Nine arrests, five SPD officers injured in May Day march

May 1, 2016, 11:15 AM | Updated: 10:25 pm
deadly force, May Day Seattle, may day...
(MyNorthwest file photo)
(MyNorthwest file photo)

Another May Day in Seattle is here and gone, but this one looked a little different. Only nine arrests were made, as compared to 16 in 2015. Five officers were injured and property damage was relatively minimal.

After a peaceful immigration rally and march earlier in the day, the scene quickly escalated well before the sun set. Police reported rocks, broken windows, and even molotov cocktails early in the evening. Officers deployed pepper spray and blast balls around 7:30 p.m.

Police pushed the marchers south along Fourth Ave. where the crowd eventually found itself in the Costco parking lot. Marchers were allowed to depart in small groups, which then headed back north toward downtown.

Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said in a news conference Sunday night, “I’d say all in all, we don’t have any life-threatening injuries or any extensive damage.”

She added that she will be reviewing the events from May Day 2016.

See the live updates below:

9:55 UPDATE: Why do you keep tolerating this year after year? a reporter asked. “We warned that once assaults and property damage begin, we take action,” Chief O’Toole responded. “And we we did. We allow people to march and assemble … We facilitate that in Seattle.”

9:51 UPDATE: Chief O’Toole says they’ll review the events from May Day – always trying to improve tactics.

9:50 UPDATE: We had officers attacked, said Police Chief O’Toole. “I’d say all in all, we don’t have any life-threatening injuries or any extensive damage.”

9:49 UPDATE: Mayor thanks police for showing restraint and protecting property in the city.

9:46 UPDATE: Seattle police report nine arrests on May Day 2016. Five officers were injured. One officer is suffering a head laceration, another was struck by a rock. An officer was hit by a molotov cocktail. One officer was bitten by a protester.

9:35 UPDATE: Police chief and Seattle’s mayor to hold a briefing soon near Harborview Medical Center on the May Day events.

9:20 UPDATE: Seven people arrested, two officers injured, handful of windows broken. Marchers are headed back toward downtown Seattle with a police escort. Sixteen people were arrested on May Day 2015.

9:13 UPDATE: May Day marchers approaching S. Walker St. on Fourth Ave.

9:06 UPDATE: Headed north on Fourth Ave. Just passing S Forest St.

9:00 UPDATE: Marchers passing S Horton Street on Fourth Ave.

8:55 UPDATE: Marchers headed back north along Fourth Ave. to downtown Seattle. Tons of officers on bikes to escort group. KIRO 7 reports about 40-50 people.

8:48 UPDATE: SPD says it’s slowly letting small groups disperse from Costco parking lot. Appears crowds are heading back to downtown Seattle.

8:42 UPDATE: SPD makes seventh arrest – in Costco parking lot.

8:40 UPDATE: KIRO 7 reports SPD just declared the May Day march over. “They told protesters they are no longer allowed on the street,” Gary Horcher reports.

8:36 UPDATE: Group now assailing shopping carts in Costco parking lot, SPD tweeted.

8:32 UPDATE: Crowd appears to be staging in the Costco parking lot. Officers on bikes circling the group. (No Coscto samples at the scene.)

8:29 UPDATE: SPD tweets out a photo of items collected on May Day. (State Patrol says it’s waiting for next deployment … in the shadows)

8:25 UPDATE: SPD reports sixth arrest near Fourth and Andover. Crowd moving through the back parking lot at Costco.

8:20 UPDATE: Seattle police report a fifth arrest near 4th Ave and Horton St.

8:18 UPDATE: Seattle Department of Transportation says, “Most streets have reopened in downtown and Belltown. Fourth Ave S is still subject to closure around S Spokane St for May Day march.”

8:15 UPDATE: Some marchers seen leaving the crowd. Officers keeping an eye on stragglers.

8:11 UPDATE: Crowd moving through SoDo. Approaching the West Seattle Bridge.

8:02 UPDATE: KIRO Radio says there are reports that marchers are discarding black clothing as police continue to push the dwindling crowd into SoDo neighborhood.

8:01 UPDATE: Traffic blocked at WB I-90 to Fourth Ave.

7:57 UPDATE: SPD makes fourth arrest near Fourth and Holgate.

7:55 UPDATE: According to KIRO 7, protesters are moving south on Fourth Ave. and are now passing Safeco Field (Mariners game ended around 4 pm).

7:53 UPDATE Crowd continues to move south toward stadiums.

7:50 UPDATE: Assistant Chief Wilske orders officers to collect any weapons discarded by crowd.

7:49 UPDATE: Seattle police report three arrests and two officers injured.

7:45 UPDATE: SPD arrests two more people at Fourth and Dearborn.

7:44 UPDATE: Another officer injured at Fourth and Dearborn, SPD tweets. State Patrol blocking Fourth Ave. to I-90.

7:42 UPDATE: Officers report molotov cocktails being thrown at them on Fourth Ave, according to SPD.

7:39 UPDATE: SPD says crowd now moving on Fourth Ave, south past King St Station. State Patrol is preparing to move in to assist SPD.

7:36 UPDATE: Reports that officers are pushing crowd to Pioneer Square. Police preparing line along King Street.

7:33 UPDATE Seattle police beginning to make additional arrests at Second and James.

7:31 UPDATE: Seattle police make first arrest (Second and James). SPD tweets: “Continued reports of crowd throwing rocks/bottles, breaking windows @ 2/Cherry #MayDaySea Officers now deploying Blast Balls.”

7:26 UPDATE: Mayor Murray tweeted: My thoughts are with injured @SeattlePD officers.

7:23 UPDATE: Marchers moving south on Second Ave.

7:22 UPDATE: King County Metro reports service in downtown Seattle is experiencing delays due to May Day activities.

7:19 UPDATE: Injured officer has sustained a head and facial laceration and is now receiving treatment, according to SPD.

7:15 UPDATE: Police issue dispersal order:

7:11 UPDATE: SPD commanders issuing dispersal order at Second and Pine. “Anyone remaining at scene is in violation of law.”

7:10 UPDATE: SPD reports an officer is injured at Second and Pine.

7:07 UPDATE: Crowd moving south on 2nd Avenue approaching Lenora. Officers moving with the group. – SPD tweeted.

7:05 UPDATE: Streets are closed in downtown and Belltown for May Day protests, Seattle DOT tweeted. “Avoid area and use alternate routes.”

7:00 WATCH THE MARCH ON Facebook here.

6:59 UPDATE: Crowd is at running west at Second and Bell.

6:51 UPDATE: Situation is escalating near Fifth and Pike.

6:49 UPDATE: Video at Westlake Park.

6:47 UPDATE: Crowd is throwing wooden poles toward officers and there are reports of a broken window on Fourth Ave. according to Seattle police. Broken window also at a residential building at Fourth and Virginia.

6:40 UPDATE: SPD reports a few officers at Westlake have already reported being struck with sticks and baton. Some in the crowd are lighting firework. Rocks are being thrown at 5th and Pine.

6:38 UPDATE: Police are trying to move the crowd.

6:25 UPDATE: Fourth Ave. is currently blocked at Pike St. Use alternate routes.

6:24 UPDATE: What’s in the bottle?

6:18 UPDATE: Seattle police report some individuals in a black-clad group at Westlake Park have poles with bolts, rocks, and cans of spraypaint.

6:13 UPDATE: Reports of about 200 people in Westlake Park. Many are wearing masks. The smell of marijuana is strong.

6:09 UPDATE: So far, no violence to report.

6:01 UPDATE Anti-capitalist presence is growing in Westlake.

5:52 UPDATE: Look who spoke at Westlake Park today!

5:31 UPDATE Police presence appears to be picking up in Westlake ahead of the 6 p.m. anti-capitalist march.


5:21 UPDATE: Check out Josh Kern’s photos from the May Day parade.


5:10 UPDATE KIRO 7 reports that an officer is injured near Safeco, but that it is unrelated to the May Day protests. SPD calls the march a “great event.”

4:57 UPDATE Some protesters in masks have been spotted around the peaceful marchers. The demonstration has reached the federal courthouse downtown.

4:52 UPDATE Seattle police say the march is turning on to 7th Avenue from Pine Street.

4:43 UPDATE The Seattle Police Department will again be talking with the media. Slated to start at 5 p.m. at the West Precinct.

4:35 UPDATE King County Metro says to expect transit delays on routes 10, 11, 47 and 49 in the Capitol Hill area, though transit service is expected to clear shortly.

4:30 UPDATE Marchers heading WB on East Pine Street S en route to the Federal Courthouse.

4:21 UPDATE Police say march is headed WB on Pine St, approaching 10th Avenue. They are headed to 7th Ave where group will turn north.


4:07 UPDATE: Marchers turning east onto Pike Street.

3:59 UPDATE: Marchers still carrying flags and being peaceful; approaching Broadway and Madison. Headed NB to Pike.

3:52 UPDATE:

3:47 UPDATE: SPD says march passing Broadway and James. Marchers have been peaceful thus far.

3:43 UPDATE:

3:35 UPDATE: SPD says march now headed northbound on Broadway. Trump piñatas have been spotted.

3:25 UPDATE: May Day march headed to Broadway.

3:19 UPDATE: SPD says May Day march has reached 14 & Jackson and will be heading up Boren to Broadway shortly.

3:17 UPDATE: May Day march turning onto Rainier Ave S.

3:06 UPDATE: El Comite WA march underway westbound on Jackson Street from 20th Ave.

2:14 UPDATE: State Patrol prepared to help during May Day demonstrations.

12:45 UPDATE: During a press conference in front of the West Precinct, Seattle Assistant Police Chief Steve Wilske reiterated that police are there to assist in making sure the protests are non-violent and protect the rallies.

“Acts of violence will not be tolerated,” Wilske said. “We are here to support free speech.”

11 am UPDATE: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray activated the City of Seattle’s Emergency Operations Center at 10 a.m.,to provide support to the city and coordinate response to potential traffic impacts for the day’s planned events and marches.

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Nine arrests, five SPD officers injured in May Day march