FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A20 in Seattle…Rough Stuff with the Police

by Jean Fallow

On Saturday, April 20, 2002, I witnessed two shocking and unprovoked attacks by Seattle police officers on peaceful citizens demonstrating against U.S. economic, foreign and domestic policy.

The first incident occurred at Broadway and Thomas on Capitol Hill, where a peaceful crowd had occupied the intersection. The atmosphere was pleasant and festive, with drums, music and dancing. No acts of violence or vandalism were being committed.

Suddenly about 15 officers on bicycles came zooming around a sidestreet corner and rode at full speed through a banner and into the crowd of people. There was no warning, no order to disperse, no threat of arrests. The officers simply came speeding around the corner and careened into the crowd. Since the banner blocked the officers’ view, they could not see who they were going to hit _ they could have easily struck small children or old people crossing the street.

The impact on the human body of a bicycle going at top speed is no trivial matter. Several lost shoes lay in the street afterwards, testifying to the force of the collision. I saw police arresting one man whose face had been bloodied either from that impact, or from having his face pushed roughly into the ground.

About 15 minutes later, as people walked peacefully back to Seattle Central Community College, several bicycle officers rode up onto the sidewalk and threw two young men walking near me violently to the ground. One of their victims hit either the sidewalk or a brick wall, and lay dazed with blood streaming down his face. Police prevented others, including a man who identified himself as a medic, from approaching to assist the injured man. A police officer finally treated him only after an organizer repeatedly urged police to calm down and to help the victim.

I understand that the SPD has taken flak for not arresting the freeway protesters last week, but this action was completely unnecessary and over the top. There are ways to clear a peaceful crowd other than a full-on Robocop assault. Police could have first made an announcement asking people to leave or risk arrest. If people refused, officers could have simply carried them out of the street.

The police are charged with protecting public safety. Causing bruises and bleeding, and risking broken bones or worse, grossly endangered the public. It also escalated the situation by provoking extreme anger among the onlookers. It’s amazing that a riot didn’t ensue.

An article in the next day’s Seattle Times indicated that “No injuries were reported.” Since an SPD medic treated an injured man, the police know full well that at least one injury had occurred. Did the SPD withhold this information from reporters?

The police assault seemed intended to send a message that people who engage in acts of peaceful protest do so at their own risk. These are the tactics of a police state, not a democracy.

Jean Fallow lives in Bellingham, Washington. She can be reached at: jfallow@yahoo.com

For more of Jean’s photos of the rally and arrests click here.

 

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail