SEATTLE (AP) — As Seattle crossed the 100-day mark for protests against racial injustice and police violence, demonstrations continued Monday focused on the Seattle Police Department, its budget and the police union.
The Seattle Times reports about 200 people marched to the Sodo offices of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, where police descended on the crowd, scuffles broke out and 22 people were arrested on suspicion of assault, arson, obstructing and failure to disperse.
Meanwhile, King County Equity Now and Decriminalize Seattle organized a separate caravan of events Monday in all seven Seattle City Council districts. The groups called on the City Council to override Mayor Jenny Durkan’s veto of the council’s revised 2020 budget that would have cut up to 100 police officers and made other reductions to the police department.
The groups have called for redirecting funds to Black-led organizations and community services. Durkan has criticized the City Council for what she calls insufficient planning for the police cuts and objected to cutting the salaries of SPD’s command staff.
Protesters arrived at the SPOG office in Sodo shortly after 6 p.m. Most wore black and some carried shields, umbrellas and gas masks.
When the group arrived, dozens of officers rode out from behind the building on bikes and confronted the crowd.
Officers ordered people to back up, rode into the crowd and grabbed umbrellas from protesters. A protester deployed a fire extinguisher; police pushed their bikes into the crowd and used pepper spray and blast balls or flash-bang grenades.
After officers began pushing the crowd out of the area, some in the group threw fireworks at police. As officers tried to make arrests, scuffles broke out.
From the front of the crowd of protesters, it was not immediately clear what prompted the police response. Seattle police later said that as officers made arrests, members of the crowd threw rocks, bottles and explosives.
The department said it found Molotov cocktails at the SPOG building and posted a photo of three unbroken beer bottles containing fluid and bandannas. A body camera video posted by the department showed an object thrown from the crowd land in the street between protesters and police and start a fire, which the department said was a Molotov cocktail.