Interim Seattle police chief calls for end to protest violence
A night after violent protests again rocked the city of Seattle, the city’s interim police chief said the violence must stop.
This comes amid growing calls for city leaders to do what it takes to take back control of Seattle streets.
Sunday’s protests follow demonstrations that turned destructive Saturday night. All of it is part of protests nationwide over the police shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.
But the local violence has the Seattle Police Department’s chief asking for citizens’ help in ending it.
After four straight nights of peaceful protests that turned violent just as night falls, Seattle’s interim police chief, Adrian Diaz, said he has seen enough.
“The violence and lawbreaking need to stop,” Diaz said. “I’m asking every member of this community to join me in this call.”
Diaz spoke as his department released a new body camera video showing what officers have faced night after violent night.
He said protesters have been deliberately targeting officers, extensively damaging private property, and setting numerous fires, leading to more than two dozen arrests.
“To those paying attention, these calls for change are being drowned out by relentless violence, mayhem, and illegal behavior,” Diaz said.
Seattle’s Capitol Hill has taken the brunt of the violence.
To be sure, many here say they are sympathetic to the peaceful protests for racial equity and have even participated in them. But they don’t support this.
“I think it’s a bunch of mess,” said Byron Cooper, a Capitol Hill resident. “And really, when you’re protesting for anybody — hey, look, you’ve got to understand what you’re protesting for and not damaging what you’re living in. You’re making it worse for yourself.”
“And I think that’s counterproductive when it comes to the cause,” said Roberta Crockett, Capitol Hill resident. “Like, for instance, when it comes to the church over here that had the windows broke. That church fed everyone in this park, like, last summer.”
“This is nonsense,” said Teri McClain of the violence. “This, I swear, is nonsense.”
The police chief made a point of highlighting the arrest of a 19-year-old Kirkland man booked for arson. He is one of several people suspected of setting dumpster fires.
He is now facing a felony charge. He is being held without bail at the King County Jail. He will likely make a court appearance tomorrow.