Police in Seattle declared a riot in that city after peaceful protesters on Saturday were “provoked” by cops into setting fires and throwing explosives, rocks, and bottles that injured 21 officers and sent one policeman to the hospital after he was hit in the knee by an explosive device.
A construction site on Capitol Hill was torched and another police precinct was broken into with “explosive damage” done to the walls. Another Starbucks was lit up, and numerous storefronts were vandalized. At least 45 people were arrested. In other words, just another typical peaceful, tranquil day for the residents of Seattle.
Are there any businesses left in downtown Seattle? If there are, they may want to head for the hills.
The Seattle police chief informs business owners that they are on their own against rioters. The city council has tied her hands. The police do not have the tools to combat mob violence. pic.twitter.com/iLV0ne9Z2i
— Mike (@Doranimated) July 25, 2020
The letter is a wonder to behold — a first for civil society in a modern industrialized country. Law enforcement telling the people they are sworn to protect that government won’t let them do their jobs and that any damage done to the business owners’ property isn’t the fault of the police.
Please also know that the City Council Ordinance 119805 Crowd Control Tool goes into effect this weekend on Sunday, July 26, 2020. This ordinance bans Seattle Police officers the use of less lethal tools, including pepper spray that is commonly used to disperse crowds that have turned violent. Simply put, the legislation gives officers NO ability to safely intercede to preserve property in the midst of a large, violent crowd.
It is important to bring to your attention that yesterday, I sent the City Council a letter ensuring them that as the Chief of Police, I have done my due diligence of informing them numerous times of the foreseeable impact of this ordinance on upcoming events. The letter is attached for your reference.
For these reasons, Seattle Police will have an adjusted deployment in response to any demonstrations this weekend – as I will never ask our officers to risk their personal safety to protect property without the tools to do so in a safe way.
Owners got a temporary reprieve from a judge who granted a “very temporary” restraining order against the council’s directive late Friday. But it’s only a matter of time before Police Chief Carmen Best makes good on her promise to “adjusted deployment” of her forces and let the rioters have the city.
In his ruling, Robart determined that the situation required further discussion between the city and the Justice Department, which years ago entered a settlement agreement regarding a police department overhaul because of past complaints about excessive force and biased policing.
Robart called his restraining order blocking the law “very temporary,” and advised the city and the Justice Department to engage in constructive discussions regarding the next step.
“I urge you all to use it as an occasion to try to find out where it is we are and where it is we’re going,” he said, according to the Times. “I can’t tell youy today if blast balls are a good idea or a bad idea, but I know that sometime a long time ago I approved them.”
In a letter to a city council member, Best gave some detail about exactly what an “adjusted deployment” would mean.
Additionally, while the Ordinance by title suggests a limitation to crowd management purposes, the language of the Ordinance, in its blanket prohibition on the procurement and ownership of such tools, effectively eliminates these tools as available less-lethal options across the board. The bill clearly bans OC spray at any rally, demonstration or other event, despite if it turns violent.
Further, while we recognize a limited exception for the targeted use of OC spray, the exception does not realistically allow for deployment in such a manner that ensures the aerosol does not disperse onto anyone other than the intended subject. For these reasons, officers who typically deploy with OC as one of their standard less-lethal options will no longer be carrying this tool.
“OC spray” or pepper spray is horribly uncomfortable and can cause a panicky reaction in many people if it is breathed in. It is not “lethal” but people have died, mostly from heart attacks after being exposed.
It’s supposed to be used as a last resort by the cops to maintain crowd control. When people are running around setting fires and throwing explosives, that would appear to be as close to a “last resort” as you’re going to get. Chief Best is saying that even in those circumstances, police will be barred from using non-lethal pepper spray, so why risk the lives of her officers to protect property?
Any business owner planning to relocate to Seattle should read that letter Best sent to Seattle businesses very carefully. It represents the attitude of authorities toward your property. You would be expendable in the cause of “justice.”
So if you’re going to Seattle, make sure you fireproof your building or purchase extra insurance. Wouldn’t want any “peaceful protesters” costing you your business.