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caption: A mural at the intersection of Maynard Avenue South and South Jackson Street is shown on Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Seattle.
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A mural at the intersection of Maynard Avenue South and South Jackson Street is shown on Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Protests for racial justice in the Northwest (August 31-September 4)

Demonstrations and protests for racial justice continue in western Washington, alongside related action from local leaders.

This post is archived. Read the latest here.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

9 arrested on I-5 in Seattle

2:15 p.m. -- Troopers with the Washington State Patrol arrested nine people who blocked traffic on I-5 through Seattle Friday morning.

The Seattle Times reports that the group who blocked I-5 with their cars -- Morning March -- has also recently blocked traffic on the Ballard Bridge and Highway 99 in Seattle.

Morning March has been calling for Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to resign, and have demanded a closure of the county's juvenile justice center, as well as defunding the Seattle Police Department and redirecting that money to community organizations.

According to the Washington State Patrol, the vehicles that blocked traffic on I-5 were impounded.

-- Dyer Oxley

Protesters, journalists and residents near the CHOP report weird menstrual cycles

1 p.m. -- On the night of June 1, Jessi Murray, 32, was in her first-floor apartment on Capitol Hill when her eyes and throat started stinging. She closed open windows and sat in front of a fan with her dog to get relief.

At that moment, a tense confrontation between Seattle Police and protesters was underway near 11th Avenue and Pine Street — eight blocks from Murray's residence. She could hear the thundering sound of flash-bang grenades going off, she said.

Murray soon confirmed, through conversations on social media and with neighbors, that she had been exposed to CS gas, a type of tear gas deployed against demonstrators by Seattle Police officers. The same thing happened to Murray again on June 8.

Then something bizarre happened to her over the course of several weeks.

Keep reading...

-- Liz Brazile

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3

Security guards chased away from Cal Anderson Park

8:30 a.m. -- The city of Seattle hired private security guards to patrol Cal Anderson Park, but things haven’t gone well for them so far.

The Seattle Times reports that when the $85-per-hour guards showed up Tuesday night, protesters chased them away.

The city cleared a big homeless encampment earlier that day.

The Times reports under the contract with Jaguar Security, the city gets four guards per night for a total of $3,400 per night.

A spokesperson told the newspaper that the city plans to “reassess the needs of the park daily.”

-- Gil Aegerter

Seattle moving 100 officers to patrol unit

8 a.m. -- Seattle interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz plans to move 100 officers from their specialty units to the patrol team.

Diaz says the growing demands on the 911 response patrol means it needs more officers. And he says community members have asked for more police presence in their neighborhoods.

Officers with traffic enforcement, the anti-crime team, and community policing team will be among those converted over to patrol.

"One of the top concerns expressed by thousands of community members in our public safety survey has been a lack of police presence or capacity. These moves will begin to address this concern, and they will bring vital backup to patrol officers who have been racing from call to call too often," Diaz said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, thousands of community members continue to protest against police violence. Many are calling for a smaller police presence in the city. The group Decriminalize Seattle has proposed diverting policing funds to community crime prevention programs.

Read more details here.

-- Paige Browning

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

Portland's mayor likely moving after protests

8:30 a.m. -- The Mayor of Portland says he's looking to move because protesters keep showing up outside of his condo. The latest demonstration happened Monday night.

The Oregonian Newspaper reports that some in the crowd set fires and broke windows as they called for Ted Wheeler's resignation. So the mayor issued a letter to other residents of the 16-floor high rise saying it would be best for his and for everyone else’s safety and peace if he found a new place to stay.

Similar demonstrations have occurred here in the Seattle area with people protesting outside the homes of some city council members, the mayor, and the now retiring Seattle police chief.

-- Angela King

Police Chief Carmen Best's last day

8 a.m. -- Wednesday is Carmen Best's last day as Seattle's police chief.

Last month, Best talked about her decision, citing a city council vote to reduce her command staff's salaries as one of the reasons for her exit.

Those policing cuts have since been vetoed by Mayor Jenny Durkan.

Best says it's just time to move on, after two years as chief, and 28 years with the SPD.

And when it comes to the question of changing policing, Best says she looks forward to seeing interim chief Adrian Diaz do some of that work.

"I know that he is ready to engage in the hard work of reinvisioning community safety with a solid plan for transitioning some of the work that we are asked to do, to other organizations," Best said.

Best has not announced what she plans to do next.

She's a board member for United Way of King County, and a leader with the United Negro College Fund Seattle.

-- Paige Browning

MONDAY, AUGUST 31

10 years since the death of John T. Williams

9 a.m. -- People gathered at the Seattle Center Sunday to mark 10 years since a Seattle police officer shot and killed John T. Williams.

“I'm going to come here and honor my brother. I've been here for 10 years, every year," said John's brother Rick.

Williams -- a woodcarver -- was gunned down near downtown Seattle, moments after an officer told him to drop a small knife he was carrying.

The shooting became a rallying cry for police reform and was cited in the Department of Justice investigation that resulted in the Seattle Police Department being placed under a federal consent decree which is still in effect. It found the department had a pattern of using excessive force, and practices that could result in bias against minorities.

Sunday's event was held near a totem pole that was dedicated in John's honor. Rick Williams said the calls for police reform and the marches in his brother's honor helped the family face the loss.

--Angela King

Protests over weekend around Seattle

8:30 a.m. -- A number of peaceful protests took place all across King County Sunday, including a Black Lives Matter demonstration in the Capitol Hill neighborhood that was attended Nicole Blake Chafetz.

Chafetz is the aunt of Jacob Blake, who was shot by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“I have a certain amount of hopelessness that anything can change, but nothing will change if we don’t keep trying,” Chafetz said on Sunday.

There were no reports of any damage around the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct on Sunday. Crews built a concrete barrier around the building on Friday after an arson attack there last week.

--Angela King

Fatal shooting amid demonstrations in Portland

8 a.m. -- Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is called for unity Sunday, following a fatal shooting in downtown Portland Saturday night.

The man’s death came amid conflicts between pro-Trump demonstrators and Black Lives Matter supporters. Wheeler asked local leaders to work together to end the violence the city has seen in three months of protests.

Wheeler also pointedly went after President Trump, essentially telling him to mind his own business.

“I’m gonna do the work that I need to do in my local community with my local officials to take accountability for what’s happening on our streets, and I’d appreciate either the president support us, or stay the hell out of the way."

Meanwhile, Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty renewed her calls for Wheeler to hand leadership of the Portland Police Bureau to her. Wheeler says he has no plans to do that.

--Angela King

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