AP featured image
Seattle police block a street with their bikes in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone early Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Police in Seattle have torn down demonstrators’ tents in the city’s occupied protest zone after the mayor ordered it cleared. (AP Photo/Aron Ranen)

 

Here are some still pictures of preparations underway today in and around the Seattle PD Western Precinct. It is a one-mile walk from the Western Precinct Building to the Federal Courthouse in Seattle.

If you look closely at the picture on the bottom right corner, you can see that the workers are assembling pre-fabricated cement blocks that will create a six-foot high concrete wall — much more effective at keeping the rioters out than the steel fences used to ring the federal courthouse in Portland.  If rioters manage to successfully scale the walls — well, getting back going the other direction against the “wishes” of law enforcement on the inside might prove to be problematic.

Where you can see an insignia on the vehicles is shows “SDOT”, which is the Seattle Department of Transportation.  So those are city workers erecting the barriers.

In a predictable response to the dispatch of federal troops — and based on her oh-so-effective history of dealing with past rioting in her City — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan asked that additional federal agents not be sent to Seattle.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said she also received conflicting information this week from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but confirmed federal agents were in the area as of Thursday night.

“I made clear to Acting Secretary Wolf that deployments in Seattle — like we have seen in Portland — would undermine public safety and break community trust,” Mayor Durkan tweeted. “DHS now says they have a limited number of agents in the area on standby to protect federal buildings.”

Durkan also made reference to the Order entered by Judge Simon yesterday afternoon with regard to the actions of federal law enforcement agents in Portland.

“Should federal forces intervene like they have in Portland, we are prepared to pursue every legal recourse,” Mayor Durkan tweeted Thursday. “A federal judge in Portland has entered an order limiting the actions of federal forces there. We are prepared to seek the same relief if necessary.”

What seems clear from that comment is that Mayor Jenny didn’t actually read Judge Simon’s Order.  I covered this some in my story last night which you can find here, but I want to post here some of the specific terms of his order just so there is no confusion as to what he said federal agents could or could not do in response to provocations from the rioters in Portland:

The Federal Defendants, their agents and employees, and all persons acting under their direction are enjoined from arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force directed against any person whom they know or reasonably should know is a Journalist or Legal Observer (as explained below), unless the Federal Defendants have probable cause to believe that such individual has committed a crime…..

The Federal Defendants are not precluded by the Order from issuing otherwise lawful crowd-dispersal orders for a variety of lawful reasons. The Federal Defendants shall not be liable for violating this injunction if a Journalist or Legal Observer is incidentally exposed to crowd-control devices after remaining in the area where such devices were deployed after the issuance of an otherwise lawful dispersal order.

So, to the extent Judge Simon “limited” the actions of the federal agents by directing them to not purposely use physical force targeted at the press and legal observers, you are correct.  But that won’t prevent the feds from aggressively responding to destructive behavior targeted at federal facilities or federal agents.

Mayor Jenny could likely avoid much of what has gone on in Portland if — unlike her counterpart Mayor Wheeler — she directs the Seattle PD to engage in effective crowd control measures rather than send them home at 8:00 pm and surrender the streets to the anarchists.

The demonstrations set for this weekend have been publicly known for several days, so none of this is a surprise.  It will be interesting whether Antifa/BLM makes an effort to “shift the narrative” away from the nightly violence in Portland in order to regain some credibility as mere “protesters” and not violent agitators by their conduct in Seattle.

But we know the MO of Antifa/BLM is to insert themselves into the population of “peaceful” protesters and then commit acts of aggression to agitate the police, and thereafter the protesters after the police respond.

While there may be on the surface some expressed intention to see this weekend’s protests remain “peaceful”, the history of Seattle’s Antifa/BLM groups suggest that is wishful thinking.  These groups crave attention.  Some went to Portland once confrontations with the federal agents began.  Now they’ve gone back to their home turf in Seattle, and I expect they are going to want to steal some of the spotlight back from Portland beginning tonight.

Seattle PD Chief Carmen Best was not a “full-throated” supporter of what Mayor Jenny allowed to happen several weeks ago with the takeover by protesters of the Department’s Eastern Precinct and creation of CHAZ.  It will be interesting to see how she responds tonight and this weekend if similar violence comes from the planned demonstrations, and what she does if violence is directed at the federal property in Seattle.

But, in a change of circumstances from last month when the protests led to the creation of “CHAZ”, a few weeks ago the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting the Seattle Police from using “flash-bang” devices or pepper spray to disperse crowds of protesters.   The vote was unanimous.

Seattle residents will find out this weekend that they get the leadership they vote for.