Writeup of the Occupy Seattle March: “Bring Diaz Down” on 1/14/12

Writeup of the Occupy Seattle March: “Bring Diaz Down” on 1/14/12

(protesters lighting torches symbolizing those killed by police)

Yesterday aproximately 100 protesters rallied at 23rd and Union in Seattle’s central district against police brutality and then marched to the East Precinct.

The full rally and march can be seen here and here.

Full press release at the Occupy Seattle site.

From the press release:

“In consideration of the Seattle Police Department’s systematic use of excess force on the citizens of Seattle, its violent and unnecessary repression of nonviolent protesters and its disproportionate targeting of the most disenfranchised members of society, whether they be people of color or simply people without houses, Occupy Seattle hereby calls for the resignation of John Diaz, Chief of the Seattle Police Department and the prosecution of all officers found to be repeatedly engaged in misconduct.”

Also:

“The Department of Justice has clearly found SPD to be engaged in a pattern of excessive use of force, in which officers tend to escalate rather than de-escalate conflicts by verbally and physically abusing suspects. In addition, the DOJ has criticized the complete lack of oversight within the department, which very rarely brings repeat offenders up for administrative review. These practices have continued under Diaz, whose initial response to the findings was that they were simply wrong. He claimed that “the department is not broken” and is stubbornly refusing to make even the relatively mild changes in protocol suggested by the DOJ. Additionally, those officers outlined in the report as repeat offenders have yet to be held accountable for their actions.”

Seriously, read the whole thing. And if you have time I seriously suggest that you read the DOJ report itself.

After a speak-out by Ndns for Justice, people that had been assaulted by police and several others the march headed toward the East Prencinct.

Notable events during the march included a police escort of about 9 bike cops and several police cars, protesters chanting against police brutality, a banner saying “ACAB” and “All your base are belong to no one” attached to a traffic light by several protesters, several protesters moving garbage cans, tires, a couch, and signs from a local food co-op into the street. As various things were dragged into the road many other protesters put them back in place, including preventing one protester from lighting the couch on fire.

Once the march got within a half block of the East Precinct it stopped at a police barricade that was manned by 14 police officers in riot gear, most with large batons, one with an OC gun, and several others with large pepper spray bottles attached to their belts. The protesters held another speakout against police brutality while several other protesters heckled the police from the sidelines. No attempts to kettle and then arrest the protesters were made.

After the speak-out the protesters marched to SCCC and then dispersed.

First off I want to thank the SPD for not wasting as many of our tax dollars last night as Oakland’s police department did for a similar number of protesters. Scores of riot police were not sent out (I counted about 30-40 police in total and only 19 in riot gear), helicopters were not dispatched to monitor and shine lights on protesters, peaceful protesters were not repeatedly rushed and arrested and only a few vans (instead of half a dozen) were trailing the protesters.

Still, it would have been nice if they’d simply let protesters have their say outside the East Precinct and then dispersed. This wasn’t an angry mob with torches (the organizers vetted ahead of time which protesters received torches so that they would not be used as weapons).

This was simply a group of people that are tired of seeing police get away with murder. You don’t need riot police to deal with this problem, you need to hold accountable those that use force inappropriately.