The protests have not stopped since the tragic murder of George Floyd. As protests erupted in Portland and Seattle, the Seattle police declared the demonstrations a riot after they claim they were hit by rocks, water bottles, and fireworks, AP reports. Protesters had gathered in the city’s Capitol Hill area for protests against racism and police brutality. Police in Seattle reported that they made roughly two dozen arrests.
Police used the flashbangs and pepper spray on protesters as they attempted to evacuate the scene that was once an “occupied protest zone” just weeks prior. Police added that they were “investigating a possible explosive damage” that was allegedly done to one of the walls of the precinct. Police also alleged that protesters broke the windows of King County court facility. However, it should be noted that the majority of the protest was peaceful with the exception of a few incidents.
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best urged protesters ahead of the demonstration to remain peaceful and warned that officers would be armed. “In the spirit of offering trust and full transparency, I want to advise you that SPD officers will be carrying pepper spray and blast balls today, as would be typical for events that carry potential to include violence,” Best said.
The arrests stemmed from people who broke into the construction site for the King County Youth Detention Facility that was set on fire. Police said that they urged those in the area to leave the scene. Earlier this week, King County Executive Dow Constantine vowed to shutter youth detention centers by 2020 and put those facilities to better use.