What the hell is City Attorney Pete Holmes, who filed gross misdemeanors charges against eight protesters arrested earlier this week, doing at Westlake Park and wearing an "Occupy Seattle" button?
"Cheering them on!" he declares.
So he's cheering on the, uh, people he's prosecuting?
It wasn't Holmes's call to arrest protesters on Wednesday, he says. "I'm not the boss of the Seattle Police Department... My number one job is to work with the SPD and make sure everyone will be kept safe," says Holmes. "I have to be in touch with the decisions from the executive [aka, Mayor Mike McGinn] and working along with the SPD to make sure we are implementing lawful orders."
There's a paddy wagon a few blocks away, and at 5:00 p.m. there's an unpermitted march. Those people could get arrested—will they get charged? Holmes wouldn't comment on that, but earlier this week, he did announce “protesters were offered the option to be peaceably arrested and released without going to jail; understand that only those who refused this path were booked into jail.” By my reading, he's saying that the civil protesters were busted and released and those who physically pushed back against police were prosecuted. The people getting charged so far are folks who, as Holmes puts it, "took the more difficult path."
Back to cheering on the protesters. Holmes explains to The Stranger's Westlake Bureau why he supports the Occupy movement. "I hate sanitized terms like 'economic injustice,' but it's so obvious to everyone that the system is broken," he says. For instance, Holmes explains, Congress has bailed out banks with "hundreds of billion of dollars" but they refused to even hold a hearing for a bill that would empower judges to restructure home mortgages. "Real reform is lacking," he says.
"This is what still working in America: people collectively speaking out."