Rantz: Seattle experienced a violent riot against police, not a protest
Seattle experienced an anti-police riot on Saturday, not a protest (peaceful or otherwise).
Fifty-nine Seattle police officers don’t get injured at your typical protest. Arson, vandalism, and assault aren’t committed at protests. Hours of hurling incendiary devices at police isn’t in protest of anything. It’s being a … well, a word I can’t print at MyNorthwest, but I’ll let you fill in the blank with what you please.
Activists claim they were the victims. They were not. They were the aggressors. Some media wants to compare the activist anarchy with police use of force. There are no comparisons. If anything, there should have been more arrests.
It was a Seattle riot, not a protest
On Saturday night, the Seattle demonstration turned into a riot rather quickly. For the 10 minutes-or-so march to what would have been the future home of the juvenile detention center, the march was peaceful. It’s why over 4,000 people participated.
But it quickly devolved when rioters committed arson, burning five construction trailers and trashing scores of cars in the nearby parking lot. On the march away from the scene of the crime, Antifa goons and other agitators covered surveillance cameras with their umbrellas to help prevent cops from catching the criminals.
As they headed back to the East Precinct, they decided to make a stop at a local Starbucks, destroying the interior and exterior. While the fire alarm blared, an instigator was on a bike telling the attached apartment complex residents to evacuate. I’m sure she thought she was a hero for alerting the residents. She’s no hero — she was part of the group that destroyed the property.
The explosion at the Seattle riot
The 4,000+ strong march was dramatically smaller when it returned to the East Precinct. It turns out, arson and vandalism is a good way to lose people foolishly thinking they were engaging in peaceful protesting. The ones who stayed witnessed more violence.
About 15 minutes after the arson, one of the rioters hurled an explosive at the East Precinct, cratering through the wall. The external damage was obvious; the internal was shocking.
Seattle police declared a riot and used OC spray and blast balls to disperse the rioters. Some left, some stayed. For the next several hours, agitators stood there shouting vicious insults at cops, while pretending to be there for a protest. The ones who attempted to harm officers were pursued and arrested. Everyone else? They weren’t the targets. Unless you jumped on Twitter: There, you ran into wild conspiracy theories.
The conspiracy theories
Twitter activists (many of whom don’t appear to have even been at the riot) had many theories of what cops were doing during the Seattle riot.
Jen Joyce, for example, speculated that SPD was “pushing the protest toward federal property” presumably so federal officials would intervene. This didn’t happen. Not even close. Officers didn’t even push rioters past Broadway. They were always on Capitol Hill.
University of Washington assistant professor Sarah Tuttle baselessly claimed SPD was targeting journalists and using tear gas. Tear gas wasn’t used and media members weren’t targeted.
SPD demonstrating they don’t need unmarked Feds to violate human rights. Targeting journalists, aggressive use of tear gas, pepper spray, and blast balls in Capitol Hill this afternoon. #seattleprotests
— Sarah Tuttle (@niais) July 26, 2020
Tuttle wasn’t the only one claiming media members were targeted. Several took to Twitter with these claims. It didn’t happen.
Embedded media members — or, in the case of what happened this weekend, a blogger and some activists who post videos on Twitter — run the risk of getting hit with OC spray or blast balls. It’s the risk we take for better footage. While there, I got some pretty consistent whiffs of OC spray and it didn’t feel too great. I wasn’t targeted. I was in the crowd documenting rioters. They were the targets.
Failed mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver came close to a sliver of truth in her bad-faith accusations. While I didn’t see any gas masks confiscated, police did snatch umbrellas and traffic cones. Umbrellas aren’t “literally protective gear.” They’re weapons used to assault cops and to block officers line of sight to rioters who assault them with rocks and bottles. Traffic cones are also not “literally protective gear.” That’s “literally” a ridiculous claim.
There were also claims of “random” attacks on protesters. The proof? Video of a targeted arrest of a criminal suspect. As you can see in the video of the “random attack,” the officers specifically target one individual for arrest. But Ashley Sullivan will have you believe all these cops just happened to choose one suspect at random. Oh. OK.
The Seattle Times embarrasses itself
All the local TV news outlets covered this for what it was: a riot (or at the very least they called it a violent demonstration). The Seattle Times? Not so much.
Co-authored by two former Stranger staff writers sympathetic to the protesters, the violence was mostly ignored. The first mention of violence at the riot implied the SPD were the aggressors. Sydney Brownstone, Heidi Groover, Patrick Malone and Michelle Baruchman wrote for the Times:
The demonstration, convened in support of protesters facing off with federal agents in Portland, circled around the same standoff location on Capitol Hill where police met protesters with flash-bang grenades and tear gas in early June. Nearly two months later, police again used flash bangs and pepper spray on protesters, who had brought umbrellas, gas masks and at least one leaf blower in anticipation of the confrontation.
No mention of the explosives and fireworks some rioters brought to the demonstration.
But they did downplay the violence, casting it aside as “scattered vandalism and fires” while acting as a PR firm for the Antifa group Youth Liberation Front. The Times reporters justify the violence this way: “While most protesters have been peaceful, some see fires, graffiti and broken windows as forms of resistance to an oppressive regime.”
It took them 14 paragraphs to mention the arson, and 18 to mention the explosive device leveled against the East Precinct. That’s embarrassing.
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