Story Summary

May Day

Violence rocked Seattle on May 1, 2012, when vandals and self-described anarchists damaged buildings, parked cars. Police intervened.

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Local News

SPD admits to breaking the law

mayday3SEATTLE – The Seattle Police Department recently admitted that it broke the law.

According to a report released Monday evening by the Seattle Times, the SPD admitted to violating the Public Records Act by withholding an internal SPD report about the department’s response to the violent May Day 2012 from the Seattle times.

The embattled police department has agreed to pay $20,000 to the paper and its lawyers to avoid a lawsuit.

According to the Times, the department admitted it failed to disclose an internal review of the May Day response in a timely manner, claiming the report could be withheld through a “deliberate process exemption.” Retired Police Chief John Diaz ordered the information withheld from the Times pending the release of an interdepartmental review, violating public disclosure law.

The review highlighted — among other things — the interference in operational decisions by Assistant Chief Mike Sanford. It was deemed to be critical of the police department.

The Times’ Executive Editor David Boardman said the paper decided to challenge SPD withholding the information after editors decided such a disregard for public disclosure laws merited litigation.

Local News

SPD asks public for photos, videos of May Day disturbances

MayDay5SEATTLE — Seattle police detectives are working to collect photos and videos taken of the disturbances on May Day and are asking the public to help provide information.

“Photo or videos recorded during May Day could help detectives identify the relatively small group of people who celebrated a day promoting immigrant and worker rights by indiscriminately smashing the windows of small businesses and hurling bottles and rocks in downtown streets,” the Seattle Police Department online blotter said.

If you have photos or video of any criminal activity during May Day you’d like to provide to detectives, please email them at or call the SPD May Day tip line at (206) 233-2666.

Local News

May Day aftermath: Felony charges filed

SEATTLE — Three men in court Monday after being arrested on May Day claim not to be anarchists.

riotcourtInstead they say they just got caught up in the moment and may have broken the law.

Puget Sound Anarchists or PSA put out the word for supporters to pack the courtroom in a show of support but none showed up.

Raymond Miller was first up and is now formally charged.

He still has scars on his face from the altercation he had with police last Wednesday during the protests.

Joshua Wollstein was also in court Monday.

Both men are now charged with felony rioting and third man was released unconditionally because no charges have yet been filed against him.

After his appearance Joshua Wollstein talked to the media about his involvement in the riot.

“I feel it would be incredulous to say that I did not add the chaos. I did. I was caught up in the moment.  I don’t feel that I’m bad person. I hurt no human being that I know of and at this point I will be pleading not guilty and as such I don’t want to incriminate myself or corrupt the case,” defendant Joshua Wollstein said

The third man who was released today without charges could still be charged later and police continue to look for others who committed crimes and avoided arrest.

Anyone with information should call 911.


Angry anarchists plan to ‘Pack the Court’

MayDay4SEATTLE — Anarchists around the Puget Sound planned to meet Monday at the King County Courthouse to show protesters arrested on May Day they are not alone.

An anarchist website,, called for people to “Pack the Court” in advance of a preliminary trial featuring three alleged anarchists who were arrested on May 1 following unpermitted protests that erupted into chaos. The protesters are being held in King County Jail on felony assault and riot charges in lieu of $60,000 bail. Their hearing begins at 2:30 p.m.

Administrators on the popular anarchist website hope a packed court will help let those arrested know they are not alone.

“This is a call to pack the courtroom, in a show of solidarity and to let these rebels know they are not alone, innocent or guilty,” the website said.

Police arrested 17 people and two shop windows were broken in protests on the international day recognizing worker’s rights.

The post also warned protesters and anarchists that “Seattle Pigs” are working feverishly to identify further May Day suspects. The website cautioned any protesters to avoid the courtroom if they participated in destructive activity on May Day.

SEATTLE — Call them troublemakers or bad actors, criminals or even anarchists.

MayDay5There were only a handful of them in a larger crowd.

They wore masks to hide their identity and, according to police, used crude weapons to hurt people and damage property.

“A number of them were just criminals taking advantage of a large-scale crowd to do property damage and/or violence,” SPD Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh said.

“We arrested 17 people; that means we put our hands on them, handcuffed them and had to move them out of the crowd,” SPD Capt. Chris Fowler said.

Some of those were in court Thursday and are now charged with, among, other things, obstructing an officer, resisting arrest, property damage and failure to disperse.

Most call themselves anarchists, but who are they?

Brian McCracken is a self-described anarchist.

He was part of the peaceful demonstrations in Olympia Wednesday.

He describes anarchists this way.

“It means that I object to authority in all of its forms. It means that I think workers deserve to run their workplaces.  I think that the people have the right to control our lives and the right to organize ourselves without the one percent,” McCracken said.

Investigators say some of them are locals, some are not.

“There are those who are coming from outside the city to incite some of this violence,” Captain Fowler said.

Some information can be gleaned from anarchists’ blogs and websites.

One urges readers to “bring ruckus to your town” and the group who organized the May Day violent protest calls itself Puget Sound Anarchists or PSA.

On its website the day after, it encourages those who committed crimes on May Day to get rid their clothes in hopes of avoiding identification by police who are already looking over video and photographs of the incident.

SPD says they can run but they can’t hide, more arrests are possible and getting rid of clothing is not a good idea.

“If those individuals committed crimes and they’re destroying evidence then that in and of itself is a crime. The detectives are feverishly working to use any and all means to attempt to locate, identify any individuals again who were involved in criminal activity last night,” Fowler said.

So now, two things are happening relative to May Day 2013.

First, as it did last year, SPD is putting together a task force to find anyone who committed crimes and have not yet been arrested. Again, they will use photos and video from all sources, including surveillance and cell phones.

Secondly, not one but two after-action reports will be produced so police can evaluate how well they planned for and responded to May Day violence.

Anyone with information or pictures or video should call SPD or 911.

Local News

Is violence new May Day tradition?

SEATTLE — It was May Day mayhem that forced several Seattle businesses to pick up the pieces.

may day take downSun Liquor Distillery boarded up their smashed glass door by Thursday . The random attack happened while dozens of patrons were inside enjoying the night Wednesday. Some businesses now say it is unfortunate that May Day is getting a dangerous reputation.

Anarchists took over the streets of Capitol Hill.

The angry verbal attacks soon escalated into property damage.

“I called the owner to fix it I tried to calm everybody down of course they were busy at that time so it was even more stressful,” said Sun Liquor Distillery manager Eli Hetrick.

Seattle businesses and taxpayers are yet again fronting the cost for May Day clean up.  The exact price tag is being calculated but easily in the thousands according to the city.

“it is unfortunate because it ruins the credibility of these movements you know by the actions of a few,” said Hetrick.

Historically  May Day is about employee rights and immigration reform. Latino Advocacy helped organize the thousands who marched peacefully.

“We want to make it clear that we are not a part of that we are a separate group we’ve been doing this for many years,” said Maru Mora Villalpando.

For decades May Day had purpose but now it is getting a dangerous reputation something Latino Advocacy wants nothing to do with.

“it is disappointing I don’t want to lie to you I don’t like it,” said Villalpando.

Mayor Mike McGinn is certainly disappointed as well.

“I sure hope not we are a bigger better city than this you know I look at this and I am disappointed that this is what the world sees of us,” said
McGinn. Seattle Police are also determined to not let anarchists hijack May Day for good.

“The city of Seattle is better than that I don’t think as someone who works here I would let 50 to 60 if that many define what the city of Seattle is,” said
Seattle Police Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh.

Local News

SPD happy with its May Day response

SEATTLE — Seattle police call their response to Wednesday  night’s riot a success.

For the second year in a row, anarchist groups disrupted May Day protests by trying to damage storefronts and attacking police. SPD says it was able to quash much of that while making 17 arrests.

Detectives are still investigating and hope to make more arrests

It was a day of protest that started with a peaceful celebration, and ended in chaos.

An anti-capitalist march that started in the evening weaved through the streets of Seattle, with  several anarchists, their faces hidden, causing trouble along the way.

They broke windows, threatened  drivers, and ultimately police, hurling rocks, bottles, and steel pipes.

“They provided criminal behavior downtown,” said SPD Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh. “That’ illegal, and we’re going to take actions against that.”

When police began making arrests, the crowd surged on them.

On May Day, 2012, police were criticized for not controlling the violence sooner. This time police took charge of the streets, with a larger presence and a different plan.

Commanders say they developed new techniques over the last year and trained for this day.

When it was time to disperse the crowd, police in riot gear created a wall of officers to move the crowd away. When the crowd wouldn’t move, they were hit, with pepper spray and flash grenades.

Officers dispersed the crowd by moving small pockets in different directions, and ultimately back to Capital Hill, where the march started.

“As they start to get smaller and smaller that takes the energy out of the crowd,” said Capt. Chris Fowler, the lead commander for the march.

City Councilor Bruce Harrell, who heads up the Public Safety Committee, said they’ll now review the police response. But what he’s seen so far he supports.

“I thought we were aggressive but I think we have to be,” said Harrell. “We do not want annual occurrences where people think it’s appropriate to destroy property, and throw rocks at officers.”

Harrell also said the council may consider some changes to rules about public marches in Seattle, including not allowing anyone who wears masks.

may day take downSEATTLE — Organizers of the immigration march say their day was overshadowed by anarchists who hijacked May Day.

Latino Advocacy worked with Committee Pro Reforma and organized a march that started at Judkins Park and ended at the Federal court house dowtown.

Thousands showed up in support for immigrant rights and the march was peaceful from start to finish. Latino Advocacy says it was frustrating to see the violence that later erupted. The group says they do not want to be tied to what the anarchists stand for.

The Puget Sound Anarchist’s march took off in Capitol Hill and by the time the crowd reached Westlake Center the rally turned into a brawl causing police to use pepper spray and plastic bullets to subdue protestors. Seattle Police say the crowd started throwing rocks and metal pipes at random cars and police. Anarchists used objects like a hammer, beer bottles, flares and sticks to attack police.

On Thursday when Seattle Police were asked if this was the new tradition of May Day. Seattle Police said the city is better than that.