A Slog tipper just sent this video that may shed more light on the clashes at the dance-party protest near last night's Pride festivities. Seattle police and witnesses have offered dramatically divergent accounts of what led up to police pepper-spraying people and arresting six suspects, with officers citing the use of pepper spray as a direct response to assault and unruly behavior. But John writes: "The video clearly shows that the man they arrested for assault did not initiate any physical confrontation with police. I was also present, and witnessed no attack on the commander."
The video is a little overwrought, especially the beginning and the end, but you should definitely watch it:
With the caveat that this is just one video and not the final word on the situation: The footage appears to show a man standing near the curb, arms by his side, looking toward the middle of Madison Street, when an officer rushes up and blasts him in the face with pepper-spray. The man is then pulled to the ground. The man was later charged with assault, the video says (and the SPD blotter says one of the suspects hit with pepper spray was charged with assault). There's no way to know if this guy had assaulted police earlier, but this video seems to show that he's not touching any cops—nor close to any cops—when the officer hits him with the pepper spray.
As the video points out, the city's 20/20 policing reform plan specifically calls for using pepper spray as "a self-defense tool, or as a last resort option when all other legal, effective force options have been exhausted." (The cops certainly don't appear to be defending themselves or in a last-resort situation—based on this limited footage—when they spray this man.) The cop wielding the spray, the video further alleges, is one of the key lieutenants appointed to implement the 20/20 policing reform plan.