SEATTLE — Despite the end of the "Capitol Hill Organized Protest" zone (CHOP) earlier this week, conflict continues in the neighborhood.
Seattle police swept in during an early morning raid Wednesday, clearing out protesters that remained in front of the East Precinct. Pepper spray was deployed, and at least 44 people were arrested that morning. The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said it has not charged any non-violent protesters and has no plans to do so.
“None of the CHOP clearing arrests have led to criminal charges from our office,” the prosecutor’s office wrote. “Full cases also have not been referred to our office. The Seattle City Attorney’s Office has information on misdemeanor cases.”
Now, police say they’re trying to return the neighborhood to normal, repairing the precinct as city crews remove debris and clean nearby Cal Anderson Park, which is temporarily closed.
By early Thursday morning, police arrested 25 more people near Broadway and East Pine, accused of failure to disperse, assault, and obstructing. Overnight into Friday, three more people were arrested at the West Precinct for property destruction, and seven others at Broadway and East Pine, accused of assault, harassment, and failure to disperse.
Twitter user Eli Grady shared a video from around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, which shows police rushing protesters on E. Pine and Broadway, tackling one and placing a knee on his neck. It appears the man is able to lift his head, as he yells, “Can you get your (expletive) knee off my neck, dude?”
“I think the officers' response is another example of rampant police brutality,” Grady said. “Not only is it a wrongful arrest, but the violence used in making the arrest is extreme and unwarranted. I think dive tackling an innocent protester is assault, and the officer should be charged with assault. The knee immediately placed on his neck, while brief, shows how officers’ first instinct in making an arrest is to use this form of chokehold, the same way in which George Floyd was murdered.”
The video does not depict what happened before the officers moved in. Grady said the protester did nothing before officers moved up.
Police spokespersons have not responded for requests for comment on the video. Capt. Bryan Grenon of the East Precinct said he had not seen the video, adding “I’m sure we’re definitely going to look into it.”
Grenon said SPD expects to release bodycam footage of the arrests.
Another video circulated widely on Twitter Friday was shot by a man identifying himself as Carter, who said he lives in an apartment at 11th and Pine. He was recording while trying to get his home when Seattle police officers approach him and asked where he lives.
He said they asked for identification, which he does not provide. He and the officer speak at the same time, as Carter explains he doesn’t have a driver's license with his current address.
“You can have your diatribe out here, or we can walk you with ID to your location, or I can arrest you for being in here illegally,” the officer says. “What would you rather?”
Once he tells them he has a key, officers say they can escort him to his home, but he declines the escort.
"You don't have a choice, here's the deal," one of the officers says. "You either leave right now, be arrested or I will walk you to your location, what is your choice?"
He said he left and was able to enter through a different route without an ID check, and later told KING 5 he was frustrated with the interaction.
“I don’t have an ID, because I don’t have a driver’s license,” Carter said. “So then they threatened to arrest me if I didn’t take a police escort, and I’m not comfortable having armed men escort me around my neighborhood, that’s unacceptable.”
"I think the police are just doing whatever they want, and there's no oversight,” he said.
When KING 5 asked police about the policy for the area, a spokesperson replied by email: “We will not be checking identification of residents.” When sent the video, they did not respond further.
Capt. Grenon chalked it up to an evolving situation in the former CHOP, which is still under the Mayor’s executive order, but said Friday afternoon that no ID checks will be done going forward.
“No, they will not be checked,” Grenon said.