MYNORTHWEST NEWS

SPD to probe Capitol Hill gay pride pepper spray incident

Jun 26, 2012, 5:45 AM | Updated: 2:26 pm

The Seattle Police Department confirms it has launched an
investigation into the handling of a late night conflict
with demonstrators on Capitol Hill that led to the
deployment of pepper spray and six arrests.

The incident happened early Sunday morning as hundreds of
revelers took to the streets for what was billed as a
dance party and protest.

Initial police reports said officers were forced to use
pepper spray because some in the crowd were threatening
property destruction and refused orders to clear the
streets. One demonstrator reportedly kicked a police
commander in the knee.

But a video released on You Tube seems to contradict the
account. While the commander identified as Lt. Greg
Calder claimed he was assaulted, the video shows him
spraying one of those arrested from the street while the
other man stands on the sidewalk some distance from the
officer.

The video identifies Calder as a leader of Seattle’s
20/20 plan for reforms in the wake of DOJ findings of a
pattern of excessive force.

The commander of Capitol Hill’s East Precinct is defending
Calder’s actions, and the response of other officers who
moved firmly to control the crowd.

“We have the responsibility to ensure the peace on both
sides,” Capt. Ron Wilson told the Capitol Hill
Seattle blog
.

Wilson said police made a number of observations that the
situation was about to turn violent, including hearing
some in the crowd advocating property destruction as they
weaved through the streets.

“So it was at that point, given all that discussion about
breaking windows, the masking up, it’s time to say, ‘OK,
we’re going to contain this better by moving them out of
the street, onto the sidewalk,'” Wilson said.

He also disputed charges officers were “gay bashing,”
pointing out no steps were taken to end any of the late
night revelry.

“We didn’t stop the people,” Wilson told CHS. “That I
think
really has to be laid out. We didn’t put an end to their
march. All we told them to do was to get out of the
street. And most everyone complied.”

MyNorthwest News

Image: A Pierce County Sheriff's Department logo can be seen on an officer at a scene with a police...

Steve Coogan

1 of 2 late-night Tacoma shootings involve sheriff’s deputies

In the second of two overnight shootings in Tacoma, Pierce County Sheriff's Department deputies fired at a suspect early Wednesday.

2 hours ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

14 hours ago

Seattle police tombstone...

Matt Markovich

Timing of former SPD chief coming out raises questions amidst legal, administrative turmoil

The former SPD chief's coming out has some unnamed sources within SPD and members questioning the timing of his announcement.

14 hours ago

Image: Drugs, guns and money were seized as part of a large investigation led by the DEA and the Se...

Steve Coogan and James Lynch

Long Washington probe yields 84,000 fentanyl pills, hundreds of pounds of drugs

Four Seattle-area men with ties to Central and South America were arrested in a long probe related to drugs, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

16 hours ago

Image: Water moves through a spillway of the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River near Almota on Ap...

Associated Press

US acknowledges Northwest dams have devastated the region’s Native tribes

The U.S. government acknowledged for the first time the harms the construction and operation of dams on two rivers have caused tribes.

17 hours ago

mount baker shooting...

Frank Sumrall

Teen arrested in deadly shooting in Mount Baker neighborhood

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in the Mount Baker shooting that happened on Sunday, according to Seattle police.

17 hours ago

SPD to probe Capitol Hill gay pride pepper spray incident