Seattle police declared a demonstration Saturday a riot after a group of almost 12 people set fire to a construction site, reportedly causing explo
Seattle police declared a demonstration Saturday a riot after a group of almost 12 people set fire to a construction site, reportedly causing explosions.
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) tweeted about the incident and provided pictures of the scene along with additional details.
“Group of approximately a dozen people setting fire and causing damage to a portable trailer and construction site at 12/Jefferson. Possible explosions heard on site. Large group in the area. Working to secure access for,” the Twitter thread began.
FEDERAL JUDGE BLOCKS SEATTLE COUNCIL’S LAW BANNING POLICE ANTI-RIOT GEAR
Law enforcement said protesters also broke windows and damaged vehicles near a King County Court facility. There were also reports of businesses being destroyed and vandals spraypainting the East Precinct while attempting to disable security cameras near the perimeter.
“Due to the ongoing damage and public safety risks associated with this incident, SPD is declaring it a riot,” another tweet read.
The police then issued dispersal orders and deployed “less lethal” munitions, to clear out the crowd, before making multiple arrests.
Police made “at least” three arrests and were continuing to disperse the crowd, the department later tweeted, noting that “at least” two officers were injured.
The incident comes as a new law was set to take effect in Seattle on Sunday that “bans Seattle Police officers the use of less-lethal tools, including pepper spray that is commonly used to disperse crowds that have turned violent,” police Chief Carmen Best said in a statement. It would also have prohibited the use of anti-riot gear.
“Simply put,” Best added, “the legislation gives officers NO ability to safely intercede to preserve property in the midst of a large, violent crowd.”
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U.S. District Judge James Robart on Friday granted a request by the federal government to block the measure, the Seattle Times reported.
The Seattle City Council passed the new law unanimously last month, hoping to reduce violent clashes between police and protesters.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall and Dom Calicchio contributed to this report