Cops Pepper Spray Protesters at Summer Taylor Vigil, Other Protesters Bust Windows on 15th Ave

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SPD was busy last night.

SPD was busy last night. RS

On Wednesday Seattle saw three protests in three different corners of the city led by three (mostly) different groups.

In the morning, Nathalie rode along with the Morning March, who shut down the Ballard Bridge for over eight minutes in honor of George Floyd. Part of that demonstration included a banner drop criticizing Councilmember Dan Strauss for his recent 180s on police reform.

Later in the evening, cops arrested at least two people after a group in black bloc marched down 15th Ave on Capitol Hill and smashed windows at Canterbury Ale House, a Key Bank branch, and Uncle Ike’s pot shop. (Every Night Direct Demonstrators did not organize this action, but said on Twitter they were “turning [their] attention” to the event.)

And later that night, police arrested at least one person after officers wearing riot gear squared off against Every Day Marchers (EDM), who’d gathered outside the Washington State Patrol Office in Eastlake. Protesters came with flowers and votives to hold a vigil in honor of Summer Taylor, who died after a driver hit them during a demonstration on I-5 on July 4.

Citizen journalist Rebellion Baby and Converge Media’s Omari Salisbury streamed parts of the EDM demonstration in Eastlake.

At around 10:00 p.m., Seattle Police officer Jeff Geoghagan told a protester named TK that demonstrators needed to move their cars, which were parked in the road nearby to protect the crowd from vehicular attacks, or else the cops would tow them.

On Rebellion Baby’s stream, Geoghagan can be heard saying, “Our concern is you’re creating safety hazards by blocking the roadway. The vehicles coming off Montlake are driving at freeway speeds. There are also vehicles pulling into oncoming lanes of traffic to avoid the blockage.” One protester said cops should “shut down the exit and shut down the oncoming traffic” if safety was a concern.

Cops chose not to take the protester’s suggestion. Instead, they formed a line across E Roanoke and pushed the marchers down the street. During the push, police can be seen pepper spraying protesters. At least one blast ball or flash bang appeared to have been thrown.

On his stream, Salisbury, who was hit with pepper spray, reported police breaking a car window and detaining the driver.

Cops tweeted a dispersal order at 10:41 p.m and chased protesters through the neighborhood as the crowd dispersed.

As for earlier protest: At around 7:00 p.m. a group of approximately 50 demonstrators in black bloc gathered at the amphitheater in Volunteer Park. Someone wearing an inflatable T-Rex costume showed up, as did someone wearing a full-body, black-and-red jester suit.

Protesters burned an American flag in front of a bemused crowd of parkgoers, and then marched down 15th Ave, accompanied by a flautist. Every once in a while the crowd stopped to smash a window.

On protester said they busted the Canterbury has been known to say that leaders of Black lives Matter should be shot.

One protester claimed they busted up the Canterbury because the owner “has been known to say that leaders of Black Lives Matter should be shot.” RS

In the past, people who march with ENDD have cited Uncle Ike’s role in gentrification and Key Bank’s role in capitalism to justify the vandalism, but the Canterbury hit seemed new.

“The owner [Ryan Lewis] has been known to say that leaders of Black lives Matter should be shot,” one protester told me. A Twitter user pointed to a Facebook comment Lewis posted after the protests at the end of May: “Looters should be shot and no I don’t care about your feelings,” Lewis wrote.

“That was the cherry on top, the part about feelings,” Lewis told me outside the Canterbury Wednesday night. Referring to his post about shooting protesters, he said he “recognized that was an asshole comment and I acknowledged that the next day.”

“But there was nothing racial about [the Facebook comment],” Lewis added. “In no way would I equate looters with Black people or people of color. I equate looters with people like this, who are cowards.” He claimed the majority of his staff were minorities, and said he “in no way discriminates” at his ale house.

During the first arrest on 15th Ave, a police officer pointed to a liquid-filled bottle with some fabric poking out that was lying in the middle of the Thomas St. intersection and said, “Is that a Molotov?” Another answered, “Yeah.”

Maybe half an hour later, at around 9:00 p.m., outside the Key Bank I saw a police officer speaking with two men; one in plain clothes, and one in black bloc. The officer told the men that cops had collected an “IED” at the scene. After the cop drove away, I asked the two men if they were part of the protest. They demurred. I asked if they were working with police. The one wearing black said, “Can’t talk about it, can’t comment.”

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