Police experts give inside look at ‘anarchists’
SEATTLE — If you have turned on your television lately, chances are you have become accustomed to seeing protests marred by troublemakers in the crowd.
Cameras caught an explosive being launched at police during a recent protest in downtown Seattle. Criminal acts like these are often done by self-proclaimed ‘anarchists’, a group with no real cause other than to create disorder.
Washington’s Most Wanted’s Parella Lewis talked with Seattle police and one of the leading voices on this topic for an inside look at these so-called ‘revolutionists.’
If you look up the word anarchy in the dictionary, it lists “agitator” and “terrorist” next to “revolutionary.”
“For most of these folks, they dislike the establishment just to the degree that they literally just want to create chaos,” explains Det. Kory Flowers with the Greensboro Police Department in North Carolina. “A common mantra among modern day, criminal minded anarchist is “F.S.U.” which stands for “expletive, expletive up.” The Greensboro Police Department is one of the first agencies to assign officers to collect intel on these types of groups.
If you are like many people who want to know what the message of an anarchist is, Det. Flowers says there isn't one. “I would say from our experience working in undercover and covert capacities that you speak with a modern day, really trouble making anarchist, most of these folks can’t speak for two minutes about anarchy at its roots, at its base,” Flowers adds.
But that hasn't stopped them from trying to ruin Christmas in downtown Seattle. “Seattle is a city that is very open when it comes to free speech," says Seattle police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb. "People come here to protest. It’s the biggest city in the Pacific Northwest, so when we do have marches and protests that occur there’s always a chance that people are going to come and crash that party as it were."
The anarchist in their dark clothing and covered faces mix-in with legitimate protesters and do their best to cause chaos. Sgt. Whitcomb says, “Some things we've seen in the past include light bulbs with paint. They actually threw those at our horses during 'Occupy'. They've also thrown them at our officers. So, you've got paint, glitter, also the more traditional rocks and bricks, bottles, canned goods was a new one, and small explosive devices that I’d call fireworks but they’re huge and almost the size of my fists."
Of course, just being an anarchist isn't a crime, and most of the destruction is done by a small percentage within the group bent on creating disorder. “We've intercepted urine filled eggs, acid-filled Christmas ornaments, boxes of broken glass, urine-filled super-soaker styled water guns. All meant for first line police forces and security forces,” Det. Flowers adds.
And those committing these types of crimes are the ones who account for the 25 arrests during the 300 marches and protests in Seattle this year. Sgt. Whitcomb says,“When people want to throw rocks, bricks, canned goods and small explosive devices at our officers, we are going to go in and make arrests.”
And the people behind the covered faces and black clothing may not be as revolutionary as their group thinks. Det. Flowers says, “A lot of these anarchists who will show up and be against corporate America and corporate greed are trust fund kids, kids of high-ranking CEO's. It’s quite ironic and a bit hypocritical.”
Seattle police are still investigating some of the criminal acts during these more recent protest and actively looking for more information about the person who launched an explosive at a group of officers.
If you have any information, call an anonymous tip into:
CRIME STOPPERS: 1-800-222-TIPS
You must call the Crime Stoppers hotline with your tip to be eligible to receive a cash reward for information leading to a fugitive’s arrest.
Click here for information on how to text a tip to Crime Stoppers.