White supremacists clashed with opposition Saturday in downtown Olympia in the wake of an officer-involved shooting that put two young black men in the hospital.
“We don’t want violence in this city and some of the demonstrators that turned out on Saturday, both white supremacists and those who were against the white supremacists, seemed to have violence on their mind,” said Laura Wohl with the Olympia Police Department.
“The two men who were shot were black, and we believe (the white supremacists) were trying to make statement about their race,” Wohl said. “There has been some confusion that they were here to support the police and they were not.”
Olympia police became aware of the meet-up in the days before the demonstration.
“We had an indication, via social media, that a white supremacist group was going to be meeting in downtown Olympia at 9 p.m. on Saturday night,” Wohl said.
Locals in Olympia also saw the messages about the demonstration on social media and online forums, and organized a counter demonstration. On Saturday night crowd swelled to more than 150 people, the majority of which were protesting the white supremacists. Approximately 5-10 people represented the white supremacist group.
The people against the supremacist group showed up at Percival Landing around 9 p.m. where the white supremacists were expected to initially gather. No white supremacists were present, but the crowd took to the streets anyway.
“At one point a couple of car loads of identified white supremacists did show up and there was a confrontation between the two groups,” Wohl said. “It was over fairly quickly. The white supremacists left the area and the other demonstrators continued to demonstrate in downtown until 1:30 a.m.”
Damage was done to the supremacists’ vehicles by the people protesting against them. Some property damage was also reported downtown.