Police Violence

seattle 2020
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timeline events

April 1, 2020

Governor Inslee issues shelter-in-place order

May 29, 2020

First protest in Seattle takes place between Chinatown-International District and Downtown.

May 31, 2020

May 31st –June 2nd, 2020: Protests move throughout Capitol Hill, Downtown, and Westlake, focusing on SPD’s East Precinct in Capitol Hill. Chemical weapons, less-lethal munitions, and physical force are used nightly, centering on the East Precinct.

June 2, 2020

A Washington State Patrol (WSP) officer is overheard on a livestream, “Don’t kill them, but hit them hard.”

June 3, 2020

Durkan ends nightly curfew. Request to end the federal Consent Decree is withdrawn.

June 3, 2020

Mayor Durkan ends nightly curfew. Request to end the federal Consent Decree is withdrawn.

June 5, 2020

30-day moratorium on tear-gas announced.

June 6, 2020

SPD uses chemical weapons, including pepper spray and blast balls, on protesters at the East Precinct.

June 7, 2020

Nikolas Fernandez drives into a protest, shoots protester before running behind the police barricades. A protester is hit in the sternum by an SPD blast ball from xx feet way, resulting in cardiac arrest. She survives.

June 8, 2020

SPD abandons the East Precinct, resulting in the Capital Hill Occupation Protest (CHOP). The site was originally called the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), but was renamed to CHOP shortly thereafter.

June 9, 2020

The ACLU of Washington, on behalf of Black Lives Matter-King County (BLMKC) files the first lawsuit against the City of Seattle for the use of less-lethal crowd control munitions against protesters.

June 12, 2020

Federal court puts a temporary restraining order on SPD’s use of chemical weapons on protesters. BLMKC’s silent march draws 60,000.

June 17, 2020

King County Labor Council Expels the Seattle Police Officers Guild

July 16, 2020

Seattle City Council unanimously votes to ban the use of chokeholds and crowd control weapons.

July 24, 2020

U.S. District Judge behind the consent decree temporarily blocks Seattle City Council’s ban on crowd control weapons.

July 25, 2020

Seattle and Portland solidarity marches, 45 arrested in Seattle

September 3, 2020

Protest takes place between Westlake Center and Downtown, where 14 Excessive Force claims made to the OPA as a result of chemical weapons, less-lethal munitions, and physical force. This includes the pepper-spraying of an 8-year-old.

September 7, 2020

As Seattle passes 100 days of daily protests, 22 arrested at SODO offices of the Seattle Police Officers Guild

September 24, 2020

As dozens of Seattle police on bikes pursued demonstrators, one officer on foot rolled a bicycle over the neck of a protester who was face down in the street.

November 4, 2020

While arresting a protester at the East Precinct, SPD tackled and applied a knee to the back of a protesters neck. The protester experienced a seizure and was transported to hospital in “critical condition”.

A growing threat to public health
- Washington state patrol officer overheard on radio

George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis officer on May 25, 2020. Since then, Black Lives Matter demonstrators in the Seattle area, including many suburban settings, have marched daily. By the end of May, the COVID-19 pandemic was more than three months along, compounding the health effects.

Here we present stories of police-inflicted health harms by individuals reporting on their own experiences in King County since late May, 2020.

These particular stories come from legal testimony submitted as part of an ACLU lawsuit: Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County v City of Seattle, with law firms SKKM and Cedar River Law. There are many additional stories not part of this lawsuit, and not all of the lawsuit cases are presented.

By sharing these testimonies, we aim to present evidence of the harmful health effects of the police response to recent protests, both in terms of individual physical and mental health and collective well-being. Our intent is to inspire primary, secondary and tertiary public health prevention measures for these health harms.

City of Seattle records state that Seattle Police Department (SPD) have killed 58 people in the last 10 years. Data on people killed by police is released at SPD’s discretion and names are not always made public. Of note are the murders of:

John T. Williams (2010); Eric Blaine Evans (2011); Mike Kwan-Yu Chen (2012); Henry Fankie Lee, Sr (2012); James David Anderson (2013); Leonid Kalyuzhnyy (2013); Jack Sun Keewatinawin (2013); Martin Anwar Duckworth (2013); Joel Douglas Reuter (2013); Austin James Derby (2014); Larry Andrew Flynn (2014); Stephen Porter Johnson (2014); Andrew Joseph Law (2014); Oscar Eduardo Perez-Giron (2014); Cody Willis Spafford (2014); Raymond Azevedo (2015); Shun Ma (2015); Sam Toshiro Smith (2015); Che Andre Taylor (2016); Michael L. Taylor (2016); Charleena Lyles (2017); Damarius Butts (2017); Kyle Gray (2017); Iosia Faletogo (2018); Jason Seavers (2018); Danny Rodriguez (2019); Ryan Smith (2019); Elliot Yearby (2019); Shaun Fuhr (2020); and Terry J Carver (2020).

Less-than-lethal weapons used on protestors

• Pepper balls
• OC/CS grenades (Blast Balls)

• Stun Grenades (Flash Bangs)

These weapons were specifically designed to be thrown 30 feet away from individuals to ensure target’s safety.

Designed as a diversionary weapon to impact multiple senses (visual, auditory, and tactile), these weapons often result in permanent injuries, and sometimes DEATH.

A number of chemical weapons used by American police fall under this category, including OC gas, CS gas (2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile), and CN gas (chloroacetophenone).

Colloquially referred to as “tear gas,” these chemicals are lachrymatory agents causing eye, nose, throat, respiratory, and skin irritation.

Exposure causes coughing, burning or blistering of throat/lungs/skin, eye and nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, death. 
Rubber bullets, bean bag rounds, pepper balls, plastic bulletsRubber bullets designed to be shot at the ground and bounce up to reduce impact to safer levels. If fired direct, rubber bullets can hit with roughly twice the force of a professional boxer, causing damage such as fractures, nerve damage, amputation of eyes, and death.“

The American Academy of Ophthalmology calls on domestic law enforcement officials to immediately end the use of rubber bullets and similar projectiles to control or disperse crowds of protesters.”
Long Range Audio Device (LRAD)Up to 152 decibels, can cause permanent hearing damage

4. Self-care

It is important to keep in mind that learning about police brutality and living through moments of unrest can be mentally and emotionally taxing for students and teachers. Below are links resources for helping students develop tools for taking care of themselves.
"Don't kill them, but hit them hard."