In information convention Saturday evening, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan stated she selected to impose a curfew and ban weapons within the metropolis to assist quell violence and property destruction downtown. Durkan additionally stated the town would examine how law enforcement officials have used drive towards demonstrators and maintain officers accountable for any misconduct.
“Today, many across Seattle came together to grieve, to protest and to commit themselves to the cause of justice,” Durkan stated, decrying the dying of George Floyd, who died after a police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. “For most of today, the demonstrators were peaceful and I thank all of those who chose to exercise their right to protest without hurting others.”
The mayor stated her sudden actions have been prompted by a subset of individuals within the streets.
“Unfortunately, in the late afternoon, demonstrations downtown by others quickly turned violent and destructive. We have seen this play out across the country,” she stated.
Some individuals threw Molotov cocktails at automobiles and buildings, some threw fireworks at peaceable crowds and police, “and for periods, our firefighters could not access the fires to put them out, because it was not safe to do so,” Durkan stated.
A number of officers and civilians have been injured, the mayor stated, including, “At this time, we’re not aware of any serious injuries.”
Durkan has signed three emergency orders, she stated, proclaiming a civil emergency over the downtown demonstrations, imposing a citywide curfew from 5 p.m. to five a.m. “tonight and tomorrow night” and prohibiting the usage of all weapons, together with weapons, golf equipment and pipes in central Seattle. It wasn’t instantly clear how precisely the ban would work with regard to gun house owners.
“This was a difficult decision to make because we in this city and cities across America enjoy the right to come together,” she stated, reminding Seattle residents that Gov. Jay Inslee’s coronavirus stay-home order additionally continues to be in place.
Cops will “try to inform people and educate people first, but people in violation of the order who will not vacate, enforcement can be taken,” the mayor stated.
“I understand the immense rage and grief and sense of betrayal” that many are feeling within the wake of Floyd’s killing. “However, the escalated incidents of destruction and violence do not honor Mr. Floyd,” Durkan stated. “The criminal acts that took place during today’s demonstrations cannot and will not be allowed to continue … We will take all steps necessary to protect the residents and property of this city.”
Requested about officers utilizing flash bombs and tear fuel towards peaceable protesters, Durkan promised investigations however stopped in need of saying any fast disciplinary choices.
“There have been a number of videos circulating related to the use of force, both from last night and tonight. Every one of those videos will be reviewed to make sure that they’re in compliance with Seattle Police Department requirements,” the mayor stated, mentioning that the police division’s civilian Inspector Common was current on the metropolis’s emergency operations middle Saturday to watch the division’s deployments. “Any police officer using force inappropriately will be held accountable.”
On the identical time, “I have seen officers take enormous punishment, last night and today, with a number of things thrown their way,” Durkan stated, defending the usage of drive in sure circumstances.
Requested why the curfew announcement got here solely minutes earlier than 5.p.m., permitting demonstrators with scant time to conform, Durkan stated the transfer was advisable by the police division as a software to get individuals out of downtown.
“We are not using that curfew to set people up or to unnecessarily detain people or arrest people,” she stated.” We’re attempting to get everybody safely residence.”
Although the protests have been downtown, the curfew will apply to your entire metropolis, Durkan confirmed. “People should be staying home unless they’re going to a necessary business or otherwise,” she stated.
The mayor stated it was “too early to determine the number of types of groups” that engaged in peaceable exercise versus different conduct. That will likely be a part of the town’s investigation into the demonstrations, Durkan stated, noting different mayors have reported arresting non-local individuals.
“We don’t know whether that’s the case here in Seattle,” she stated.