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Monday, June 25, 2012

Yet Another Account of the Police Going Nuts on Pride Celebrants and Protesters Last Weekend

Posted by on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 3:46 PM

We've already posted a few accounts and video of Saturday night's melee in Capitol Hill, when police trying to rein in a raucous protest/dance party in the street turned on pepper spray and made six arrests. Police characterized the use of pepper spray as a targeted tactic against certain offenders (the department's policy goal is to use pepper spray only as a last resort or in self defense). But a growing chorus of witnesses suggest cops' accounts may not be entirely accurate. Witnesses say that the Seattle Police Department used excessive force—which jibes with a federal investigation that found Seattle cops using a pattern of excessive force—by turning pepper spray on people who didn't pose any threat to officers or could have been apprehended by other means. Despite two requests today, police and the mayor's office haven't taken the chance to respond to these claims from witnesses.

So here's the account of another witness, Megan Touhey, who says police became "unnecessarily violent" and insulting:

The march/dance party started outside of the Cuff a little before 1 AM—it was a word-of-mouth happening and it was a beautiful thing to see so many people take back the streets. When the Seattle Police Department decided to put an end to our gathering (near the intersection of 14th and Madison), they headed off the march with dozens of squad cars and were dressed in riot gear. No one even had a CHANCE to comply with their demands to get to the sidewalk before they began to use excessive force. I didn't have a CHANCE to move before I was grabbed by my backpack and thrown forward.

When I turned around to look at the officer who grabbed me, I was pushed with a nightstick and told "KEEP MOVING!!" Right in front of me, my friend couldn't protect her face as she was hoisted by BOTH ARMS by two MALE officers and shoved to the ground and called a "stupid dyke," while she was yelling "I'm peaceful, I'm peaceful!"

After we were all on the sidewalk they continued to spray mace. We got the hell out of there as fast as we could—difficult when you have pepper spray in your eyes and nose and throat—and moved down the street to a more neutral location. Once we had some time to get our breathing and eyesight back to normal and calmed down as much as possible, we tried to approach several officers about the process of filing a complaint. Most of them wouldn't even make eye contact with us. It was as though we didn't exist. One male officer told us to file a complaint online; he wasn't going to help us. He then got in a squad car without finishing the interaction and that was that.

Let me tell you, there is nothing more terrifying than being violated, repeatedly—and then ignored, repeatedly—by the very people that are supposed to protect and serve you.

I would hate to see this incident get swept under the rug; I know you all do everything you can to make sure there is coverage of horrible events like this. I obviously can't speak for everyone in the crowd and don't know whether or not any members of the group became violent with/provoked police, but I do know that several officers were absolutely using unnecessary force against me and my friend.

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." Can the city explain how it used pepper spray in self-defense in this situation, or how this was the last resort and that all other options had been exhausted? The city still hasn't answered that question.

 

Comments (26) RSS

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Baconcat 1
"Stupid dyke"?

That SPD IGB video is looking more and more like a disgusting joke.
Posted by Baconcat on June 25, 2012 at 3:50 PM · Report this
TVDinner 2
I felt a pang when I read Baconcat's cynical comment on the SPD's "It Gets Better" video thread, but it appears his cynicism was well-placed.

Keep holding their feet to the fire on this. It's breathtaking both for its brazenness and contempt of ordinary citizens. Maybe it's time to fire the whole lot of them and start from scratch.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on June 25, 2012 at 4:04 PM · Report this
3
Only 7% of the SPD live with in Seattle city limits. They aren't us.

Posted by TravisConquest on June 25, 2012 at 4:06 PM · Report this
Rotten666 4
Stupid dyke?

I'm calling bullshit on this one.
Posted by Rotten666 on June 25, 2012 at 4:12 PM · Report this
Baconcat 5
@4: Ah, the classic "lying bitch" retort. Nobody insults women or lesbians EVER! War on women? Anti-gay rhetoric? Not anymore!

Congratulations, you've solved feminism and cured homophobia!! Here's your prize:
Posted by Baconcat on June 25, 2012 at 4:16 PM · Report this
6
I hadn't even thought of people like Megan until now. She and her friends can't have been the only ones attracted to join what was meant to look like just a fun spontaneous dance party near closing time on Pride weekend. Megan had no way of knowing that in fact it was an event whose orchestrators' aim was to draw in happy Pride bystanders while they got down to their business of provoking cops. And, as Dominic notes, these cops are very, very well known to overreact.

The organizers expected the cops to do something film ably severe. That was their goal. The organizers did their windowbreaking stuff same time last year, the cops figured they were going to repeat it so got ready, and the damn script played out just like the organizers hoped - for the cameras. That the organizers cared not a bit how many others like Megan they drew into the danger zone tells us everything we need to know about them.

Megan was terrified and hurt and insulted, and the organizers were DAMN well hoping she would be. That she should write such a moving plea blaming only the cops must make the organizers clap for joy.
Posted by gloomy gus on June 25, 2012 at 4:19 PM · Report this
7
All my life I have granted the police what I thought was a rational degree of trust and respect. I knew they messed up from time to time but I believed on the whole they were decent people. Well, that shit is over.
Posted by rubus on June 25, 2012 at 4:21 PM · Report this
8
So given a hypothetical person with a history of potentially life-threatening asthma is similarly attacked, without provocation and against written policy, by a SPD thug using unauthorized pepper spray, and the asthmatic has a concealed carry permit, when they they're forced to defend themselves from deadly assault under color of authority by shooting the pig they can claim self-defense right?
Posted by BiCycleRider on June 25, 2012 at 4:27 PM · Report this
Baconcat 9
@6: She called it a march and praised the takeover of the streets, I'm pretty sure she was aware of the protest element.

There's nothing disgusting about you calling her clueless and then victim blaming, nothing at all. Poor girl must have had a touch of hysteria or maybe her male guardian lost track of her. Either way the defenseless lass was ensnared by evil predators that preyed on her feminine inclinations. To the fainting couch!
Posted by Baconcat on June 25, 2012 at 4:28 PM · Report this
10
@ 7 Is it? Yeah there have been several incidents with the SPD but right now we are only hearing one side of the story, go watch the local news you get a very different take.
Posted by Seattle14 on June 25, 2012 at 4:29 PM · Report this
bhowie 11
@6: Yes, armed thugs beat the shit out of people and sprayed chemicals on them without warning so we should respond by concern-trolling about the organizers' intentions.

@10: What is the 'other side' of this?: "No one even had a CHANCE to comply with their demands to get to the sidewalk before they began to use excessive force. I didn't have a CHANCE to move before I was grabbed by my backpack and thrown forward."
Posted by bhowie on June 25, 2012 at 4:37 PM · Report this
12
Ah, the Baconcat signature dish, skewed restatement in projection sauce.
Posted by gloomy gus on June 25, 2012 at 4:42 PM · Report this
13
I strongly suspect that the city will NOT be responding.

Does anyone know the names of the FBI investigators who were here recently, and hopefully know how to contact them? If we want justice, we need them back.
Posted by TechBear on June 25, 2012 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Baconcat 16
@12: Oh, that Baconcat! Always disagreeing with things, always sassing. How dare he!
Posted by Baconcat on June 25, 2012 at 4:56 PM · Report this
17
The usual pea-brain, utterly dismissible "we're so oppressed" militant faggery versus cops with an axe to grind and something to prove using their badges as an excuse to act out the violent fantasies most other small-dicked macho men only get to fap to. All while the rest of us had an absolutely awesome Pride weekend. Witness how unsurprised I am by any of it.
Posted by pheeeew!crack!boom! on June 25, 2012 at 4:59 PM · Report this
Timrrr 18
I'm so tired of this bullshit. Get your terms right, kids:

It was protester-bashing at work here not gay-bashing!

(Not that one is better or worse than the other, but it is an important distinction nevertheless.)
Posted by Timrrr on June 25, 2012 at 5:13 PM · Report this
Baconcat 19
@17: It's like Stonewall! Well, kinda -- unlike the raid at Stonewall, the fighting back and protests that spawned our yearly bacchanal this dance party throwdown doesn't give you an excuse to give drunken handies in the Cuff Dogrun while wearing corporate swag.

But don't let history get you down! Party on, my oblivious friend!
Posted by Baconcat on June 25, 2012 at 5:34 PM · Report this
bhowie 20
@17: Um, have you read up on the origins of your holiday?
Posted by bhowie on June 25, 2012 at 6:28 PM · Report this
raku 21
To be fair, look at SPD's point of view: they really don't like gays, they like hurting people, and they can do anything they want without any consequences. Remember, there are two sides to every story!
Posted by raku on June 25, 2012 at 6:35 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 23
Well, you can't really blame them there, now, can you, raku? I mean, who the fuck likes gays? Nobody, really. And for all the time I've spent hanging out around them here, it's only managed to make me dislike them less than I did before. They're not very nice people, in case you haven't already noticed.

Fucking assholes is what they are, to be perfectly honest.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on June 25, 2012 at 7:50 PM · Report this
24
"there is nothing more terrifying than being violated, repeatedly"

Nothing more terrifying? Really? Yet you then approached these terrifying people to find out how to file a complaint? You needed help to file a complaint? Really?
Posted by Jacob Lyu on June 25, 2012 at 9:41 PM · Report this
Rotten666 25
@5 Well I guess you just won the internet. You're a real hero.
Posted by Rotten666 on June 26, 2012 at 8:02 AM · Report this
26
@1: I don't feel bad for having given the SPD IGB video a side-eye when it was posted now.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on June 26, 2012 at 8:55 AM · Report this
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on June 27, 2012 at 7:35 AM · Report this
28
So I've looked at a few of these 'police brutality/harassment' videos and I still don't see what all this belly-aching is about. It looks to me like officers walking down the street doing their job while someone is stalking them with a camera hoping that they do something that can be blown out of proportions. What do you want the police to do? Should they sit in the cruiser and just look out the window until things get bad enough that they have to use the external mic? In the video using the link above there are people all over the street, one guy is jumping on a car and sprayed something in the general direction of a policeman below, the other officers seem to be observing people leaving while at least one person has nothing better to do than wander through an area where people are being asked to leave with his/her fingers crossed hoping to capture something titilating. Why not try to comply with the police and work with them instead of assuming (falsly) that they're out to get you/bust heads. From what people are writing you'd think the police are standing around in cut-off shirts holding beers and verbally abusing people between handing out random beatings.
Posted by monkeyknuckle on September 11, 2012 at 10:01 AM · Report this
29
So I've looked at a few of these 'police brutality/harassment' videos and I still don't see what all this belly-aching is about. It looks to me like officers walking down the street doing their job while someone is stalking them with a camera hoping that they do something that can be blown out of proportions. What do you want the police to do? Should they sit in the cruiser and just look out the window until things get bad enough that they have to use the external mic? In the video using the link above there are people all over the street, one guy is jumping on a car and sprayed something in the general direction of a policeman below, the other officers seem to be observing people leaving while at least one person has nothing better to do than wander through an area where people are being asked to leave with his/her fingers crossed hoping to capture something titilating. Why not try to comply with the police and work with them instead of assuming (falsly) that they're out to get you/bust heads. From what people are writing you'd think the police are standing around in cut-off shirts, listening to Molly Hachet, holding beers and verbally abusing people between handing out random beatings.
Posted by monkeyknuckle on September 11, 2012 at 10:06 AM · Report this

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