SPD’s May Day commander addresses protests, tactics

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Q13 FOX photo

SEATTLE — The dust has finally settled on Friday’s May Day protests where police were credited with containing the violence and shutting things down early, before nightfall, and before things got out of hand.

“This year there was a lot more individuals that were going to be confrontational, and they did it much earlier,” said Seattle police Capt. Chris Fowler, the department’s May Day commander.

Since 2012, when the violent protesters really had a vandalism heyday in downtown Seattle, the destruction and disruption has gotten steadily less.

The biggest difference this year is that arrests were made quicker, the anarchists were dispersed sooner, and police were effective in not letting them reassemble in large numbers later in the evening.

Everything peaked early, and it never left Capitol Hill.

“We started to let them march and after a few blocks on Broadway it became confrontational,” Fowler said Tuesday.  “They, in essence, attacked the police officers that were at the front of the column and from then on it transitioned from a peaceful protest into something else.”

At least one misconduct complaint has been filed against the Seattle Police Department by someone who was injured when hit with a flash grenade.

The SPD will be giving a full briefing Wednesday to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

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