Kshama Sawant calls for investigation into SPD conduct at weekend protests
After a weekend of unrest in Seattle, City Councilmember Kshama Sawant is calling for an investigation into how police handled protesters on Saturday.
Sawant began to circulate a petition Sunday, demanding that Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Council “immediately launch an independent community-led investigation into Seattle Police Department conduct at the #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd protest in Seattle downtown on Saturday May 30.”
She also called on the city to “discipline or fire all officers who taped over their badge identification and/or engaged in excessive use of force, brutality against protesters, or other misconduct.”
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best claimed in a weekend press conference that black electrical tape seen obscuring badge numbers on officers was used as a sign of mourning for slain officers, whose burials had been delayed over the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Mayor Durkan said Sunday that use of force from police during the demonstrations will undergo scrutiny and review. She encouraged people who believe they experienced inappropriate use of force to report it as such.
That said, she also labeled “criticisms that somehow it was the Seattle Police Department that instigated the violence and chaos … just false.”
Protesters in attendance over the weekend countered that claim.
“I felt like I was being gas-lighted,” one protester told the Seattle Times, referring to Mayor Durkan’s remarks. “It was not the experience I had.”
“People were completely peaceful, chanting, ‘No justice, no peace,’” said another. “Then at like 3:20 p.m., without provocation, there was a tear-gas canister fired into the crowd by the police and people started running.”
According to Sawant, over 2,000 people signed her petition as of early Monday morning.