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Monday, October 10, 2011

Police Order Protesters to Evacuate Westlake or Be Arrested (Updated)

Posted by on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 11:12 PM

After a week of occupying Westlake Park, several Occupy Seattle protesters report that police officers have told them to leave the area (the park officially closes at 10:00 p.m.) or face arrest. Here's one of the latest updates:


Stacks of updates after the jump.

Some mixed messages are coming our way. Some people say this was ordered by Mayor Mike McGinn, just hours after he gave a speech at Occupy Seattle, while others believe police are doing this on their own (which would be odd, given that the police department reports to the mayor). McGinn's communications staff haven't answered phones or replied to email. Paul Constant is en route and will soon have an update. Stay tuned.

Follow on Twitter at #OccupySeattle.

UPDATE at 11:20 PM: Paul just arrived on the scene, where there are 50 to 60 protesters. "They were told to decamp, and anyone who stayed would be arrested," Paul says. Protesters are now standing on the sidewalk, chanting, and the park itself is filled with a bunch of abandoned tarps. Bizarrely, police reportedly told protesters that if "they just keep marching around the block, they won't be arrested."

UPDATE at 11:27 PM: Paul reports with an update. Lt. Nollette confirms the protesters' account, saying, "Everybody was advised twice that the park closes at 10:00 p.m. and that they could be subject to arrest." Asked if the mayor knew about this, she said, "I have no idea. " Asked who gave her the orders, she laughed a creepy laugh and pointed to the police patch on her jacket. Had she spoken with Chief John Diaz? "No."

UPDATE at 11:29 PM: How much money has Mayor Mike McGinn spent policing the Occupy Seattle protests? KIRO reports McGinn has spent $30,000 on cops, mostly on overtime.

UPDATE at 11:41 PM: A representative of the mayor's office is reportedly heading to the scene as the protesters attempt to protect The People's Library from the sweep.

UPDATE at 11:58 PM: Here's video of cops telling protesters they'll be arrested if they don't leave. There's not much to it, just the novelty of videos getting posted online really fast. Oooh, this appears to be a livestream.

UPDATE at 12:08 AM: In case you're wondering, the mayor's media people are completely unresponsive to phone calls, text messages, and email. By several accounts (including this one), McGinn gave protesters another day, but now cops are clearing the park sooner. Has McGinn lost his handle on the police department?

UPDATE at 12:10 AM: The official OccupySeattle feed reports: "No arrests tonight. Mayor's Office has come down to let everyone know that, but they 'can't say the same for tomorrow night.'" In other words, it appears the McGinn had lost control over his own police department and sent someone to intervene.

UPDATE at 12:39 AM: Police on the loudspeaker have now issued a fourth order to disperse. A rep from the mayor's office refuses to speak to Paul Constant at the scene.

UPDATE at 12:51 AM: As per the livefeed that just went dead, the group has called a special assembly. Speakers believe that police don't intend to arrest them, but rather plan to continue repeating loudspeaker announcements that the park is closed in a an attempt to keep them awake all night. Protesters note that 7-11 is selling coffee. A man just announced: "I just want to say that the mayor and police chief are obviously having a political battle and we are caught in between. We should continue to occupy this park."

UPDATE at 1:23 PM: On Twitter, Phil Mocek (who you should follow) writes: "21 people standing arms locked in front of the two police cars, singing. [Lt.] Nollette just drove away."


Comments (30) RSS

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ryanayr 1
The 37th Democrats voted in support of the Occupy protesters tonight. Pete Holmes and McGinn were there.
Posted by ryanayr on October 10, 2011 at 11:17 PM · Report this
asteria 2
I'm sure the cops are tired of standing around outside in this rain and decided to clear them out.

I'm wondering what is so special about occupying Westlake all night - why not just during the day, when people are around?
Posted by asteria on October 10, 2011 at 11:37 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 3
You know, it would be funny if you guys did a piece that detailed legally who IS in control of SPD. Who has the authority to tell them what to do? I mean, at this point, why not? Destroy some egos. Start a shit storm with it. Diaz and McGinn are apparently not in control, so who is?

McGinn, the Mayor, announces these people can stay in the park. The police say they're clearing it out. Are or are not the cops employees that answer to the elected mayor? If they're not, what is their legal standing for who controls them? Is or is it not their role to simply execute enforcement of the law and defined city policy positions?

If McGinn gave the order either way, it's a public record. Burn someone at the stake if they clear the park against OR under orders. McGinn if he gave the order to clear the park; the cop who superceded him if SPD went against orders to not clear the park.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on October 10, 2011 at 11:38 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 4
SPD just began the raid according to twitter--minutes AFTER the live TV news broadcasts all ended at 11:35 pm. What the fuck.

Dom, seriously, do it. Set this shit on journalistic fire and destroy every city official and police ego within sight.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on October 10, 2011 at 11:39 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 5
Now it's being reported that SPD is ordering media away from the area.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on October 10, 2011 at 11:44 PM · Report this
Occupy Philadelphia is encamped at City Hall and a special unit of police trained in civil rights protect us. What's wrong with camping at your City Hall?
Posted by Annie Who on October 10, 2011 at 11:45 PM · Report this
asteria 7
McGinn never said they could stay at Westlake - he's repeatedly said he wants them to move to City Hall. Also isn't the carousel going to go up soon?
Posted by asteria on October 10, 2011 at 11:48 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 8
@7 He gave them until tomorrow.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on October 10, 2011 at 11:56 PM · Report this
Um, since when do the police get to order the media to do shit? I mean, if they're on private property I suppose they could enforce trespassing, but if the media is on a public sidewalk filming something happening on private property, the police can get fucked. Am I missing something?
Posted by JenV on October 10, 2011 at 11:57 PM · Report this
@ 6, Philadelphia City Hall is a gorgeous historic structure that is part of the very heart of the city; Seattle City Hall is a dull out of the way building nobody goes to who doesn't have to. The only park in the busy middle of downtown is Westlake. It ain't much of a public square but it's what we got.
Posted by gloomy gus on October 11, 2011 at 12:00 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 11
@7 McGinn told them they didn't have to move until tomorrow. SPD apparently went rogue.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on October 11, 2011 at 12:01 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 12
Live stream from Westlake:…
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on October 11, 2011 at 12:04 AM · Report this
Wonder about the twitter mentions that it's happening in several cities at once tonight. Some sort of Conference of Mayors coordinated thong?
Posted by gloomy gus on October 11, 2011 at 12:05 AM · Report this
Er, "thing".
Posted by gloomy gus on October 11, 2011 at 12:07 AM · Report this
asteria 15
@13 is that like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?
Posted by asteria on October 11, 2011 at 12:14 AM · Report this
asteria 16
RE the 12:08 update - maybe there was a misunderstanding, or maybe the city was planning on clearing them out tonight. I never saw anything in writing from the mayor.
Posted by asteria on October 11, 2011 at 12:18 AM · Report this
Tremendous real-time reporting! Thank you!
Posted by thefamiliar on October 11, 2011 at 12:30 AM · Report this
They are getting raided again. Sounds like orders from the parks department.
Posted by Go Occupiers on October 11, 2011 at 12:39 AM · Report this
thanks for reporting this.
Posted by mud on October 11, 2011 at 1:01 AM · Report this
The police guild is in control, who else... Not all unions are for the people, especially not the police unions... The salaries benefits and legal protections that police guild created over the years for its officers is beyond absurd. They pretty much have absolute control over taxpayers, unless a taxpayer can hire a $15-$25K lawyer to sue them... that of course if that taxpayer is still alive after the encounter with police... What a free country from hell! I think even the president stopped saying that we got freedom in America... What we got is more like freeDOOM, haha!
Posted by mikey on October 11, 2011 at 1:47 AM · Report this
Raindog 21
I did not see police ordering media away. In fact, media were still there when I left, which was after 1am. Cops were continuing intimidation tactics, telling us they would keep lights flashing all night "until we leave," and making hourly announcements over their loudspeakers to the effect that anyone remaining in the park was "subject to arrest." This despite numerous reports that mayor's office said no arrests tonight.

If you sympathize at all with this movement, please show your support by being there anytime you can. In particular, I believe it will be critical to have a large presence at 10pm Tuesday when they try again to close the park.
Posted by Raindog on October 11, 2011 at 1:55 AM · Report this
Mayor McGinn is so uncool and it's totally unfair he won't let people camp after hours and he never lets us do ANYTHING!

In other words, grow the fuck up. I know you guys could really use a Mayor Vernon Wormer right now to be your foil, but you don't have that. You're all just trying too hard. It's sad. People are getting swung at in NYC and mortared in Syria, and you're stressing about spending the night in a rainy patch of concrete where not a single financial firm exists. Seriously, who are they protesting? Starbucks? Sephora? Abercrombie & Fitch (okay, that last one I can see)?

Let me know when a cop pepper-sprays a group of non-aggressive women, or swings a baton into a crowd, or opens fire, Syrian style. If someone charges into the crowd on camelback, I definitely want to know. But if I see another story about how someone was threatened for arrest for trying to sleep under an umbrella after-hours in the park, I'm going to... fall alseep.

How about some details of what the protesters ideas and opinions on things not umbrella- or pointless march-related? I can only assume they have little interesting to say. The one post you had on speakers today was really just about how lame McGinn is.

You know what's lame? Being 2900 miles away from the real movement and being desperately conscious of it.
Posted by madcap on October 11, 2011 at 2:23 AM · Report this
Way to be divisive, madcap. Insincere much?
Posted by unity on October 11, 2011 at 3:02 AM · Report this
Red_Fox Gaia 24

"True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. Freedom" 
"Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth." 
"Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists." 
"There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still." 
"Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort." 
"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power." ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
"When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure." - Thomas Jefferson
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."- John F. Kennedy
Posted by Red_Fox Gaia on October 11, 2011 at 3:11 AM · Report this
Baconcat 25
Oh please, after dizzy establishment types kept decrying the Mayor as an outsider who wouldn't be able to control anything, everyone is surprised that the cops are completely out of his control? The same cop with a guild prez that decried our socialism? Cops who heckle the AIDS walk?

If you tell the cops they don't need to respect the wishes of the Exec, that's exactly what they'll do. Welcome to Burgessville.
Posted by Baconcat on October 11, 2011 at 7:38 AM · Report this
Isn't Nolette the one who drove off with an assault rifle on the back of her cruiser?
Posted by ghendrix on October 11, 2011 at 8:40 AM · Report this
If they are allowed to flout pre-existing rules on when you can use the park then when the teabaggers did the same thing they would have to let them. Or hell any group of people who wanted to camp in the park. Otherwise they'd get a nice lawsuit thrown their way.

Free speech has never entailed the right to break prestanding rules on the use of public space that are necessary for legitimate government interests like sanitation, noise, flow of traffic, etc.
Posted by giffy on October 11, 2011 at 9:56 AM · Report this
I imagine one reason protesters don't want to relocate is because they know the goalposts are just going to be moved again...remember when the only bone of contention was the use of the park by other groups (who were quick to show their solidarity)? That was less than a week ago. Then it was all about the tents (which were taken down and everything was fine for another couple of days). Now it seems to be a contest over who can stay outside in the rain the longest...without sleep.

It's to the mayor's advantage to sweep this away from the public eye as far as possible. There's no reason to believe this would stop at City Hall.

Also, the increased tension between protesters and SPD (we've been saying all along that police are themselves part of the 99%) has to be making someone really happy right now...beware of provocateurs and stay peaceful!
Posted by Card Zero on October 11, 2011 at 10:00 AM · Report this

People keep getting caught up in the "OCCUPATION" part of this protest without remembering that the law does not care.
Posted by The CHZA on October 11, 2011 at 10:33 AM · Report this
@ 28 police is so not 99%. they are in the league of their own. They rob and terrorize taxpayers with their union. have very selfish agenda in our society and an absolute power. Besides making $100K salaries and full benefits for such a low education level employment, officers have almost absolute legal protection from taxpayers. Investigating and controlling police is impossible in this 'free' country, unless you rich and can hire expensive lawyers...
Posted by mikey on October 24, 2011 at 6:04 PM · Report this

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