bang grenades.

The ban comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, the ACLU of Washington and other groups.

But the order from U.S. District Judge Richard Jones does allow exceptions in the face of a specific imminent threat.

--Amy Radil

Tacoma woman in court

12:30 p.m. -- A Tacoma woman arrested for allegedly setting police vehicles on fire in downtown Seattle will be in court Friday afternoon.

Federal agents arrested the woman on Thursday. She is accused of setting five police vehicles on fire during one of the early protests in downtown. The Department of Justice says cameras near 6th and Pine caught her turning an aerosol can into a blowtorch on May 30.

Agents also noticed tattoos on her hand and linked them to other social media photos to further identify her. She is facing five counts of arson and will appear before the U.S. District court in Seattle around 1 p.m.

--Angela King

From protest to street fair

12:20 p.m. -- Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant is calling for the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone to remain in the hands of the community.

Demonstrators took over around six blocks of Capitol Hill near the East Precinct on Tuesday and some say they plan to stay put until the city cuts the police budget in half.

Last night, Sawant told the crowd there that she will create legislation to turn the nearby police precinct into a community center for restorative justice.

The area has remained peaceful and festive Thursday evening as it continued to grow with button-making stations, food tents, craft areas, dance battles, and art projects.

--Casey Martin

Durkan pushes back against Trump over the CHAZ

12:15 p.m. -- Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is pushing back against President Trump’s comments about the “autonomous zone” set up by protesters on Capitol Hill.

But she's yet to outline how the city plans to respond.

President Trump urged Durkan to “take back” the blocks around the East Precinct. And critics accuse Seattle police of feeding Trump’s narrative with baseless rumors of crime and extortion there. Durkan said the area is simply the site of potlucks and teach-ins right now. But she said she doesn’t support protesters’ demands to defund the police.

“I do not think it is responsible to suggest that we will cut 50% of our officers," Durkan said. "We need to make sure that we change the focus so when people call 911 they don’t necessarily have a police officer show up."

SPD wants to return to the East Precinct. Protesters have called for it to become a community center.

--Amy Radil

Tear gas lawsuit: The baby 'started coughing and was turning red'

11 a.m. --A federal judge heard arguments today in a lawsuit over the use of tear gas by Seattle police during the protests on Capitol Hill.

A document filed in support of the lawsuit recounts the experience of a couple living in a fourth-floor apartment overlooking Pike Street between 11th and 12th Avenues.

Daniel Azoulai says in the declaration that he and his wife were forced to flee with their baby after tear gas fired by police drifted into the apartment.

“I immediately had trouble breathing and was coughing. My wife was also coughing,” Azoulai says.

He says their 3-month-old son, Nadav, also was badly affected, and they all have continued to have troubles – even after deep cleaning their apartment when they were able to return several days later.

The lawsuit, filed by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, the ACLU and other groups, asks the judge to issue a temporary restraining order preventing Seattle police from using tear gas during the protests.

Police argue that the use of tear gas can keep confrontations from escalating.

You can read Azoulai’s declaration below:

-- Amy Radil and Gil Aegerter

Starbucks allows employees to wear Black Lives Matter clothing

8 a.m. -- Starbucks now says its employees can wear clothing that highlights the Black Lives Matter movement. Starbucks will even be making shirts with a new design that includes the phrases "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice, No Peace."

Those will be available to those who work in company-owned stores.

Starbucks became lightning rod for racial justice issues in 2018 after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia location for sitting down without placing an order.

--Kim Shepard

Statewide marches, businesses closed Friday in support of Black lives

12 .a.m. -- More than 25 marches and gatherings are scheduled throughout the day Friday, from Pullman to Wenatchee to Orcas Island.

Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County called for this day of action “to honor lives lost and send a powerful message that Washingtonians no longer tolerate the racism that is built into so many of our institutions.”

In Seattle, a silent march will start at Judkins Park at 1 p.m. and end at Jefferson Park on Beacon Hill. A children’s march is also scheduled for noon Saturday, beginning at Garfield High School.

A growing list of restaurants and businesses have also announced they’ll close on Friday in support. Here are a few who’ve posted on social media as they join the strike:

From Kirkland Bicycle: "In solidarity with the Seattle-King County chapter of Black Lives Matter, Kirkland Bicycle will be closed this Friday to provide space for our staff and customers to participate in the statewide general strike and march."

From Northwest Yarns in Bellingham: “In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County General Strike, Northwest Yarns will be closed Friday, 6/12.”

In Tacoma, Cannabis retailer Mary Mart wrote that it’s closing “to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County in response to their statewide request.”

From ZUM Fitness in Seattle: "This is a time for us to reflect, listen, educate ourselves and stand in solidarity with this important movement. ZUM will not be conducting "business as usual" this Friday. Instead, we are providing the space for our team to consider how we can each contribute to positive change in our community."

--Liz Jones

THURSDAY, JUNE 11

King County Metro ends bus service to transport police to protests

8:30 p.m. -- “While we are grateful to Metro Transit Police and other law enforcement partners for continuing to keep our passengers and employees safe, it is not appropriate for a transit agency to deliver high numbers of law enforcement officers to a demonstration or protest,” Metro General Manager Rob Gannon said Thursday in an online statement.

As the Seattle protests escalated in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, Metro provided out-of-services buses to transport officers who were responding. The officers included Metro Transit Police, the Seattle Police Department, the police departments of nearby jurisdictions, and the Washington State Patrol.

“However, our conversations and reflections in recent days remind us of the role that law enforcement has played historically in our nation and continues to represent for many within the communities we are most called to serve,” Gannon wrote.

He continued: “At Metro, we are guided by King County’s Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan...and we are dedicated to dismantling racism. We redoubled that commitment following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others by police.”

Under the policy change, Metro said it would still potentially assist with police transportation requests when public safety demanded, such as after an earthquake.

--Liz Jones

Mayor Durkan defends the CHAZ, but future unclear

4:30 p.m. -- Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is pushing back against President Trump’s alarm at the “autonomous zone” set up by protesters on Capitol Hill. But she hasn’t yet laid out how the city plans to respond.

President Trump urged Durkan to “take back” the blocks around the East Precinct. And critics accuse Seattle police of feeding Trump’s narrative with baseless rumors of crime and extortion there. Durkan said the area is simply the site of potlucks and teach-ins right now.

But she said she doesn’t support protesters’ demands to de-fund the police. “I do not think it is responsible to suggest that we will cut 50 percent of our officers," she said. "We need to make sure that we change the focus so when people call 911, they don’t necessarily have a police officer show up."

SPD wants to return to the East Precinct; protesters have called for it to become a community center.

-- Amy Radil

Hundreds demonstrate at Washington state Capitol

3:32 p.m. -- Declaring that “Black Lives Matter,” several hundred people gathered on the steps of the Washington Capitol Thursday to rally for police reform and racial justice.

Helen Saddler of the Federal Way ministry “Into His Chambers” led the crowd in chant. She also invoked the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

“We can no longer sit around and watch them put our foot on our necks. We’re telling them we can’t breathe and you’re deciding how much breathe, how much air we get. No more,” she told the crowd.

Speakers also called for justice for Manny Ellis who died in March after a violent encounter with Tacoma police. A rally organizer says she wants the Tacoma police chief removed and a statewide requirement that police wear body cameras.

-- Austin Jenkins

Tacoma woman arrested for setting fire to police cars

3 p.m. --

The CHAZ gets its own website

1:55 p.m. -- Activists in the CHAZ have started a website for the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, which provides photos and live streams from the area.

The website features an extensive list of demands from "the people who freed Capitol Hill," including the abolition of police, and federal investigations into past and current cases of police brutality in Seattle.

Police Chief Best returns to the East Precinct

1:30 p.m. -- Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best returned to the East Precinct on Capitol Hill Thursday (June 11) for the first time since the building was closed amid protests over racial injustice.

"There is some damage and it clearly is a mess around here so we need to do a lot of cleanup," she said.

Police have said they want to talk with the protesters and eventually move back into the space. But Best says that's not imminent.

"We just came into the building to look at it. That's all we are doing, we're not reoccupying, we're not doing anything more. I'm the police chief, it's a police facility. I came in to walk in and look at it and I certainly should be able to do that."

Best earlier told her officers in a video that it wasn't her choice to leave the building on Monday after days of tense confrontations during protests. She said other city officials had made the decision.

--Gil Aegerter

BLM silent march on Friday, June 12

10:45 a.m. -- Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County has called for a statewide day of action on Friday, June 12.

They've planned a silent march to "honor and mourn the lives lost to police brutality and institutional racism." It starts at 1 p.m. at Judkins Park

Participants are being asked to wear masks, bring hand sanitizer, and to maintain social distancing.

And for those who can't go to the march, they're calling on them to participate in a general strike by not going to work or even working from home.

--Angela King

Petition for UW to sever ties with SPD

11:30 a.m. -- Hundreds of students and faculty have signed a petition that calls on the University of Washington to sever ties with Seattle police, even though the university doesn't have a formal relationship with the department.

According to the Seattle Times, the petition calls for the university to stop handing people detained by campus police over into Seattle police custody.

They're also asking for UW police to be disarmed, to stop using police dogs, and to commit to not hiring cops with prior disciplinary records.

--Kim Shepard

Chief Best sends message to Seattle police officers

11 a.m. -- Saying that she understands that her comments could be leaked to the public (and that she doesn't care), Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best released a video statement Thursday. Her message was aimed at police officers.

Emphasizing that the Seattle Police Department is a family, Chief Best made a few points in her video:

  • It was not her decision to remove police from the East Precinct. She is angry about how events unfolded. She said they received credible threats that anti-government groups were aiming to destroy the building.
  • Officers in front of the East Precinct were struck with projectiles, threatened, and injured during protests.
  • They have heard that there are now armed people patrolling the streets around the CHAZ (the area around the East Precinct); she repeated that police have heard reports that people who are armed are requesting that businesses pay them for their protection.

Others on social media have countered information coming from police about conditions in the CHAZ, arguing that there are no fees required of anyone.

--Dyer Oxley

Peaceful, but armed guards at entrance to the CHAZ

10 a.m. -- KUOW Reporter Casey Martin spent Wednesday evening walking around the CHAZ. He reports that the mood was generally peaceful, though there are armed guards for the area that surrounds the East Precinct.

Much of the streets, sidewalks, and building facades have been marked up with chalk and paint, spreading various messages. A band plays in the street, along with other street art performances.

Outdoor movies even play after the sun goes down.

--Casey Martin

Durkan, Inslee tweet back at Trump

9 a.m. -- Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan are firing back at President Trump after he recently tweeted that he will take control of the city of Seattle if officials don't stop (the tweet said stoop) what he calls anarchists or domestic terrorists.

--Casey Martin

Durkan, Inslee tweet back at Trump

9 a.m. -- Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan are firing back at President Trump after he recently tweeted that he will take control of the city of Seattle if officials don't stop (the tweet said stoop) what he calls anarchists or domestic terrorists.

In response:

--Angela King

"Black Lives Matter" painted on Capitol Hill street

8:30 a.m. -- Demonstrators in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood painted the words "Black Lives Matter" in giant white letters on Pine Street between 10th and 11th Avenue Wednesday night. The same has been done in places like Washington, D.C. and Sacramento.

--Angela King

Washington senator pushes for Justice in Policing Act

8 a.m. -- Washington US Senator Patty Murray was on the Senate floor this morning, encouraging her colleagues to support the "Justice in Policing Act."

It includes a long list of reforms, including banning choke holds and creating a national registry of police misconduct.

"I don't think Senators Harris, or Booker, or any of us co-sponsoring this bill think it's a panacea or a solution to all of the longstanding problems the last few weeks have laid bare," she said. "But this is action we can take starting now to begin ensuring justice and accountability in our laws and in our law enforcement, and hopefully put us on a path that begins to heal our nation's deep wounds.

A group of Senate Republicans are crafting their own plan for police reform. It includes grants to increase recruiting of black officers and penalties for officers who fail to turn on their body cameras during serious incidents.

--Kim Shepard

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10

Durkan and Trump trade jabs about "autonomous zone"

9 p.m. -- President Trump took aim at local officials for allowing an impromptu area Seattle protesters have blocked off and dubbed the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, " or CHAZ for short.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan promptly shot back for the president to "go back to his bunker."

Washington Governor Jay Inslee later tweeted his response: "A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state’s business. “Stoop” tweeting."

During a press conference earlier in the day, Inslee was asked about developments in the autonomous zone and replied "that's news to me."

The zone is an area of several blocks that demonstrators have taken over for teach-ins and open protest space, following a week-long standoff with police outside the neighborhood precinct.

Seattle City Council commences SPD budget “inquest”

8 p.m. -- The Seattle Police Department’s $409 million budget is getting a hard look amidst criticism of its response to on-gong demonstrations.

With many community members calling to de-fund SPD, Seattle City Council members say they will look to other cities -- and to community members -- as they seek dramatic changes in law enforcement spending.

Council staff told the Select Budget Committee Wednesday that 77 percent of the existing SPD budget goes to pay salaries and benefits of sworn personnel. With the economic downturn, SPD is seeing less turnover and has met its hiring goals, they said.

Council members say one of their first priorities is to restrict SPD spending on the chemical agents and gear used against demonstrators in recent days. SPD said it spends about $40,000 on crowd control devices per year.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold said she also wants to know how much officers earned for working during citywide protests against racism and police brutality. “We’ve also asked for the number of officers deployed in recent protests, a breakout of how much overtime has been used, and how much in overtime SPD expects to spend this year," she said.

SPD has budgeted $30m in overtime for the year; the amount claimed during the protests isn’t available yet.

Next Wednesday, Select Budget Committee Chair Teresa Mosqueda said the committee plans to “highlight and hear from cities that moved or are moving to more community-based policing strategies,” and to review Mayor Durkan’s “rebalanced” budget, reflecting shortfalls from the coronavirus pandemic

-- Amy Radil

Updates on the investigation into Manuel Ellis' death

6 p.m. -- The case of Manuel Ellis, a Black man who was killed by Tacoma police, is now getting an independent investigation.

This comes after Ellis’ family has been calling on state and local officials to do so, since March.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Governor Jay Inslee said, "We are now working to determine who will conduct the state’s independent investigation and who will make any potential charging decisions."

His office says the Attorney General could appoint a Special Counsel to lead the investigation.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mary Robnett cancelled a briefing with the Pierce County Sheriff’s office that was scheduled today, after learning a Sheriff Deputy was on scene during Ellis' death.

-- Esmy Jimenez

Amazon puts hold on police using its facial recognition software

3 p.m. -- In a brief June 10 statement, Amazon announced it will place a one year hold on allowing police agencies to use Rekognition, its facial recognition software. There are certain exceptions, however.

According to the statement:

We’re implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Amazon’s facial recognition technology. We will continue to allow organizations like Thorn, the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Marinus Analytics to use Amazon Rekognition to help rescue human trafficking victims and reunite missing children with their families.

We’ve advocated that governments should put in place stronger regulations to govern the ethical use of facial recognition technology, and in recent days, Congress appears ready to take on this challenge. We hope this one-year moratorium might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules, and we stand ready to help if requested.

Amazon has received criticism in the past over allowing police to use its software.

--Dyer Oxley

Dog barks and door slams punctuate district court hearing on the use of “excessive force” by police at Seattle protests

1:30 p.m. --Oral arguments have been scheduled in a lawsuit over the use of “excessive force” by police at Seattle protests. Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, the ACLU and other groups brought the suit.

Plaintiffs want Seattle police to stop using tear gas, flashbang grenades and similar crowd control devices. They also asked for a declaration that the city has committed constitutional violations.

Wednesday's 1:30 p.m. hearing was held by conference call due to Covid-19 concerns. But not everyone on the call muted their phones despite repeated requests by U.S. District Court Judge Richard A. Jones.

As a result the hearing was punctuated by the sounds of a dog barking, doors slamming, and at one point what may have been a burrito being ordered.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs David Perez asked for a quick ruling, saying more large protests are planned for Seattle this coming Friday, June 12.

Judge Jones set oral arguments for Friday at 9 a.m.

--David Hyde

Seattle PD comments on protester barricades on Capitol Hill

1 p.m. -- Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette held a press briefing in front of the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct Wednesday afternoon.

Nollette said that while there are efforts to maintain peaceful demonstrations on Capitol Hill, police are hearing from some residents that they are being subjected to barricades set up by protesters, with armed individuals guarding them as checkpoints into the neighborhood.

"While they have a constitutionally protected right to bear arms, and Washington is an open carry state, there is no legal right for those arms to be used to intimidate community members," Nollette said. "If someone feels threatened or intimidated, we ask that they call 911 to report the incident."

"No one at these checkpoints has the legal authority to demand identification from anyone ... we have heard anecdotally reports from citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area. This is the crime or extortion," she said, again encouraging people to report such incidents to 911.

Since police took down their barricades, some protesters have blocked off part of Capitol Hill in an area they call "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone." New barricades mark the entrance to the "CHAZ."

Within hours, the CHAZ had its own Wikipedia entry, but the website has flagged it for possible deletion. The entry states that the area is a "de facto anarchist region," and that "The entrance of the Zone's territory is marked by a barrier reading 'You Are Entering Free Capitol Hill,' an homage to Northern Ireland's Free Derry. Other signs declared 'You are now leaving the USA.'"

Outside Nollette's statement, KUOW has not confirmed reports of guns at the site or allegations of extortion. There are a handful of local social media posts that refer to firearms. Most online discussion appears to be from people who heard rumors about it.

Nollette further said that police are attempting to locate protest organizers to develop a plan moving forward, allowing them to better respond to 911 calls.

Nollette said that police took down their barricades on Capitol Hill on Monday in an effort to support peaceful demonstrations near the East Precinct. She also noted that there were several threats to burn down the East Precinct, which is why the building was boarded up. The Seattle Fire Department advised city officials that any fire could spread to neighboring residential buildings and businesses that are connected to the precinct facility.

She said that SPD would like to fully return to the precinct to improve police response times in the area. The area is still being patrolled by officers who are only responding to priority one calls. The police department is therefore attempting to locate leaders of the demonstrations on Capitol Hill to develop a plan for moving forward.

--Dyer Oxley


Olympia council votes to nix tear gas

7:56 a.m. -- The Olympia City Council has voted to ban the use of chemical weapons on crowds in response to the recent protests.

The Olympia Police Department has used chemical agents such as tear gas, pepper spray, and pepper balls on more than one occasion as part of its response to nightly demonstrations against racial injustice in downtown Olympia.

Public health officials have said that things like tear gas and pepper spray can lead to coughing and wheezing which can further spread Covid-19 among protesters.

The new policy approved Tuesday evening goes into effect immediately and will last until Washington reaches Phase 4 of the state's Safe Start Plan.

--Angela King

"Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone"

7:50 a.m. -- Since police left the area around the East Precinct on Monday, activists in Capitol Hill have dubbed the area the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone."

Roads around 11th and Pine are closed to traffic. Small food co-ops have sprung up. And no police in sight anywhere.

Everything remained peaceful Tuesday night as activists rallied into the early morning. People say they plan to occupy the space long term.

--Casey Martin

TUESDAY, JUNE 9

Sawant, protesters fill City Hall following Capitol Hill rally

10:07 p.m. -- Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant on Tuesday evening held a rally at Cal Anderson Park, before leading a march and impromptu community forum at City Hall.

Sawant echoed three key demands that have been set forth by local advocates amid the protests:

  • Cut funding for the Seattle Police Department by at least 50%;
  • Dedicate more of the city's resources to health and social services;
  • Release any protesters in custody without filing charges.

Sawant called the police department's decision to stand down the night before as protesters peacefully marched to the East Precinct "a victory."

The precinct has become a symbol of contention between demonstrators and officers, who have repeatedly deployed tear gas, pepper spray, and flashbangs against protesters.

"We must not underestimate what has happened here," Sawant said to a crowd of thousands gathered at Cal Anderson Park. "The East Precinct is not just any precinct — it was the flagship of the Seattle Police Department. And it has now been taken away from them."

Sawant called for the precinct to be converted into a restorative justice community center. She also cited numerous police killings by the Seattle Police Department since 2011, and pointed to the lack of prosecution resulting from any of those cases.

"This is an uprising against racism, against police violence, against mass incarceration, against a rotten political establishment, and against a rotten system of capitalism," she said.

Sawant said she is drafting legislation that would ban police from using chemical weapons like tear gas, and outlaw the use of chokeholds to subdue people being taken into custody. Those proposals are slated to be introduced on Monday, June 15.

Additionally, Sawant has pledged to bring forth legislation to cut funding for the Seattle Police Department "very soon."

—Liz Brazile

Seattle sued for “excessive force” by police at protests

7:15 p.m. -- Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington have sued to stop the city of Seattle's use of tear gas, flashbang grenades, and similar crowd-control devices against protesters.

Despite her asthma and spinal disability, Navy veteran Abie Ekenezar of Renton has been protesting police violence day after day in Tacoma and in Seattle.

“I did not fight for my country so that my son and my friends were afraid to be who they were in this world,” she said.

While protests in Tacoma have been peaceful, several Seattle protests have turned chaotic. Seattle Police have used tear gas, pepper spray and flash-bang grenades to disperse crowds.

“Seeing people around you choking, you're choking yourself because people who you thought were supposed to protect you are fighting you,” Ekenezar, a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, said.

Mayor Jenny Durkan declared a 30-day moratorium on tear gas on Friday, but police were using it again before the weekend was through.

In response to the lawsuit, Durkan spokesperson Kamaria Hightower said in an email that the city can and must do better on crowd management. She did not commit to specific changes.

“The City will protect every individual’s First Amendment right to safely protest their government and demand action,” Hightower wrote.

Some Seattle City Council members are calling for police funding to be cut in half.

-- John Ryan

Capitol Hill gunman, driver held for investigation; fundraiser for injured man

9:45 a.m. -- The man accused of driving his car into a crowd of protesters on Capitol Hill on Sunday, then shooting one of them, is being held for investigation of first-degree assault.

A judge set his bail at $150,000.

Read more details here.

Court papers show he claimed he was afraid for his life when people surrounded his car. He said he opened fire when a man reached in through the driver's-side window.

That man, identified as Daniel Gregory, was shot in the arm and is expected to recover from his injury.

A GoFundMe page setup for the victim raised $213,440 as of Tuesday afternoon, from more than 7,000 people.

Health experts urge protesters to quarantine for 14 days

9:30 a.m. -- As demonstrations continue around the Seattle region, state health officials are encouraging participants to self-quarantine at home for 14 days to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

This is especially the case for those who weren’t able to socially distance or didn’t wear a mask at the events.

There are now more than 24,000 confirmed cases across Washington state and more than 11,060 deaths.

Anyone with even mild Covid-like symptoms is now urged to get tested.

--Angela King

Portland police chief resigns

9:15 a.m. -- Portland’s police chief Jami Resch resigned on Monday, just six months into her job.

An African American lieutenant on the force has replaced her.

The shakeup came as police have been sharply criticized for using what has been called inappropriate force against some protesters as huge demonstrations continue in Portland.

--Kim Shepard

Gov. Inslee talks police reform

9 a.m. -- Governor Inslee says people across the state are “crying out for justice” and the time has come for police reform. The governor opened his news conference Monday by showing pictures of people demonstrating across the state from Seattle to Spokane.

“To the protesters, I want you to know this. I hear you. Black lives matter.”

Inslee described the protests as a cry for justice.

“And these footsteps in the streets, I think and I hope, are footsteps in history that can provoke us in taking big strides to fight against the systemic racism that has afflicted our communities for decades.”

To that end, Inslee is convening a task force to make recommendations to the Legislature on police reform. As part of that effort, Inslee wants to ban police chokeholds and create a system whereby the state could investigate and prosecute cases where police kill or seriously injury someone.

In a statement, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs says: “While we feel we have done a lot to improve the policing profession, we know there is still more work – hard work – to be done to create meaningful, lasting change.”

--Austin Jenkins

Ellis family speaks on CNN

8:45 a.m. -- The family of the black man killed by Tacoma police spoke on national TV Monday morning.

"Me personally, I would like them to receive the death penalty because they carelessly took my brother's life. They took my brother from me. And for that, they need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.]

Monet Carter-Mixon spoke on CNN about her brother Manuel Ellis, who was killed by Tacoma police in March. The medical examiner says Ellis died from respiratory arrest after being restrained by police.

His mother, Marcia Carter, tells CNN she doesn't believe Tacoma police when they say her son attacked the officers first.

"I knew from the beginning, my son did not hit a police officer," she said. "He would never do that. Like Monet said, they were taught to be respectful to authoritative figures."

The four officers involved are on leave while the Pierce County Sheriff's Department investigates.

The county prosecutor is set to get the result Wednesday. Ellis' family is demanding an independent state investigation.

--Kim Shepard

Seattle police union calls on city to release video from protests

8:30 a.m. -- The Seattle Police Officer's Guild -- the city's police union -- is defending its members against claims that they're instigating violence against protesters.

That's what some city council members and other elected officials say is going on. But now the union is asking the city to release footage that allegedly shows officers being physically attacked.

"Our people are being hit with projectiles, rocks, explosive devices that injure them. I've had a close friend of mine almost lose his right eye," said Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild.

Solan claims that city officials are withholding video evidence taken outside the East Precinct where demonstrators have held nightly protests.

He's calling on the city to release the footage to the media and to the public.

--David Hyde

Protest organizer says more work is ahead

8:15 a.m. -- One protest organizer in Seattle says that progress made this month are just a start. Willard Jimerson Junior is a social justice advocate and host of the podcast Good Game Alert.

He says policy changes on using tear gas and body cameras are great, but adds much more needs to be done to end systemic racism.

"We will know when we're closer when red-lining really stops, when gentrification comes to a halt, when these institutionalized racist strategies and oppressive systems before to reverse," he said.

People protesting in Seattle are calling for a number of changes, including demilitarizing the police, reducing SPs budget, and putting more money into serving Black and Brown communities.

So far, Mayor Jenny Durkan has committed a $100 million investment toward that work.

--Paige Browning

Protest continues after police retreat from Capitol Hill streets

8 a.m. -- Seattle police left the East Precinct in Capitol Hill Monday night, abandoning the line that blocked off the street and faced off with protesters -- leaving only Black Lives Matter activists in the street.

The sounds of peaceful protesters were heard near Cal Anderson Park Monday. With no law enforcement present at 11th and Pine, people rallied outside the boarded-up precinct and shared what police reforms they want to see.

Road blocks have closed the area down to traffic and activists plan to be back out Tuesday afternoon.

"This is an exercise in trust and de-escalation," Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said Monday as the barriers were removed.

But Best says people are still working inside the precinct and they've not abandoned the facility.

The move came after police used tear gas and flash bangs on demonstrators over the weekend. On Sunday night, only trained SWAT members were allowed to use the gas, even though there's a ban on using tear gas in the city. Chief Best said that life-threatening conditions prompted their use of the gas to disperse the crowd.

Before pulling officers back, police covered the East Precinct building with fire retardant, boarded it up, and placed a fence around it.

--Casey Martin and Angela King

MONDAY, JUNE 8

With police gone, Capitol Hill demonstration takes on new energy

10 p.m. -- Tonight, the mood has lifted on the nightly demonstrations near the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct

This comes after a week of tense, nightly standoffs between demonstrators and a fortified line of police in riot gear, often backed by National Guard troops. Many of those nights ended with protesters throwing objects at police, then police responding with pepper spray, flash bang grenades - and occasionally tear gas.

Tonight, the police line has moved out. The precinct windows are boarded up. Over the PA system, protest organizers called for a peaceful gathering and reiterated the overall goal: to defund the Seattle Police Department.

Still, the festive mood in the crowd tonight reflects a small victory.

caption: Demonstrators in Capitol Hill on Monday, June 8, 2020.
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Demonstrators in Capitol Hill on Monday, June 8, 2020.
Credit: Liz Jones

--Liz Jones, Casey Martin

Barricade near Seattle's East Precinct to be removed

4:41 p.m. -- The Seattle Police Department announced Monday afternoon that the barricade near the East Precinct--where officers have used pepper spray, tear gas and flash bang grenades on demonstrators in recent days--would be removed.

During a press briefing Police Chief Carmen Best said SPD would be trying something new.

“We’re not going to evacuate or abandon the East Precinct. We will be hardening the East Precinct facility by boarding up the exterior windows, and applying fire retardant to the building exterior and installing fencing,” she said.

Best said demonstrators should be able to walk freely around Capitol Hill. “This is an exercise in trust and de-escalation,” she said.

The change comes after more than a thousand complaints about the police response to the mostly peaceful demonstrations. SPD has said officers have had to use pepper spray, tear gas and flash bangs because demonstrators had hurled bottles, rocks and used incendiary devices against police.

Many people are also calling for defunding the department.

-- Esmy Jimenez

Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee calls for police reforms, praises demonstrations as "footsteps in history"

4:18 p.m. -- Washington Governor Jay Inslee says people across the state are “crying out for justice” and that the time has come for police reform. The Democrat made his comments at a news conference Monday.

Governor Inslee opened his news conference by showing pictures of people demonstrating across the state from Seattle to Spokane.

“To the protesters, I want you to know this. I hear you. Black lives matter,” he said. " “And these footsteps in the streets, I think and I hope, are footsteps in history that can provoke us in taking big strides to fight against the systemic racism that has afflicted our communities for decades.”

To that end, Inslee is convening a task force to make recommendations to the Legislature on police reform. As part of that effort, Inslee wants to ban police chokeholds. He also wants the Legislature to create a state investigative unit to independently review cases where police kill or seriously injure someone. And he’s proposing to pass a law requiring police officers to report misconduct by fellow officers.

In a statement, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs says: “While we feel we have done a lot to improve the policing profession, we know there is still more work – hard work – to be done to create meaningful, lasting change.”

-- Austin Jenkins

Suspected shooter in Seattle's Sunday night demonstration identified

2:30 p.m. -- The shooter at the protest on Capitol Hill last night has been identified as Nikolas Alexander Fernandez, 31. He is a resident of Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood.

Fernandez had a first appearance today after his arrest Sunday night. His bail was lowered to $150,000 from $200,000 after his family spoke about his community ties and their inability to pay bond.

He will appear in court again at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10.

On Sunday night, Fernandez drove his car toward the protest, shot a protester, 27-year-old Daniel Gregory, and then ran toward the police line.

Fernandez was holding a gun with a magazine attached.

"I just had to shoot someone; they tried to jack my car," he yelled to the crowd. The gun was unholstered on the passenger seat, he said.

He later told an officer that he feared for his life when Gregory dove in through the driver's side window, grabbing his steering wheel.

Gregory, however, told police that the car was barreling toward the protesters at increasing speed -- 40 to 50 miles per hour.

Gregory described Fernandez's driving as "insane," according to a police report.

In court, his defense said that he was en route to look for a second job.

--Isolde Raftery

Seattle Council members call for changes to policing and city leadership

Read Councilmember Mosqueda's full remarks here.

10:20 a.m. -- At the Seattle City Council's morning briefing Monday, council members expressed disfavor for the recent actions of police against protesters. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said that Mayor Jenny Durkan should ask herself if she should resign.

“Across this country, people are asking for a change,” Mosqueda said. “And here in Seattle we have the opportunity for true progressive leadership; we have headed in the opposite direction.”

Calling it a serious crisis in the street, Mosqueda said calls for changes to Seattle policing have gone unanswered for decades. And while some progress has been made, residents still do not feel safe from their police.

Mosqueda said she is launching an inquest into the Seattle Police Department budget, which will be part of council budget discussions in July. She said she is in favor of defunding the police department, ideally at 50%. She would refocus the money for housing options, transit, and other ways to help vulnerable populations.

“Our police department, as we’ve seen last night, and the night before, and the night before that, is using weapons of war on our own residents,” she said, noting that they are hearing stories from residents who live three stories high and are unable to breath from the tear gas in the area.

Councilmember Lorena González added that tear gas has been used at the US-Mexico border as families were torn apart.

"That tear gas that was used by the Trump administration at the US-Mexico border is the same tar gas we are using on Capitol Hill .... I am just mad that we cannot seem to appreciate the fact that this isn't other people's problem. This is our problem ... These tactics that are used on Capitol Hill are tactics that are prohibited in other countries."

"Racism exist in Seattle, and if you don't think racism exist in Seattle, you are wrong," she said.

Councilmember Debora Juarez offered a slightly different opinion than her colleagues. She is not for setting a blanket figure for defunding the police without first looking at specifics and knowing where the money goes. She is wary of people turning against each other amid the current chaos with a "if you are not with me, you are against me" attitude.

“Less policing shows less violence …" she said.

“Over the weekend I got over a dozen calls from small businesses on Capitol Hill who are heartbroken, heartbroken, that their businesses were destroyed. I think that is part of the equation, part of the spectrum."

"When I hear people say there are just a few bad apples on the police force, I adamantly disagree with that. It’s just not a healthy tree. We need to plant a new tree … I do agree with the principles of defunding, that we have to take out some of that money and put it in places for our black and brown brothers and sisters."

--Dyer Oxley

Seattle officials to modify police response

9:30 a.m. -- Seattle's mayor and police chief continue to adjust the police response to protesters, and respond to their demands.

In the latest move, Mayor Jenny Durkan says the city will reduce the amount of officers at the Capitol Hill protest site. She says the police barrier fences will remain, in interest of public safety.

Durkan has also committed to giving $100 million to community programs for Black youth and adults.

On Monday, Durkan will sign an order requiring officers turn on their body cameras during demonstrations. This has been a demand of some protesters. Others, including the ACLU, worry about the repercussions of police recording the public.

--Paige Browning

Police Chief Carmen Best comments on incident with car, and use of tear gas

9 a.m. -- Speaking with MSNBC, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best commented on the incidents which occurred on Sunday.

Explaining how a man drove a car into a crowd of demonstrators on Capitol Hill, then pulled out a gun and shot one victim, Best said that a motive has not yet been determined. But she said that the action seemed intentional.

“There were a lot of people out there. It is very difficult to say that this person didn’t see the large crowd of people, literally in the thousands, when he drove his vehicle straight into that crowd. It did not appear to be any mechanical issues with the vehicle. Once stopped, the suspect pulled out a gun and fired at the victim."

“I haven’t personally interviewed him, but it would not appear that this was random, or accidental.”

Best also commented on the use of tear gas early Monday morning. Use of the chemical agent has been banned in Seattle, unless under life-threatening situations. Some demonstrators argue that there was no such provocation for police to respond to when the gas was deployed. One of those critics was Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who was in the crowd at the time.

“The crowd dictated those actions," Best said on MSNBC. "I will tell you that it is not the entire crowd. We have a lot of people who come out nightly to protest and demonstrate peacefully. But there is an element of the crowd that is showing up, and is there specifically to incite violence, to target police officers, and to target the precinct. At some point they were yelling ‘Burn it down,’ talking about our police precinct. We took rocks, we took bottles. Following on the heels of the shooting … there was another man wandering around the crowd with a gun. It was a very volatile situation. The barricade that we had put up to protect our facilities, and to make sure we kept both demonstrators and police safe, was torn down, ripped apart and many of the people that were there to do ill and harm, started advancing on the officers. We tried to use as much constraint as possible. In fact, the demonstrators, the ones that were there to do harm, got within 2-3 feet, face-to-face with the officers and then rocks and bottle began flying. We could not have another incident where somebody else was shot in the city of Seattle. So yes, it was definitely a life safety issue."

State will conduct independent review into Manuel Ellis' death

8:30 a.m. -- Washington Governor Jay Inslee has announced the state will conduct an independent review into the death of Manuel Ellis at the hands of police in Tacoma in March. But his decision to wait until after the local investigation is complete has drawn a sharp rebuke from Pierce County Prosecutor Mary Robnett.

Governor Inslee says the Washington State Patrol will review the investigation by the Pierce County Sheriff’s office into Manuel Ellis’s death to ensure it was full and fair. Then, after the prosecutor decides whether charges are warranted against the officers in the case, Inslee plans to have the Attorney General’s Office review that decision to determine if state charges are justified.

Shortly after Inslee announced his plan, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards said she was “deeply grateful.” But Pierce County Prosecutor Mary Robnett blasted the governor’s approach as a mistake. She’s urging a concurrent investigation by the attorney general.

“Why wait,” Robnett asked in a statement. “The Ellis family wants answers and the greater community has great interest in the case.”

The governor's office responded to Robnett's criticism Friday night, saying it understands her position, but that a concurrent investigation could be interpreted as lacking the "strict ... independence the situation deserves."

Ellis died from lack of oxygen after being restrained by Tacoma police. His death has been ruled a homicide.

--Austin Jenkins

WSP conducting formal review of lieutenant's statements caught on video

8:15 a.m. -- The Washington State Patrol confirms it is conducting a formal review of an incident that happened during a protest in Seattle last week.

In a video that’s been seen more than a million-and-a-half times, a lieutenant with the patrol says, “Don’t kill them, but hit them hard” before his team pushes back protesters.

Previously, the Washington State Patrol apologized for the lieutenant’s “poor choice of words” and said the matter was being investigated. Now a spokesperson confirms the patrol’s Office of Professional Standards is reviewing the incident. The spokesperson said the lieutenant was preparing his team before executing what’s called a push maneuver where a crowd is pushed back by officers in riot gear. While not excusing the lieutenant’s language, the spokesperson said it was not meant literally. He added that the push maneuver that followed the video was done with precision and in accordance with training standards.

--Austin Jenkins

Council members take part in demonstrations

8 a.m. -- Some elected officials joined crowds of demonstrators in Seattle over the weekend, including City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda on Capitol Hill Saturday night.

"I just left my baby who was sleeping to come out here, to stand in solidarity," Mosqueda said on an Instragram video posted by King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay. "Because other people’s babies are dying at the hands of the police."

Protesters say police used pepper spray and rubber bullets on them. Police say people in the crowd near the East Precinct threw rocks and other objects at officers.

--Gil Aegerter

Police authorize tear gas to disperse crowd on Capitol Hill

12:30 a.m. -- On Capitol Hill, tensions mounted through the night Sunday between demonstrators and police. The crowd has continued to gather for several nights near the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct at 11th and Pine, and again, on this 10th day of protests in Seattle for Black lives, the police responded with force.

By 10 p.m., Seattle Police said they’d made multiple announcements for the crowd to move back.

Just after midnight, SPD said the situation escalated, and officers used pepper spray and blast balls to drive back the crowd.

caption: Seattle Police respond to Black Lives Matter demonstrators on Capitol Hill around midnight on Sunday, June 7.
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Seattle Police respond to Black Lives Matter demonstrators on Capitol Hill around midnight on Sunday, June 7.
Credit: Megan Farmer

Soon after, SPD said tear gas was authorized and the streets filled with smoke as officers advanced.

Demonstrators could be heard yelling and running for cover.

KUOW video shows a smaller crowd later regrouped farther away from the police barricade line.

store/5a04b90636ef0ff11a9cba62ba615c66_mp4-thumb-00001.png Video Icon 23 secs
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Black Lives Matter demonstrators face off with Seattle Police in Capitol Hill around midnight on Sunday, June 7.
Credit: Megan Farmer

--Liz Jones & Megan Farmer

SUNDAY, JUNE 7

9 p.m.: Car drives into Seattle protest; driver jumps out and brandishes weapon

A car sped into protesters on Sunday evening in Seattle on Capitol Hill, just before 9 p.m.

One man, a 27-year-old who identified himself as Daniel, was injured, but no one else. It is unclear as of this writing if he was shot, or hurt after he launched himself into the speeding vehicle, managing to get himself partly in through the driver's side window.

The car then slowed down, and came to a stop.

“My whole thing was to protect those people,” Daniel told Alex Garland, a photographer. Garland posted a video of a brief interview with Daniel to Twitter.

The driver, who appeared to be in his 30s, got out of the car brandishing a weapon. Witnesses believed it was a Taser gun, which stuns people with electric nodes, but Seattle police said on Twitter that it was a gun.

The driver is now in custody, according to Seattle Police. The gun has been recovered.

The incident took place at Pike and 11th.

--Isolde Raftery & Megan Farmer

8:31 p.m.: Four Seattle City Council members call on Durkan to rein in Seattle Police

Seattle City Council members Lisa Herbold, Lorena Gonzalez, Teresa Mosqueda and Tammy Morales have joined other elected officials in calling on Mayor Jenny Durkan to order Seattle police to de-escalate their response to the protests.

In a letter also signed by members of the King County Council and state House and Senate, they pledged:

"to advance and support policies that 1) de-militarize the police, 2) further restrict use of excessive or deadly force by police, 3) increase accountability and transparency in police union contracts, 4) give subpoena and other investigative powers to independent oversight boards and 5) redirect police department funding to community-based alternatives."

The letter goes on to say "much of the police response has been driven by tensions, emotions, and fear running high on all sides. The only path forward that will heal our city necessitates first and foremost direction to SPD from the highest level to change their tactics immediately."

-- Gil Aegerter

7 p.m.: Pierce County prosecutor to get sheriff's report in Manuel Ellis' death

The Pierce County prosecutor says sheriff's investigators will report their findings Wednesday on the death of Manuel Ellis in Tacoma.

Manuel Ellis died after telling police officers "I can’t breathe" during his arrest in March. Prosecutor Mary Robnett must determine whether to charge any of the four police officers in Ellis’ death. Governor Jay Inslee said Friday that the Attorney General’s Office will then review her decision.

But Robnett said Sunday that the AG's office should join her Wednesday as she hears the sheriff's findings. Inslee's office said for the AG's office to take part now could compromise its independence.

Family members are demanding an independent investigation, from outside the Pierce County justice system.

-- Amy Radil

3:45 p.m.: Protesters march in South Seattle

Thousands of people gathered today at Othello Park in South Seattle for a rally and march.

caption: Thousands of people gather in Othello Park in South Seattle ahead of a march on Sunday, June 7, 2020.
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Thousands of people gather in Othello Park in South Seattle ahead of a march on Sunday, June 7, 2020.
Credit: KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay tweeted out video of the crowd.

The marchers then began moving down Rainier Avenue South toward Rainier Beach.

9:30 a.m.: Covid-19 testing offered for people who marched in big crowds

People who are participating in the protests over racial injustice in Seattle are being urged to get tested for the coronavirus.

Mayor Jeny Durkan said Saturday that the city will expand testing criteria to include people who have been in large gatherings, even if they do not have symptoms. That would include the demonstrations over the past nine days.

Currently, the testing under Public Health -- Seattle & King County is aimed at people who have symptoms or who have been exposed to someone known to have Covid-19 in the past 14 day.

There are fears that the virus could be spread more widely through the tightly packed crowds that have appeared at protests in Seattle and other cities.

The public health agency said Friday that new testing sites in Seattle will be opening in north and south Seattle, and will operate 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. But you must register in advance and the sites are only drive-through -- no pedestrians -- which could affect many who participated in the protests.

Tests will be done by the Seattle Fire Department and processed by UW Medicine. The city and the health agency said there is no charge for the testing.

New sites are also opening in other cities in King County. Here's a list.

More information or to register: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/care/testing.aspx

-- Gil Aegerter

SATURDAY, JUNE 6

11:40 p.m. Seattle City Council members join protest, decry police response

On Capitol Hill, several Seattle City Council members arrived at the protest front lines late Saturday night after police used flash-bang devices and pepper spray on the crowd. Many council members also took to social media during the night to call on Seattle Police and Chief Carmen Best to de-escalate how they manage crowd control at the ongoing demonstrations.

-- Liz Jones

Police use flash bangs and pepper spray at Capitol Hill protest

10:16 pm - Demonstrations in Capitol Hill Saturday night escalated when police used flash bang devices and pepper spray to push protesters back from a barricade.

National guard members also lined the street to keep the crowd back.

The police department said people had moved the barricade and were throwing rocks, bottles and explosives at officers. They said several officers were injured.

Until then, demonstrations had remained peaceful.

Crowds filled the streets at 11th and Pine, adjacent to the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct. They waved signs and chanted "defund SPD, defund SPD."

A petition calls on the city to cut the police the budget in half, fund community services, and drop charges against protesters who were arrested.

Earlier Saturday afternoon, 16 year-old Angelina Martin was two hours into her first protest.

“I would like to see police getting justice cause there’s just been too much death on their hands without any repercussions and it’s not right," Martin said.

Rodney Rice was walking around Cal Anderson park with a walkie-talkie, volunteering to de-escalate any tension. He says the protests are the start of something.

“You have a bunch of people who don’t know each other, coming together for a common cause, which is good," Rice said. "We have to fix these dark, ugly things about our country.”

-- Anna Boiko-Weyrauch, Liz Jones

Hundreds rally in Kirkland

caption: Hundreds of people rallied at Kirkland City Hall on Saturday protesting police brutality and the killing of George Floyd.
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Hundreds of people rallied at Kirkland City Hall on Saturday protesting police brutality and the killing of George Floyd.
Credit: KUOW photo / Kim Malcolm

5:38 p.m. -- Hundreds of people marched down Lake Washington Boulevard to Kirkland City Hall Saturday afternoon, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Their Names.”

Outside City Hall they sat or knelt in silence for just under 9 minutes, marking the length of time estimated for George Floyd to die while being restrained by Minneapolis police. The diverse crowd raised their fists as the names of people who died in encounters with police were read aloud.

caption: Beth, Courtney, and June Hannibal, with 2 month old Elliot in stroller at demonstration in Kirkland on Saturday, June 6.
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Beth, Courtney, and June Hannibal, with 2 month old Elliot in stroller at demonstration in Kirkland on Saturday, June 6.
Credit: KUOW Photo / Kim Malcolm

Kirkland residents Beth and Courtney Hannibal went to the march, with daughter June and 2 month old son Elliot. “We’re a mixed family. We’ve brought our daughter to several protests, and now we’re starting with [our son] too. We want our voices heard along with everyone else. The main reason we’re here, is for her."

-- Kim Malcolm


Demonstrators pack West Seattle

1:52 p.m. -- Hundreds of demonstrators for racial justice packed West Seattle's Junction area for a peaceful demonstration Saturday afternoon.

West Seattle Blog reported people filled the streets just before 2 p.m.

The blog reported that the gathering was the culmination of two groups of marchers, one that came along California SW and another from Morgan.

The area is packed with demonstrators kneeling and lying down, the blog said.

-- Derek Wang

Hundreds march on Burien City Hall in youth-led march

caption: Charleisha Cox and members of the Burien Youth Council march on Burien's City Hall on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
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Charleisha Cox and members of the Burien Youth Council march on Burien's City Hall on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

1:20 p.m. -- In Burien, a youth-led march and rally ended on the steps of City Hall where hundreds of people listened to speakers for over two hours. While speaking out about systemic racism, many young People of Color in the audience said they feel represented and listened to by the diverse elected officials here which works closely with youth to identify issues important to the community. Several elected officials and Burien's police chief were in the audience.

But in a conversation after the event, Darryl King Junior, a rapper who grew up in Burien, challenged the Mayor Jimmy Matta to do more. He said Black men are still harassed by police in Burien and there's much more work to do.

caption: In Burien, hundreds marched to City Hall.
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In Burien, hundreds marched to City Hall.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

In front of Burien City Hall, Wendy Adams thanked all the White allies who've joined the marches to support Black people like her. "I am not a crier, but I've cried every day watching this stuff on TV. When thousands and thousands of white people reenacting laying on the ground with their arms behind their backs... That is our life. And watching them do that - it stirred up some emotion in me that I didn't even know existed. Thank you to all the white people that stood up to be the voice because they wouldn't allow us to have a voice. We deserve to raise our kids."

Call for Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to resign

11:41 a.m. -- Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is calling on Mayor Jenny Durkan to resign.

In a statement Saturday morning, the councilmember criticized Durkan for the police response to protests against the killing of George Floyd and police brutality.

Sawant wrote: "It has been tragically ironic that this growing movement against police violence and brutality has been consistently met with more violence and brutality."

On Friday, Mayor Durkan announced a 30-day ban on police use of tear gas against demonstrators. That followed concern from health professionals who said tear gas could exacerbate the spread of Covid-19.

City officials said Friday that the police department started using tear gas for crowd control after the city nearly depleted its stockpile of pepper spray after protests last weekend turned destructive.

-- Derek Wang

caption: Organizer Dr. Estell Williams, center, leads a crowd of thousands marching in protest to demand justice and an end to police violence, from Harborview Medical Center to Seattle City Hall on Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Seattle.
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Organizer Dr. Estell Williams, center, leads a crowd of thousands marching in protest to demand justice and an end to police violence, from Harborview Medical Center to Seattle City Hall on Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Thousands join Doctor's March for Social Justice

9:51 a.m. -- Thousands of people joined a Healthcare Workers for Justice march from Harborview Medical Center to Seattle's City Hall this morning.

Dr. Shaquita Bell, a pediatrician at Seattle Childrens, spoke at the rally at City Hall and exhorted her fellow healthcare professionals to work to end racism.

"Racism is a disease. And for all of you who went to school to save lives, it is our job to treat this disease," she said.

There are other demonstrations for social justice scheduled in the Seattle-area this weekend.

The Burien Youth Council is hosting a march from the Burien Skate Park to the city's City hall, this afternoon at 1. The Seattle NAACP is holding a vigil for victims of police brutality at Cal Anderson Park, also at 1. And there will be rally for Black lives at Seattle's Magnuson Park, tonight at 7.

-- Megan Farmer


FRIDAY, JUNE 5

caption: Crowds gather at 23rd and Jackson in the Central District.
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Crowds gather at 23rd and Jackson in the Central District.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Large crowds rally in the Central District

Rally In Seattle's Central Area

A rally in the Central District Friday night had a different feel from the protests downtown this past week. There was a large crowd gathered at 23rd and Jackson, but a very noticeable lack of police presence.

The diverse group, coming together after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, cheered on music, poetry, and speeches throughout the evening.

Rally organizers with the organization, Africatown, set up a food pantry and handed out apples and pasta to attendees. A brigade of cyclists protectively encircled the gathering with their bikes.

Tawanna Buchanan came up from Federal Way after getting priced out of her small Central District home a few years ago. She said the lot is now home to four to five condos, instead.

“This was one of the most biggest black communities before and you know, we want to stake our claim,” she said. “That’s what I think is going on right now.”

The location of the rally was symbolic. Across the street from the rally used to be a beloved Red Apple grocery store. Now there’s an apartment complex redeveloped by the late Paul Allen’s company, Vulcan.

Nine-year old Kingston Williams came to the rally with his cousin. He said his mom taught him about Black Lives Matter and how to deal with the police.

“Just be careful, cause anything can happen, really,” he said. They can shoot you, (use) tear gas, pepper spray.”

Another participant, Ariana Steen was handing out fliers for a march on Juneteenth. She’s new to volunteering, but started after protesting last Saturday.

“What really changed for me in that moment was just knowing that I’m not alone. Yes, I do see everything that’s going on in the streets, but there are people out here that have my back, and people that I have their back, because we’re a community.”

--Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Governor Inslee announces independent review of Manuel Ellis's death

7:20 p.m. -- Governor Jay Inslee announced Friday night that the state will not just accept the Pierce County Sheriff's investigation, now underway, into the killing of Manuel Ellis by Tacoma police.

Ellis, a 33-year-old black man, was killed in March while in handcuffs under restraint by police.

Once the investigation is complete, the Washington State Patrol will review it for fairness and thoroughness, according to a statement released by the governor's office. Inslee will also allow Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office to review the Pierce County prosecutor's decision on whether to charge the four officers involved. The state could then choose to possibly prosecute the officers.

"We have no reason to doubt the work underway, and my decision does not in any way pre-judge an outcome, but the family of Mr. Ellis, the City of Tacoma and every Washington resident deserves the confidence that an extra level of scrutiny will bring," Inslee said in the statement.

But Pierce County Prosecutor Mary Robnett called the governor’s approach a "mistake." She’s urging a concurrent investigation by the attorney general. “Why wait?” Robnett asked in a statement. “The Ellis family wants answers and the greater community has great interest in the case.”

Robnett added that "the structure of what has been suggested by the Governor looks like it sets up a Monday morning quarterbacking situation. That is not engaged leadership and it is not the way things should work in our criminal justice system."

Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards has called for all four officers involved in Ellis's killing to be fired and prosecuted for Manuel Ellis's death.

On Friday evening, the governor's office responded to Robnett's criticism saying it understands her position, but that a concurrent investigation could be interpreted as lacking the "strict ... independence the situation deserve."

--Jill Jackson and Austin Jenkins

Bellevue police limit 'controversial and divisive' neck restraints.

6:30 p.m. -- Bellevue police will limit the use of neck restraints by its officers, Chief Steve Mylett announced in a blog post Friday night.

"We recognize that neck restraint techniques, while effective, are highly controversial and divisive," Mylett said according to the statement. "Until we can have additional conversations with the Bellevue community, I have decided to stop their use until further notice, except when the officer's life is in danger."

The move by the Bellevue Police Department comes on the same day the Minneapolis City Council voted to ban the use of neck restraints following the killing of George Floyd by a police officer using the method. Seattle already prohibits use of neck restraints by police unless deadly force is justified, according to the Seattle Police Department Manual.

--Jill Jackson

Seattle’s police oversight agencies are calling on the Seattle Police Department to stop using tear gas.

12:55 p.m. -- In a joint statement issued today, Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability, Office of Inspector General and Community Police Commission called tear gas (or CS gas) “a serious and indiscriminate use of force” that is banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention. They said using tear gas could cause respiratory distress that worsens the spread of the coronavirus.

They also said SPD has no department-wide policies on its use. Training appears to be specified only for SWAT officers, and the statement says “OPA’s preliminary review of demonstration-related cases indicates that officers not assigned to SWAT are using CS gas.”

The statement is in response to a request from Seattle City Councilmembers Wednesday and “a wave of community concern about an overly militaristic approach to regulating demonstrations in the wake of the killing of George Floyd," the statement said.

Capitol Hill residents told the Council the tear gas flooded their homes Sunday and Monday nights, as well as affecting demonstrators outside. The three groups make clear this is just the first step in scrutinizing SPD’s response: “This is not the only reform necessary to protect people engaging in constitutionally protected activity. However, SPD must take this immediate step to rectify the problematic use of tear gas.”

March organizers noted that police have not used tear gas or flash bang grenades Wednesday or Thursday nights and said they expect demontrations to remain calm.

-- Amy Radil

More demonstrations planned through the weekend

11:30 a.m. -- The following marches are expected over the weekend:

  • Friday, June 5th at 3:30 a.m. in the Central District -- Rally & Teach in for Black Lives
  • Saturday, June 6th at 9 a.m. at Swedish Medical Center -- Health Care Workers for Justice
  • Saturday, June 6th at 7 p.m. at Magnuson Park -- Rally for Black Lives honoring Charleena Lyles
  • Sunday, June 7th at 2 p.m. at Othello Park -- March for Black Lives and to end violence

-- Esmy Jimenez

Seattle police officers cannot cover badge numbers with mourning bands

9 a.m. -- All Seattle police officers must keep their badge numbers visible when wearing mourning bands, according to a new order from Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.

Mourning bands are intended to honor fallen officers. But in recent days, they’ve covered badge numbers during protests, a move that’s drawn criticism and outrage from the community.

“The department has to strike a balance between honoring officers who are killed in the line of duty and our responsibility to maintain the public’s trust," Best said. "All officers will have their badge numbers prominently displayed.”

Best said it’s important that people don’t think police officers are trying to hide who they are. She has noted previously that officers are always required to have name tags visible and that mourning bands are a long-standing tradition.

But she says she’s heard the public’s concerns. The order is effective immediately but Best says it may take a day or two for all officers to be notified.

--Kate O'Connell

One week of protests in Seattle

8:45 a.m. -- Friday, June 5 marks one week of protests in Seattle.

Hundreds of people chanted "every day" as they marched through Capitol Hill Thursday night, which marked two consecutive days police did not use tear gas or flash bang grenades on peaceful protesters.

March organizer Senait says she expects demonstrations to remain calm.

"There was no violence. There was no aggression. There was no antagonizing anything, we kept our composure," she said. "We are not animals and we are not aggressive by nature. We kept it together because we have something we want to see happen together."

A more marches are planned for Friday, organizers hope to meet again with Mayor Jenny Durkan on police reform.

--Casey Martin

Effort to kick Seattle police union out of King County Labor Council

8:30 a.m. -- Protests against police brutality have highlighted the role police unions can play in maintaining the status quo. Now there’s a petition effort to kick the Seattle Police Officers Guild out of the King County Labor Council.

Over 500 black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC)union members have signed the petition so far. The King County labor council represents more than 100,000 workers including Seattle police.

In response to the petition, the Labor Council's Executive Committee issued a press release on Thursday. It threatens a vote on whether to expel the police union if they do not meet a list of demands. Leaders of the Seattle Police Officers Guild could not be reached for comment.

Read more here.

--Kim Shepard

Tacoma mayor's statement on death of Manuel Ellis

8 a.m. -- Tacoma's Mayor Victoria Woodards is demanding action against the four police officers involved in the death of a man they were restraining.

The medical examiner pointed to the officers' actions and ruled that Manuel Ellis died by homicide in March.

Mayor Woodards says she wants an investigation by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. She also wants body cameras for the Tacoma police force.

In response, the Tacoma Police Union has issued a statement calling the mayor a "theatrical politician" without "an ounce of evidence" to support her anger.

On Thursday, members of Ellis' family said they didn't want the county sheriff to investigate, saying the department was too close to the Tacoma department.

Instead, the family members want an independent investigation by the state attorney general.

Read more details here.

--Gil Aegerter

THURSDAY, JUNE 4

Seattle police ordered to keep badge numbers visible

3:52 p.m. -- After days of community outcry over the use of mourning bands on police badges, the Seattle Police Department is making a change.

Police Chief Carmen Best announced Thursday that she’s issuing a special order to ensure officers keep their badge numbers visible while wearing mourning bands.

Police badge numbers have been covered during days of protests by black bands. Best said the bands are a long-standing tradition to honor officers killed in the line of duty.

Best said she’s heard the concerns from the community and has issued an order to address them.

“The department has to strike a balance between honoring officers who are killed in the line of duty and our responsibility to maintain the public’s trust,” Best said during a news conference Thursday.

“All officers will have their badge numbers prominently displayed,” she said. “We’ve heard people, we understand. We want to make sure we’re being transparent and that people don’t have the belief that we are in any way trying to hide who we are when we’re addressing people in the public.”

Best has reiterated that it’s mandatory for officer name tags to always be visible. Moving forward, officers will need to have both name tags and badge numbers visible.

People in the position of Sergeant and above don’t currently have badge numbers on their badges. They’ll be getting new badges, Best said.

She clarified that the order is effective immediately, but there may be a day or two lag in implementation as police officers are notified.

The Office of Police Accountability said in a tweet they’ll continue to look into the issue, “including investigating allegations that officers purposefully withheld identifying information from demonstrators.”

-- Kate Walters

Gov. Inslee speaks out on protests amid pandemic

9:30 a.m. -- Washington Governor Jay Inslee is urging protesters to remain peaceful. But he isn’t calling for people to avoid demonstrations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, Inslee says he plans to meet with protest leaders and racial justice groups in the coming days. Large gatherings are still prohibited in Washington. But instead of asking people to stay home and not protest, Governor Inslee is urging caution.

“I am really hopeful that people who are involved in these wear a mask, try to seek as much distance as you can,” Inslee said, adding that the virus remains “extremely dangerous.”

Separately, the governor is responding to a viral video of a state patrol trooper coaching his team and stating "don’t kill them, but hit them hard” shortly before they push back a crowd in Seattle.

The patrol has apologized, but Inslee says he’s asked the chief of the patrol to launch a review of the incident. The governor says recent protests are a “strong cry for justice” and an opportunity to address “centuries of racial inequality.”

--Austin Jenkins

Different tone at Wednesday's protest in Seattle

9:15 a.m. -- Wednesday's protest in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood had a different tone than in previous days. This time, a dozen community organizations got together and led the biggest crowd yet to City Hall.

There were three main things protest organizers wanted this time, and they wanted to make sure the crowd knew.

  • Release any of the protesters who are jailed.
  • Defund the Seattle Police Department by 50%.
  • Invest that money into services for Black and Brown communities.

Read more details here.

-Esmy Jimenez

Vigil for Tacoma man killed by police

9 a.m. -- The family of Manuel Ellis, a black man who died while being restrained by Tacoma police three months ago, plans to call for an inquest into his death today.

"I'm telling you guys, right now, my brother was a good man," said Monet Carter-Mixon. "A loving man. He loved me. He was crazy about me, he was crazy about his kids, crazy about his nieces and nephews. He helped me with my kids. Anytime I needed him, he was always there for me."

A vigil was held for Ellis on Wednesday Ellis, in the wake of a medical examiners report that states he died from a lack of oxygen during his arrest.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered Wednesday at the intersection where Ellis died -- some repeating the phrase "I can't breathe" which were his last words. Those words were recorded by dispatchers.

The four police officers involved in his arrest were placed on "administrative leave" Wednesday following the medical examiner's recent findings.

--Derek Wang

Seattle council grills police chief

8:45 a.m. -- Seattle City Council members grilled Police Chief Carmen Best Wednesday about the police response to the ongoing protests in the city. The demonstrations are over police violence and the death of George Floyd.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold is chair of the public safety and human services committee.

"I have never, in 25 years of participating in protests in the city of Seattle, experienced such an indiscriminate use of tear gas, pepper spray and flash bombs against people who are not doing anything wrong," Herbold said.

The Mayor’s Office and police department say incidents where tear gas and flash bangs were used will be thoroughly investigated, along with other complaints.

Police Chief Best acknowledged the community's concerns, but also noted that bottles, rocks and other projectiles have been thrown at officers.

Thousands of complaints have been made about the police response thus far.

--Kate O'Connell

Mayor Durkan booed away during Wednesday night demonstration

Protest at Seattle City Hall and Durkan booed back inside

Large protest on the steps of Seattle City Hall. Mayor Durkan booed back indoors

8:30 a.m. -- Activists in Seattle marched for a sixth day in a row Wednesday, calling for police reform. Activists first rallied downtown and then marched to the Seattle Police East Precinct in Capitol Hill.

"They're not just marching to random places, they're marching to the authority figures that can enact change and rewrite laws," said Angelica Cambell who has marched every day since Friday.

On Wednesday, Cambell and activists rallied outside City Hall and heard from Mayor Jenny Durkan, briefly. The crowd booed at the mayor who then went back inside.

Later Wednesday evening, Mayor Durkan lifted the curfew in Seattle, allowing demonstrations to continue into the evening.

More demonstrations are planned for Thursday and Cambell says she'll keep showing up every day.

"I'm gonna have children that are Black. And I don't want to have to march because they got shot," she said.

--Casey Martin

Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County not behind recent demonstrations

8:15 a.m. -- The Seattle and King County chapter of Black Lives Matter says they're not behind the recent demonstrations in the region. Marlon Brown is a Black Lives Matter board member and says that's in part because of the pandemic.

"We refuse to encourage our community members to needlessly risk their lives and their health during this time, when other avenues of action are available," Brown said.

Black people in King County have been infected with Covid-19 at nearly three times the rate of white people.

The local Black Lives Matter chapter is demanding Seattle change its strategy toward the crowds in the streets.

Among its demands:

  • End the curfew (Mayor Durkan ended the curfew Wednesday night)
  • Turn on police body cameras
  • Uncover police badge numbers
  • Deploy a de-escalation team

The organization is also raising bail money for communities protesting across the country.

Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County is one of two Black Lives Matter groups in Seattle.

--Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Health experts warn against using tear gas during a pandemic

8 a.m. -- More than 2,000 health care professionals have called on police to stop using tear gas during the coronavirus pandemic.

Police use tear gas because it drives people back and disperses crowds. But it can also drive coronavirus forward, deeper into a community, according to a petition organized by doctors at the University of Washington.

Rachel Bender Ignacio is an infectious disease specialist at UW.

“If people are coughing from any of these chemical irritants, then that increases their risk of spreading to fellow protesters and to law enforcement as well,” she said.

Tear gas and pepper spray are debilitating. But for most people, the health effects only last a half hour or less. The gas is heavier than air, so heading upwind, uphill and off the ground can help you get away from the toxic stuff.

Read more details here.

--John Ryan

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3

Mayor Durkan says Seattle curfew could be taken down

7:28 p.m. --

Seattle city council members grill Seattle Police Chief over protest response

7:09 p.m. -- Seattle city council members spent hours Wednesday hearing from community members, officials, and staff from the three offices that make up Seattle's police accountability system about the Seattle Police Department’s response to ongoing demonstrations against police violence towards Black people and the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Many speakers at the meeting were outraged, sharing community accounts of peaceful protesters being met with tear gas and flash bangs, and demands that the police department be de-funded.

Council members raised their own concerns about how police have responded to crowds, and grilled Seattle Police Chief Carmen best over the tactics used.

While Best and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan have said that incidents like the use of tear gas and flash bangs on crowds in Capitol Hill Monday night will be thoroughly reviewed – as will all other complaints – council members were eager Wednesday to find out if police response could change immediately at ongoing protests.

Some council members are asking for immediate recommendations from the city’s three bodies in charge of police accountability on police use of tear gas, flash bangs, and rubber bullets against protesters.

When asked what needs to be done today to de-escalate the situation for protesters hitting the streets again Wednesday evening, Omari Salisbury with Converge Media, a citizen journalist who has been covering the protests, told city council members more space is needed between officers and crowds to decrease officer anxiety. He also told leaders it’s time for them to make some decisions.

“You guys need to determine today what kind of city Seattle is,” Salisbury said. “If this is not what Seattle is and who Seattle is then you guys need to make a determination and come together as a city council, as a mayor, as a police chief, and say this isn’t who we are. There need to be a step up,” he said.

Salisbury said there’s a vacuum of visible leadership in the city.

Police Chief Carmen Best said what her officers have seen in recent days is unprecedented and she pointed out that protesters are throwing rocks, bottles and other objects at them.

But council member Dan Strauss said the police response has been disproportional.

Seattle’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA) has received roughly 15,000 complaints about the police response to protests and the numbers keep going up, according to OPA director Andrew Myerberg.

The vast majority of complaints concern the pepper spraying of a young girl, but they also include tactics used to disperse crowds. Myerberg said his office is committed to investigating thoroughly but as quickly as possible.

-- Kate Walters

Bellevue extends curfew through Saturday morning

The city of Bellevue is invoking another curfew tonight for the retail heavy downtown core.

Mayor Lynne Robinson signed a civil emergency order calling for a curfew beginning at 7 p.m. tonight, lasting until 5 a.m. Thursday morning.

Further curfews have been issued for Thursday night and Friday night, both beginning at 7 p.m. and lifting at 5 a.m. The measures will be reassessed Saturday morning.

-- Kim Malcolm

Seattle and King County chapter of Black Lives Matter speaks out

5:56 p.m. — The Seattle and King County chapter of Black Lives Matter says they are not behind the recent demonstrations in the region.

One concern is the risk of the pandemic.

“We refuse to encourage our community members to needlessly risk their lives and their health during this time, when other avenues of action are available,” said Black Lives Matter board member Marlon Brown.

Protesting is a powerful tool that needs to be used thoughtfully, he said.

“We want to be strategic, leveraging every ounce of effectiveness from the investment of time, talent, treasure, risk to our physical safety,” Brown said.

Instead, the chapter is raising money for bail funds for communities protesting across the country and supporting people jailed for protesting in Seattle. The group has a protest planned for mid-June.

In King County, Black people have gotten Covid-19 at nearly three times the rate of white people.

The Black Lives Matter chapter is also calling for changes to the city’s immediate strategy toward the crowds in the streets, such as ending the curfew, turning on police body cams and making sure tape is off officers’ badges, and deploying a de-escalation team.

What the city has been doing so far is not working, treasurer Livio De La Cruz said.

“The demonstrations, not only do they continue to escalate, but they’re in the form of a feedback loop where each night’s aggression, violence, and misconduct is fueling the next day’s action and protest,” he said.

The chapter is also calling for long-term actions to decrease funding for police in favor of health and social services.

-- Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Former U.S. Defense Secretary condemns Trump's response to nationwide protests

3:55 p.m. — Former Defense Secretary James Mattis has let it rip over the Trump administration’s response to the protests in Seattle and elsewhere right now.

The Washington native and retired Marine Corps general issued a statement published in the Atlantic, saying Trump is trying to divide the United States.

He cites Trump’s use of the military this week for a photo op in front of a church in Washington, D.C.

At least one military helicopter flew overhead as police used tear gas to clear protesters so the president could walk there from the White House. The defense secretary and the Army general who is chairman of the joint chiefs of staff stood close by.

Mattis said he condemns any militarizing of the response to the protests roiling the nation over repeated police violence to Black Americans.

He says such a response “erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect.”

Mattis also stated that "we must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution."

Read Mattis' full statement on The Atlantic.

Officials ask witnesses for information about young girl who was pepper sprayed on Saturday

2:31 p.m. — The Seattle Office of Police Accountability is asking people who witnessed a young child being pepper sprayed on Saturday to come forward as it investigates the incident. Officials say they plan to expedite the investigation, completing it within 60 days rather than the typical 180-day timeframe.

Numerous videos of unrest in downtown Seattle have circulated online, including one showing a young child screaming in agony after reportedly being pepper sprayed during a peaceful rally attended by thousands.

"While being mindful of the trauma this incident has caused the girl and her family, we would like to speak with the girl’s family/guardians to gain their perspective on what occurred," the Office of Police Accountability said in a press release.

As of Monday, the office said it was investigating 12,000 complaints against Seattle Police officers in the wake of demonstrations held over the weekend.

Protest in Renton alongside armed protection for businesses

8:53 a.m. — Protests that initially were isolated in Seattle have trickled into surrounding cities. And while most remain peaceful, some businesses have taken to guarding their buildings fully armed.

On Tuesday evening, a small but organized group of 40 people started at Renton City Hall, then walked to historic downtown where they were met with several armed men posted in front of storefronts.

Maurice Whitney was on guard with a shotgun.

“Oh yeah, everybody has talked to me," Whitney said. "They’re like ‘Oh it’s intimidating.’ And the thing is, it's supposed to be intimidating -- not to the protesters, but to the people who want to come and cause trouble.”

Whitney manages a few properties in Renton. He says the buildings can deal with cracked windows, but not fire. And he insists he’s with the marchers.

"All of us support the protest and the Black Lives Matter and all that," he said. "Everybody feels that it was a very big injustice that was done to Floyd."

Others at the protest were skeptical.

Ibijoke Idowu-Holiday is one of the organizers. She wanted to make sure the armed presence didn’t distract from the message -- police brutality and police reform.

"We have to hold our officers accountable," she said. "So on a national level, we need to do what we need to do on a local level."

The protest ended peacefully.

—Esmy Jimenez

Space Needle goes dark in solidarity

8:47 a.m. — The Space Needle went dark over Tuesday evening to show support for those protesting the death of George Floyd.

Seattle investigating pepper spray incident with child

8:35 a.m. — Seattle’s police watchdog says it has received more than 11,000 complaints about officer conduct during the recent protests . One incident involves a Seattle police officer accused of pepper-spraying a child in the face.

Andrew Myerberg is the director of the city's Office of Police Accountability. He says video from bystanders and police body cameras point to a different officer than the one being blamed on social media.

“So we’re able to identify the moment that the pepper spray is dispersed," Myerberg said. "And by doing so we can tell that the officer alleged to have done it was at the other end of the bicycle line and could not have done it and did not disperse pepper spray. However we identified another officer that we believe did so. So that will be investigated.”

Myerberg says his office has opened more than a dozen investigations so far, and hopes to have some findings within the next month.

—Amy Radil

Seattle curfew extended through Saturday

8:30 a.m. — The city of Seattle is extending its overnight curfew between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. until Saturday morning. This is in response to the ongoing protests over police violence and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best says they thought long and hard before asking to extend the curfew

“We certainly don’t want to be an oppressive force," she said. "And we don’t want people to not have their freedoms, but we also have a real due diligence and responsibility to use every tool that we can to make sure that we keep the city safe.”

Best says the curfew is another way they can guard against the kind of looting and violence seen over the weekend.

Thousands of people continued to protest peacefully past curfew in Seattle Tuesday night.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington has criticized the use of curfews in Seattle and surrounding cities, saying they risk "chilling" the free speech of people calling for change.

—Kate O'Connell

Mayor Durkan to speak with Seattle protest organizers

8:15 .m. — On Monday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan will meet with the leaders who are organizing local protests against police violence and the death of George Floyd.

Durkan also addressed hundreds of protesters Tuesday night on the steps of the city’s Emergency Operations Center.

"I want to thank you for some of the leadership you've allowed for us to meet with, but we know that doesn't replace your experience. We will continue to listen and we know you will continue to push us, and that's your job."

"I will tell you, we will make mistakes, I make mistakes. We won't get it perfect every time, but we will keep, keep trying," she said.

The Seattle Community Police Commission is also meeting Monday morning to discuss the police department’s “Demonstration Management” during the recent protests.

—Angela King

Seattle Police Chief spoke directly to protesters Tuesday evening

8 a.m. — Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best spoke to protesters in the city on Tuesday evening.

"As a black woman, you know, I feel the same pain you feel and just because I wear the uniform that doesn't change that and there's a whole lot of people who support you."

"So we are listening, we are listening to everything. I appreciate the fact that people have come together; that they're feeling a level of rage and a level of anger. But let that anger drive you toward a positive change to systemic changes that we need not only in criminal justice, but in criminal justice in healthcare and education and everywhere else, right?"

Second night of tear gas at Capitol Hill protest

12:10 a.m. — For the second night in a row, protests in Seattle erupted with police using flash bangs, pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. This time, tensions came to boil just before midnight, after a long face-off between protesters and a heavy barricade line of police backed by National Guard troops.

Through the night, crowds of several hundreds, or more, remained peaceful and filled the streets near the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct.

KUOW reporters on the ground said the crowd had started to thin out when some protesters threw water bottles. It’s unclear what else may have provoked the police response, but it was swift.

Tear gas soon choked the air as Seattle police chased some people down on bikes. Protesters ran screaming through Cal Anderson park, across the street from the police station. Officers shined lights into the park as people scattered.

Some called out for medical help; some hid in bushes while police swarmed the park with batons.

Police called out on loudspeakers for people to immediately disperse or face possible arrest.

—Casey Martin, Liz Jones

TUESDAY, JUNE 2

A long night on Capitol Hill

11:40 p.m. -- After more than 6 hours of a peaceful protest, law enforcement releases flash bangs, pepper spray, and rubber bullets on a couple hundred people in Cal Anderson Park, after protesters throw water bottles at them.

8:30 p.m. -- Protesters armed with umbrellas again are ready in case pepper spray is released. When some protesters get rowdy, the crowd boos them and manages the conflict.

--Esmy Jimenez, Casey Martin

Seattle will remain under a nightly curfew until Saturday morning

7:55 p.m. -- Seattle will remain under an evening curfew for the next several days, officials said Tuesday, as protests continue against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and a long-standing pattern of police violence toward Black people.

The night curfew will last from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Saturday morning.

Some Seattle city council members have criticized the use of a curfew, which started after protests escalated into violence over the weekend.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington condemned the curfews in Seattle and surrounding cities, stating online that they “risk chilling the free speech of communities and individuals who are calling for a change to Washington’s and this country’s history of biased policing and disparate use of force against Black people.”

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said Tuesday she took a lot of care before asking the Mayor to implement the curfew.

“We certainly don’t want to be an oppressive force, and we don’t want people to not have their freedoms, but we also have a real due diligence and responsibility to use every tool that we can to make sure that we keep the city safe,” Best said.

After protest organizers have repeatedly called on the mayor to speak with them, Durkan and Best addressed a large crowd outside the city’s Emergency Operations Center Tuesday afternoon.

During the impromptu appearance, Durkan committed to sit down with community leaders at 3 p.m. on Wednesday to begin the conversation about what change is needed and how to move forward on police reform.

-- Kate Walters

Some new cases of Covid-19 will likely come from the ongoing protests

4:35 p.m. -- During a press briefing today, Washington state Secretary of Health John Wiesman said he’s concerned about large groups in general and the threat of spreading COVID.

“When you just have large groups of people together and you know, we have a pandemic, there’s likely to be some kind of infection there,” Wiesman said. “And we know that somewhere between maybe 20-25% and 40% of folks who have Covid may be asymptomatic, and that can pose a risk as well.”

While he encourages people to avoid any kinds of crowds, anyone who does decide to attend a protest should wear a face covering, use hand sanitizer, avoid touching their face, and try to stay six feet away from others, he said.

Anyone with any signs or symptoms of Covid should absolutely stay home from a protest, Wiesman said.

The state health department will be watching data on infections to see if there are any spikes.

-- Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

County council member calls for words to translate to concrete solutions

3:10 p.m. -- Several King County council members expressed their sadness and outrage Tuesday at the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the pattern of police violence against Black communities.

Before receiving an update on the county’s Covid-19 response in the council’s Committee of the Whole, council members voiced their support for those protesting police brutality and racial oppression, while saying they don’t condone violence and looting that has occurred.

Council member Girmay Zahilay said powerful statements need to be translated into concrete policy reform. He said cycles of outrage and protest continue often because elected officials don’t effectively create changes communities are asking for.

“I would love to call on my colleagues to join me in concrete policy solutions to these problems. Demilitarizing the police, meaning that take an accounting of what military equipment is coming in from the federal government and making sure those equipment are not on the streets of a city during peace times, restricting permissible use of force by police, increasing accountability and transparency in police union contracts,” Zahilay said.

These changes, and more, have been requested by members of the community for years, he said, and elected officials play a role in whether or not such solutions are implemented.

Council members currently face restrictions during the pandemic over the kinds of legislation that can occur. Once those restrictions are lifted, Zahilay said he hopes to take up the issues within their jurisdiction in the law and justice committee.

-- Kate Walters

FBI seeks information about anyone inciting violence among peaceful protests

3 p.m. -- The FBI announced Tuesday afternoon that it is seeking information about people instigating violence amid peaceful protests.

In a statement, the FBI says: "The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution is dual and simultaneous, not contradictory.

Accordingly, we are committed to apprehending and charging violent instigators who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law. The continued violence, potential threat to life, and destruction of property across the United States interferes with the rights and safety of First Amendment-protected peaceful demonstrators, as well as all other citizens.

To help us identify actors who are actively instigating violence in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the FBI is accepting tips and digital media depicting violent encounters surrounding the civil unrest that is happening throughout the country."

Kirkland businesses asked to stay closed Tuesday

8:28 a.m. -- The city of Kirkland is urging businesses in its downtown area to stay closed through Tuesday.

Many shut down on Monday following a weekend of protests throughout the region.

And while a rally and march that occurred Monday afternoon was peaceful, the city wants businesses to stay closed out of an abundance of caution. Community members and visitors are also being asked to avoid downtown and the waterfront parks.

--Angela King

Curfews spread across Western Washington

8:20 a.m. -- It wasn't just Seattle that had a curfew Monday evening as demonstrations continued.

There were also overnight curfews in Lynnwood, Renton, Auburn, Mercer Island, Redmond, and Bellevue that lasted until 5 a.m. Tukwila's curfew was lifted at 6 a.m.

Issaquah had a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. which was will also be in effect Tuesday evening.

--Angela King

National Guard asks residents to leave guns at home

8:06 a.m. -- As protests over racial injustice continue this week, the head of the Washington National Guard is asking people to leave the guns at home.

A handful of residents in the Bellevue, Kirkland, and Snohomish areas were recently openly carrying weapons in their neighborhoods. Protests continued around Bellevue and elsewhere in Western Washington.

National Guard commander Major General Bret Daugherty says even the guard members are unarmed.

"(We're not armed) because we don't want somebody shot by accident, and the more weapons there are at a site the more likely you are to have an accidental shooting, so please just everybody calm down, leave your weapons at home," Dougherty said. "Peacefully demonstrate as much as you want to, but let's not make this a situation that is worse than it has to be."

--Paige Browning

Seattle artists march in support of racial justice

7:50 a.m. -- A coalition of Seattle artists and arts organizations plan to march Tuesday in support of racial justice.

The march is slated for Tuesday morning from Benaroya Hall to Seattle Center. The groups are asking participants to wear masks and observe social distancing measures.

Coalition of Seattle artists march in support of racial justice

Coalition of Seattle artists march in support of racial justice

--Marcie Sillman

Durkan faces questions from City Council on police actions

7 a.m. -- Seattle City Council members want a detailed report from Mayor Jenny Durkan and other officials on Wednesday about the protests and the police action during them.

Some council members have raised concerns about the use of tear gas and flash bang explosives, and the actions of some officers.

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said in a council briefing Monday she believes some police reforms have been made but more structural change is needed.

“The very thing that everybody was protesting, excessive police force, was met by a militarized response,” she said.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant said the accountability system is flawed and called for an independent, community-led investigation.

The Seattle Office of Police Accountability says it’s received some 12,000 complaints about police actions.

Durkan says there will be a high level of scrutiny of any misconduct, but she's rejected the idea that officers were the ones who instigated violence.

-- Kate Walters

Seattle police declare a riot on Capitol Hill

Another day of protests in Seattle ends with tear gas

Another day of protests in Seattle ends with tear gas

6:45 a.m. -- Hundreds of people marched peacefully from downtown to Capitol Hill on Monday afternoon.

But by the evening, tension rose among the protesters, who worried the situation would turn violent.

Police officers said protesters threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at them a block from the police East Precinct station. Police responded with pepper spray and tear gas and declared it a riot. Other accounts on social media argue the crowd was peacefully protesting. Some demonstrators say it was the police who escalated tensions after they started pepper-spraying and deploying flash bangs in the crowd. Moments before that, officers can be seen on viral video grabbing umbrellas demonstrators were using to shield themselves from pepper spray.

Many protesters said they planned to be back again the next day.

According to a statement from the Seattle Police Department:

Hours before declaring the incident a riot, East Precinct commanders had spoken and knelt with members of the group at a barricade line near the precinct. As the night continued, members of the crowd threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at officers, and attempted to break through a fence line at 11th Avenue and Pine Street. In response to the increasing number of assaults on officers and the increasing risk to public safety, the Incident Commander declared the incident a riot. Officers deployed less-lethal munitions and a mobile line of bike officers was established to disperse the crowd. While daily demonstrations continue to pose unique and dynamic challenges to the Seattle Police Department and the city, SPD remains committed to facilitating safe, lawful first-amendment demonstrations.

-- Esmy Jimenez, Dyer Oxley

MONDAY, JUNE 1

Seattle Mayor Durkan responds to Trump's threat to deploy military forces across the U.S.

5:40 p.m. — President Donald Trump on Monday issued a warning that he would send U.S. Military Troops to occupy U.S. cities in response to nationwide civil unrest.

Mayor Jenny Durkan has rebuked that threat, saying it "is unconstitutional and illegal, and shows a shocking lack of understanding about the use and work of our U.S. military."

12,000 complaints being reviewed by Office of Police Accountability

4:38 p.m. — The Seattle Office of Police Accountability says it is processing roughly 12,000 individual complaints made against officers in the wake of the protests over the weekend. Each complaint has been assigned a case number, the progress for which can be checked here.

Officials say the most common allegations include:

  • Pepper spraying a young child
  • Punching two people on the ground who were being arrested
  • Placing a knee on the neck area of two people who had been arrested (The same tactic used by the Minneapolis Police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd)
  • Covering up of badge numbers
  • Failing to record law enforcement activity on body cameras
  • Pepper spraying peaceful demonstrators
  • The use of flashbangs, including an instance in which a significant thumb injury was sustained
  • Failing to secure rifles in police cruiser (two of the guns were stolen and ultimately recovered on Saturday)
  • Officers breaking the windows of a Target store

The office denies that Officer Jared Campbell is the individual who pepper sprayed a young girl Saturday afternoon, despite widely shared social media posts implicating him.

Officials say the investigations of the complaints "will be civilian-led and as transparent as possible given the law and police collective bargaining agreements."

Looting reported around University Village

4:38 p.m. — Officials report that a large group is breaking store windows and looting businesses located at the University Village shopping mall in northeast Seattle.

Demonstration planned by Seattle musicians

3:54 p.m. — Seattle Symphony musicians invite artists, arts organizations, and the general public to an Arts March for Racial Justice, Tuesday June 2 at 11 a.m.

People should gather at Benaroya Hall and will march to Seattle Center. Organizers say participants should wear masks and observe social distancing protocols.

300 National Guard members deployed across Washington

3:35 p.m. — 300 members of the National Guard are stationed in Seattle, Bellevue, and Spokane to respond to any civil unrest as necessary, according to Washington state Adjutant General Bret Daugherty. He says the personnel will remain unarmed, and will serve in a support role to local law enforcement.

Protesters in Seattle ask people to leave if they intend to riot

3:16 p.m. — KUOW's Esmy Jimenez reports that a crowd is gathering near Westlake Center for a protest. An organizer addressed the crowd saying if anyone intends to riot, leave.

Police and military in downtown Seattle

3:13 p.m. -- Ahead of a protest planned for Monday evening in Seattle, police and military personnel were spotted along the street.

At the request of Seattle, Gov. Jay Inslee activated members of the Washington National Guard to assist with the situation in Seattle over the weekend. The guard members are unarmed and are to assist with infrastructure protection and traffic.

Mercer Island sets 7 p.m. curfew

3:09 p.m. -- Mercer Island City Manager Jessi Bon confirms with KUOW that the city has set a Monday evening curfew starting at 7 p.m. It will last until 5 a.m. Tuesday.

University Village boarded up

3 p.m. -- KUOW's Amy Radil reports that University Village is largely quiet. There were rumors of a 3 p.m. protest at the shopping center.

A Seattle police officer said that the area is shutting down. Businesses at University Village were boarded up.

Armed residents in downtown Kirkland

2:55 p.m. -- A Kirkland city official confirmed with KUOW that individuals with firearms are open-carrying in the downtown area of their city.

This report comes hours after the city warned residents to avoid the downtown area due to the potential of "organized criminals" targeting the city.

According to a statement Monday:

The Kirkland Police Department is doing its best to prepare for potential violence and looting in Kirkland. We understand there may be a protest held in downtown Kirkland this afternoon at 2 p.m., but we are unable to confirm that with absolute certainty at this time. Unfortunately, organized criminals are using lawful protests as an opportunity to create mayhem through criminal acts that have included armed assaults, vandalism, arson and looting. In response to the criminal incidents that have occurred in other communities, the City Manager has now declared an emergency and recommended that local brick and mortar businesses in Kirkland close today no later than 1 p.m. Residents and visitors are urged to avoid downtown and the City’s waterfront parks also beginning at 1:00 p.m.

Protests in Seattle and Bellevue

2:45 p.m. -- There are reports of potential protests near Pike and 5th Avenue in Seattle, University Village, and in Bellevue Monday.

SPD releases weekend timeline

1 p.m. -- The Seattle Police Department has released its account of the events which occurred over the weekend, including a timeline.

Vigil held to recognize killing of black men and women

Noon -- A vigil was held to recognize the senseless killing of African American men and women outside of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Seattle.

Seattle Mayor Durkan imposes Monday night curfew

2:30 p.m. -- Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan called for another curfew Monday night which will begin at 6 p.m.

This is the third day in a row that a curfew was called for in Seattle.

Seattle officials hold press conference

2 p.m. -- Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Police Chief Carmen Best, and Fire Chief Harold Scoggins held a briefing to discuss the weekend's events and the city's plans.