Seattle police released body camera footage Tuesday revealing how protesters threw projectiles, including bottles, traffic cones and fireworks, at officers in front of the West Precinct over the weekend. As a result, 12 officers were injured.
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“We are relating this video in an attempt to be transparent and will continue to released videos of significant incidents,” the Seattle Police Department said.
What started out as a peaceful protest Sunday against police brutality, quickly turned violent in the afternoon, as a group of demonstrators carrying baseball bats began breaking windows and tagging buildings with paint, police said in a statement.
Bicyclists maintain a line to help protect marchers from traffic during a protest led by youth activists demanding racial, climate, economic, worker, and social justice Monday, July 20, 2020, in Seattle. The demonstration follows other protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis.
The group then made their way to the West Precinct, where some individuals attempted to break into the building. Body camera footage shows one protester using a black umbrella to allegedly obstruct the view on surveillance cameras, police said.
“Officers moved in to escort the person away from the doors and were immediately assaulted,” the department said.
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Several officers on bikes positioned themselves outside the precinct as protesters hurled rocks and bottles at them. Some protesters also threw “large mortar-type fireworks” at officers “from a close range,” which exploded on the concrete in small, fiery bursts, kicking up smoke and injuring officers who were nearby.
At least two officers reportedly suffered from lacerations and abrasion injuries from the blasts. while a third officer sustained burns to his neck area and received treatment from the Seattle Fire Department before he was later transported to the hospital.
Broken windows are shown at a Starbucks store, Sunday, July 19, 2020 in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Protesters broke windows at the store earlier in the afternoon. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Police lobbed blast balls and pepper spray at throngs of demonstrators in return.
Officers arrested two individuals, one for assault and the other for theft, police said.
Protesters went on to damage and loot local businesses in downtown Seattle, setting a small fire inside one of the shops.
Demonstrators also attacked the East Precinct, which has been the focal point over the past few months for protesters calling to defund the police, even forcing its brief closure in June due to frayed relations between the community and police.
A worker clears glass from broken windows at the Starbucks Roastery, Sunday, July 19, 2020 in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Protesters broke windows at the store earlier in the afternoon. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A large, mortar-type firework was thrown inside the lobby of the precinct, causing a small fire, but no one was injured, police said.
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“According to the Incident Commander, individuals within this group appeared to be very organized and this appeared to be a very concerted effort at property damage of certain businesses and government facilities,” the Seattle Police Department said in a statement.