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Seattle police prepare for Black Lives Matter events Saturday

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SEATTLE – Westlake Park was quiet Friday night, just 24 hours after more than 1,000 people marched in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Protests were planned for the small downtown square Friday night, but police told Q13 News it was tentative. In the end, no one showed up; but that does not mean protests are over. This weekend, two Black Lives Matter events are planned and police and residents are getting prepared.

“I was so happy to hear it was so peaceful in Seattle, especially because I heard what happened in Dallas,” said security guard Payton Kennedy.
He was out on a citizen patrol Thursday night during the protests. He is part of the Black Lives Matter movement and tried to keep local events peaceful in light of the Dallas shootings.

“When I heard news of that [Dallas Shootings] I was still out here patrolling with my fellow guards, and were like ‘dang some cops got shot out there, we really got to be on guard,” he said, adding “we knew things could go wrong out here.”

Kennedy’s concerns were mirrored by others Q13 spoke with. When we asked Seattle resident Erin Taylor if she planned on protesting over the weekend, she said she’s thought about it, but said “I am concerned and have to figure that out with myself, but it’s [violence] on the front of my mind.”

Seattle police were on alert Friday night just hours after their chief addressed the community.

“We expect to (be out there) with the community to ensure their safety and the safety of the police as well,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole during a press conference.

“We immediately ordered all patrol officers to work in pairs and teams and parking enforcement officers as well,” she said.

Residents will be able to expect cops working in teams for Saturday’s events.

A photoshoot is planned at Judkins Park, Seattle, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and a "call for action" is scheduled to begin at the Beacon Hill Branch of the Seattle Public Library at 3 p.m.

Police told Q13 News they are on alert, but will not stray from their mission. They will be visible and available.