Police say black-clad May Day marchers hurled wrenches and rocks at officers and hit police with sticks as a Friday evening march through Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood turned violent, injuring three officers — two seriously.
Police responded with pepper spray, pepper balls and flash bang grenades. Officers said several dozen vehicles were damaged. Windows were broken in neighborhood businesses.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said one officer had a dislocated shoulder, a second had a broken wrist, and a third had a burn injury to his leg and ankle. They’re recovering at Harborview Medical Center.
“Thankfully, they’re all conscious,” O’Toole said. “We talked to them. They’re in good spirits. Just happy the situation didn’t become more serious.”
The injuries occurred at 7:30 p.m. when officers issued a dispersal order to the group and attempted to clear the street at Broadway and Howell, Seattle police said.
Protesters hurled bottles, rocks, bricks, wrenches, and other projectiles at police, who responded by utilizing pepper spray and pepper balls to break up the increasingly violent crowd, police said. They added protestors also began pushing barricades and trash cans into roadways, and raided a fenced construction site for items they later burned in the street.
A May Day protest and march through the streets of Downtown Oakland, San Francisco, also turned violent Friday evening, with some businesses and cars being vandalized.
Friday’s protest began peacefully. About 500 people protesting several issues, from police brutality to capitalism, marched from Frank Ogawa Plaza and eventually up Broadway. Later on, vandals went on a rampage. They broke windows of business and vehicles and set a car on fire on the Broadway Auto Row.
One of the marchers said she was okay with vandalism that targeted big business.
“I see it like a game of chess and if one day we can throw rocks at police, right or wrong, however you feel about it, then that’s a day we took a stand. And that, in my mind, to some extent, is a win against the system,” Melissa Crosby said.
Baltimore is bracing for fresh protests this weekend, following a tumultuous week that included looting and arson, the arrival of National Guard troops and the filing of criminal charges against six police officers in the case of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose death in police custody set off the unrest.
Thousands of people are expected here Saturday for a march organized by Malik Shabazz, president of the Washington-based Black Lawyers for Justice and a former chairman of the New Black Panther Party. For nearly two weeks, ever since Mr. Gray died, city leaders have been warning against “outside agitators,” an oblique reference to Mr. Shabazz, who is clearly making them nervous.
“They should be nervous,” Mr. Shabazz said in an interview Friday night. “The youth went off and had a rebellion because the established leadership has not represented them well.”