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City of Seattle

November 16, 3:08 PM click here to comment > 92

Statement on Occupy Seattle protest march

For the last six weeks, Seattle has been working to address issues raised by the Occupy Seattle movement and its protest actions. My instruction to police and other city departments has been to protect free speech rights, protect public safety of protesters and the public, and protect other legitimate public and private uses of property.

Last night, the police used pepper spray in two separate incidents, and many are now questioning whether the police use of force was appropriate to the circumstances. I have seen video and written descriptions of the incidents.

To those engaged in peaceful protest, I am sorry that you were pepper sprayed. I spoke to Dorli Rainey (who I know personally) to ask how she was doing, and to ask for her description of events.

I also called in Seattle Police Chief John Diaz and the command staff to review the actions of last night. They agreed that this was not their preferred outcome. Here are the steps we are taking in response, to achieve a better outcome next time:

• Reviewing with our officers the deployment of pepper spray last night
• Developing a procedure to ensure appropriate commanders are on the ground at these kinds of events.
• Making sure that we have appropriate levels of police resources at protest events.

We all need to acknowledge the challenges that we face. Many in Seattle recall the World Trade Organization protest in 1999 and the Mardi Gras riot in 2001. In both instances insufficient attention and preparation led to severe public safety issues.

We also do not want overly aggressive enforcement to exacerbate the situation. We have been relying on the line officers to exercise extraordinary judgment and restraint in tough circumstances. And as Occupy Seattle heads into its sixth week, tensions appear to be getting higher. Defusing those tensions is important. Just as we are going to work to ensure we are doing all we can to protect free speech and public safety, Occupy Seattle needs to work with us too. That includes ensuring that everyone participating in their protests understands the importance of nonviolence.

The underlying frustration with our unfair economic circumstances remains. I share the message and values of the Occupy Seattle movement, and want to work with them and others to meet our goals of protecting free speech rights, protecting public safety of protesters and the public, and protecting other legitimate public and private uses of property.

Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn


Comment from Joey B
Time November 16, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Mr. Mayor, this SPD’s use of pepper spray against non-violent protestors was not an isolated incident. I myself was sprayed outside the Sheration on Nov 2nd on a city sidewalk. Three to four officers sprayed over 20 non-violent protestors including a Seattle Weekly reporter. Here’s the video:

In 1997, Amnesty International had this to say:

“The increasing use of pepper spray by police departments in the US despite conflicting studies into its safety is alarming. While many police departments authorize the spray only if officers face a serious physical threat, we are receiving increasing reports of its misuse — such as against suspects after they were already restrained or against peaceful demonstrators.”

“Amnesty International believes there should be a national review of the use of pepper spray by law enforcement agencies in the USA. Police departments who authorize the spray should also introduce strict guidelines and limitations on its use and observe international human rights standards on the use of force and prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The human rights organization believes that the USA has defied its solemn obligation under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. ”

I call on you to end the SPD’s use of pepper spray in all non-life threatening instances. If somebody is breaking the law they should be arrested, not have their lives put in danger.

Comment from Jeff Vaona
Time November 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Are we again going to have to accept that these and other police officers will not and never be punished for the obscene, appalling, and profoundly cowardly acts committed here in OUR CITY? I am disgusted with the SPD and their incompetence. The respect and honor of those fine officers who sincerely wish to help the community is daily being tarnished by the cowards hiding behind riot shields; beating innocent people up; pepper-spraying students, pregnant women, and octogenarians. And no one is punished! An armed force consistently waging war on un-armed, peaceful protesters. This all makes me and countless others…sick!

Comment from J. Glenn & Barbara Evans
Time November 16, 2011 at 11:28 pm

I can understand why police officers would not want to display their names because of possible personal retribution, but I see no reason why the administration does not require them to wear a number that can be traced internally and corrective action taken.

Also, I am very upset that some of our finest citizens such a Dorli Rainey and Rev. Lang or anyone else for that matter were so treated. What are the 1% asking for, another French Revolution?
J. Glenn Evans and Barbara Evans

Comment from Kanti
Time November 16, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Thank you for all that you are doing in our favor Mr. Mayor! Your positive efforts to deal with so many issues do not go unnoticed!

Comment from Chaim Eliyah
Time November 17, 2011 at 12:35 am

Mayor, once again, thank you for your vapid support of the Occupy movement. Honestly, I was touched when I saw you on your bicycle at the Williams candlelight vigil, and I was touched when you visited Occupy Seattle to speak about jobs (what politician wouldn’t?)–but you kicked Occupy out of Westlake, and you have now allowed SPD to cross the line yet again.

Here’s a hint: The Seattle Police Department is not your friend. Every officer I have talked to wants you out. This is because cops have a natural desire to go around killing woodcarvers and pepper-spraying protestors. It’s what they join the force for.

I checked the box next to your name because I saw labor endorsements and the Sierra Club. Do yourself a favor; quit the political grandstanding and stick to your base. This is Seattle. You help us, we’ll help you.

–Disgruntled protestor

Pingback from Seattle Mayor apologizes for police enforcement | Fellowship of the Minds
Time November 17, 2011 at 6:46 am

[…] Mayor Mike McGinn released a statement on Wednesday afternoon after the Occupy Seattle’s encounter with the Seattle Police Tuesday […]

Comment from Kathryn Beach
Time November 17, 2011 at 7:27 am

I agree with both Steve Hunt and Raphael Block. What needs to happen is for Occupy Everywhere to establish common ground with the police, fire, and other agencies, and for everyone involved to communicate with those who have found workable solutions. Let’s be as inclusive as we can in finding answers. Violence is not acceptable on either side of this equation. Hopefully we can stay focused on the real problems, while using this as a way to embody the world as we wish to create it.

Pingback from Occupy Seattle Baptized in Pepper Spray « Java Colleen's Jitters
Time November 17, 2011 at 7:34 am

[…] did apologize to Dorli Rainey (whom he knows personally) and the others, and I was glad to see his statement on the city website. I have to say, after reading the Mayor’s comments in the Seattle Times article after hearing […]

Comment from Andrea
Time November 17, 2011 at 7:59 am

This is absolutely inexcusable! Maybe the SPD needs a reminder that the crowd that they’re pepper spraying — which included elderly people, a pregnant woman, and a priest in full regalia — is the same tax paying crowd that pays their salaries?

The biggest problem that I have with this, is that every account I’ve heard makes it sound as though the protesters were COMPLYING with the SPD’s instructions to move, but they were blocked from doing so by the SPD and then treated with overt aggression. So basically, the protesters were set up by the police so that the police would have an excuse to use force.

I fail to see the “extraordinary judgment and restraint” that you’ve described, and I urge you and the SPD to handle these non violent protesters… well, non violently.

Comment from Joey B
Time November 17, 2011 at 9:05 am

Seattle is becoming a world-wide joke. Your apology is as well.

Comment from Mia
Time November 17, 2011 at 10:09 am

If you were REALLY “sorry” this happened, you’d fire the police chief responsible for ordering it!!

Comment from Mark Drummond
Time November 17, 2011 at 10:55 am

Seattle needs an independent, elected civilian review board that has the power to investigate the police and reprimand members of the force that are found to have broken protocol or our laws. Police officers are not above the law. Just because they have the uniform on does not mean they can get away with blatant brutality towards the citizenry. I agree with Rafael, the city and the SPD need to be able to anticipate and plan rather than react and apologize.

Comment from Elizabeth Rurey
Time November 17, 2011 at 10:57 am

We must remember that this is a government that was designed to be “Of the people, for the people, by the people.” It has become a society of Of the corporations, for the corporations, by the corporations. The public is aware that the FBI and so called Home Land Security are involved in shutting down these movements. So, those people who are supposed to protect our right to protest are bought as well?

Comment from Cindy
Time November 17, 2011 at 11:16 am

Aaron, are you aware that Occupy Seattle was INVITED to SCCC?

Comment from Joanna
Time November 17, 2011 at 11:20 am

I second Robert Williams’ comment. Fire Diaz, he is nothing but trouble. I will also not be voting for you.

Comment from J. Glenn & Barbara Evans
Time November 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Thank you for responding. Now Seattle Finest are known nationally. We recognize that tensions are rising and the SPD fears being “injured.” Geez!! They are well armed and shielded. The only violence or “rioting” we’ve seen to date is that by the SPD. We remember well the WTO, Mardi Gras and the 2004 LEIU conference. Virtually all injuries and killings at these events are done by the SPD. What about the unarmed, unshielded peaceful citizens who make up the bulk of the protest movements?

The use of the term “frustration” to describe the current economic situation is weak. There is a war going on against the citizens of this nation and there is a national effort to prevent or control the citizens in exercising their Constitutional 1st Amendment rights. What we should be seeing is a national effort by mayors, city and regional councils and state governments to put pressure on Congress. Our letters and emails go nowhere. Congress and the White House don’t give a damn. We will either stand together or go down together. Enough is enough.

Comment from Ben
Time November 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Congratulations Mr. Mayor. You have have just joined the cadre of petty dictators around the world who turn the military against their own citizens.

Comment from Chris Allen
Time November 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Dear Mr. Mayor
We’ve spoken together on the sidelines watching our children play over the years and I know you are a good man. You now have a singularly unique opportunity to take your vision of the world you want for your children to the next level. You sir, as mayor of a major American city, can tip the “domino” of corporate domination. You know what steps you have the power to take, please do us proud and take them!
Thank you,

Pingback from In Portland, Occupy activists vow to ‘shut down the banks’ | Occupy News
Time November 17, 2011 at 11:11 pm

[…] had said in a statement that he has ordered the Police Department to review the incidents and make sure that […]

Comment from Loren
Time November 18, 2011 at 8:31 am

There is no need for pepper spray. Either have just cause to arrest or let them protest. Get rid of the pepper spray. Now.

Comment from Sharon
Time November 18, 2011 at 9:37 am

Mayor McGinn, Our family normally comes to Seattle the day after Thanksgiving for the parade and one other day during the holiday season to enjoy a live performance, have dinner, shop, etc. This year, we have out-of-state visitors joining us with a minor child. We will not come into the City till we feel our safety is of more concern to you than pandering to the Occupy anarchists. Best regards, Sharon

Comment from Damiana
Time November 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Dear Mr. Mayor–

Thanks for your initial response. I look forward to the real one, where you explain that the officers who violated SPD policy (using violence and chemical weapons in a non-violent situation, when the policy on chemical weapons clearly reserves them for situations when lethal force would otherwise have to be used) are undergoing external independent review and will be appropriately disciplined and retrained, that the entire SPD is undergoing crowd-control training in APPROPRIATE techniques, that the city is working closely with OWS to address all concerns (like, say, finding central public space they can use 24/7, assigning a couple beat cops to work with the encampment, and connecting them with resources for dealing with sanitation issues). I look forward to your transparency on what the DHS is requesting and suggesting, your announcement that the city will be moving all its accounts to local banks and credit unions, and your statement that you will not allow Seattle to become North Oakland.

The buck stops with you, Mr. Mayor. It’s time to put on the big boy pants and live your principles, even if it does make DHS and the big banks mad at you. You do all that, you won’t need to worry about them, ’cause we’ll have your back.

Comment from Kenn Space
Time November 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Dear Mr. President and Mayor McGinn,

There is a very large demonstration being planned for January 20th, 2012 at the Federal Courthouse at 700 Stewart street in Seattle, – and at every Federal Courthouse in the United States.. There are many groups organizing and “gearing up” for this demonstration. I will be promoting and advertising it. This “occupy movement” has only just begun. I suggest you figure out your plan of action and response; The rules of engagement; – Need a way better understanding of what is going on; – than during WTO in Seattle. Treat the people like they are the enemy, and they will become it.

I am hoping that what I say makes sense to someone, and they will start writing and treating this “occupy movement” with the respect it is going to earn. Did you see where Israel had a demonstration of 500,000 people demanding concessions from their government? It worked. Listen to Martin Luther King, his words are as meaningful today as they were then. This struggle for economic justice and government control will be won by the people! (It is very old..).

I feel the occupy movement does have a basic underlying message; Stop letting money decide political elections; And regulate corporate lobbying (and all lobbying) making it a public forum. Right now lobbying is mostly two old white guys sitting across from each other in an office. “They” have probably worked with each other or went to the same school; And “they” have promised you a job when you get out of politics, — tripling your present salary!. The “lobbyist” used to be a “politician”, it worked for him!. Who owns who? – That’s a “Person-hood”.

I lived in the Glenn Hotel in downtown Seattle when the WTO protests happened. It happened at my front door. I was a part of it, promoting it, and involved in it. There is something going on, and I am going to be a part of it again. I have helped organize and promote protests in Bellevue, Olympia, and Seattle Washington; another big one is coming. I feel it will be a “WTO” sized protest in multiple cities.

“I” was at the WTO protests in Seattle Washington, (with thousands of “other” really awesome “people”, and a few “freaks”) when a bunch of “anarchists” started busting windows with crowbars. We surrounded them, and they got in a circle with their crowbars. I tried to get the “Seattle police” to come arrest “these anarchists”, that were only fifty feet away and threatening violence and breaking windows… The “Seattle police” would not budge from their “police line”, making all of “us” the “enemy”…. (There were thousands of “union” and “other” people sitting and standing in the street, – it was a relatively peaceful protest until the windows started breaking…). ” I” am not the “enemy”.

I will be in Seattle at 700 Stewart street at the Federal courthouse January 20th, 2012!!! I know we can do this better than last time.

The Corporate Occupation of the United States

Our corporate controlled government (through corporate lobbying and election funding ) is out of the peoples control. People want government control back. Makes sense to me… I feel US corporate capitalism (corporatism) is a type of economic fascism: To have a corporate being where the chain of command eventually muddles all responsibility to any human being. These corporate beings are running your life, and controlling your government. (Enough to really make an individual mad and protest.) In reality, the corporate being does not exist, and when it comes to face it’s corporate responsibility, it is a piece of paper. (Or a CEO saying; “I do not recall that”, “I did not have that information”, “that was not my responsibility, I was running the company, and not just that department”,,, and on and on. It has bred a corporate culture of abuse, because they keep getting away with it..), Corporate person-hood is plain and simply wrong: A corporation is not a human being. Restore capitalism to individual responsible chains of command, or this struggle will be lost.

Please Sign the petition to amend the Constitution for revoking corporate personhood at:

(I feel January 20th, 2012: will be a bigger day in US history than WTO in Seattle. The battle continues, rage against the machine is real.)

January 20, 2012 – Move to Amend Occupies the Courts!

Move To Amend is planning bold action to mark this date — Occupy the Courts — a one day occupation on Friday January 20, 2012, of the Federal Courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States and as many of the 89 U.S. District Court Buildings as we can. (I am inspired by Doctor Martin Luther King who said; “a true revolution of values”, … “there comes a time when silence is betrayal”., “people are not gonna be silenced”.). Move to Amend will lead the charge on the judiciary which created — and continues to expand — corporate personhood rights.

It’s Time to GET MONEY OUT of politics
Bailouts. War. Unemployment. Our government is bought, and we’re angry. Now, we’re turning our anger into positive action. By signing this petition, you are joining our campaign to get money out of politics. Our politicians won’t do this. But we will. We will become an unrelenting, massive organized wave advocating a Constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.

Please sign the petition!


My friend and I put on a protest in Olympia for World Can’t Wait Oct. 5, 2006 at the capitol. Here are some photos…

I also coordinated and promoted a protest in Bellevue when Bush was there.

Happy to say both worked out without arrest, injury or property damage! I worked with the Washington State Patrol in Olympia, and Bellevue Police beforehand, and we pretty much understood the rules of engagement. Medina police were not good partners..

Comment from Kenn Space
Time November 18, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Occupy The Courts – January 20th, 2012

There is a meeting Saturday December 3rd, 2011, from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm at the Capitol Hill library branch at 425 Harvard Ave. E., in Seattle. This meeting is for the demonstration being planned January 20th, 2012; at the Federal Courthouse at 700 Stewart street in Seattle. ( People and organizations involved, permits, porta potties, promotion, organizing, staging, sound, event speakers, entertainment, first aid, water, and stuff.)..The meeting room is reserved and holds 50 people and I would love to fill it up! Please inform interested people and organizations!) (This event is not sponsored by the Seattle public Library. )

I have done this before and want to progress this demonstration, and the reform of our government. (I have done the permits, porta potties and stuff before, but will be looking for someone who lives in Seattle to do this one. It will make more sense to elected officials that a “constituent” Seattle citizen is doing this. I will help pay for things but probably cannot afford to do it all.).

Please help distribute this information to interested groups and people. I feel the unions, democratic party, republican party, churches, student groups, and “others” need to be informed this is happening. Please help communicate this meeting and demonstration in Seattle! If you can get this event posted to any community events calendars – that would help!

This post explains my feelings more:

Thank YOU,

Kenn Dzaman (Kenn Space)

(I have also let as many Washington State lawmakers, the President, and many “others”, and the Seattle Police and Washington State Patrol know; That a demonstration is happening January 20th, 2012 at 700 Stewart Street in downtown Seattle. As much as I can make it, it will be peaceful.).

Capitol Hill Branch
425 Harvard Ave. E.

Comment from Kenn Space
Time November 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Dear Mayor McGinn,

Did you see were the retired Police Chief of Philadelphia got arrested at occupy NY? He called the NY City police; “‘obnoxious, arrogant and ignorant'”. Now the NYC Police and the Seattle Police have something in common! Please get your officers to respect people and knock off the pepper spay free for all. This occupation movement has just begun, and if the City of Seattle and their police treat them as they have, you are setting up a terrible mess.


Comment from Mike Smith
Time November 18, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I have been and continue to be one of your supporters. I personally know Dorli Rainey and the Reverend Rich Lang, who was also pepper sprayed on Tuesday. I’ve lived downtown at the Pike Market since before the WTO police riots. I vote and I pay attention.

I have never known or heard of anyone being hurt by protestors. It is ALWAYS the “overly aggressive enforcement” that threatens or harms the public’s safety. And the police do it repeatedly, particularly against nonviolent protestors, often while turning a blind eye to agitators and much more serious law breakers.

You reminding protesters that they need to understand “the importance of nonviolence,” is an insult.

My friends were assaulted in public, and you know who did it. Advising the wrong people and talking nice is not what is called for right now.

Step up, Mayor McGinn. I want to keep believing in you.

Comment from N. McClain
Time November 18, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I’ve been at a few protests myself – in Albany, NY and in Washington, DC, among other cities.

It seems that ANY protest is very difficult to contain both from within and from the outside. The Albany protest was about budget cuts to our state universities, yet minority groups co-opted the event for their own purposes and muddled the message. In DC, the protest was pro-Amnesty International, but the Young Communists of America planted themselves front and center.

Rogue wildcards join in with their own agendas or naive “anarchists” decide to take extreme measures.

The fear of mass panic is very real and very palpable both to those involved, and those trying to contain, a protest.

In fact, anyone who has been to a punk or metal concert knows how insane a rowdy group can become up front in the “mosh pit”. It is downright scary when you are physically uprooted and swayed by hundreds or thousands of bodies against your will.

I recently drove home through downtown around 6:30 and was suddenly surrounded by protesters swarming the street (6th Ave.) My car became an island and I was trapped for about 15 minutes as the people just chanted and marched by us. My preschooler became very frightened so I told her to wave to the protestors, and they waved back.

I happen to support most of what Occupy stands for, but even so, I was not pleased to be forced into the middle of it, completely no warning.

Also – it hit me that if ANYTHING went south, I’d be stuck there with my preschooler and would either have to abandon my car or…I wasn’t even sure what I would do. If shots were fired or tear gas was thrown – I wouldn’t have time or be able to take off my seat belt and remove my daughter from her carseat behind me in order to escape.

For some reason, the street was NOT blocked off – no signage anywhere. We had heard some of the chanting in the background and I had assumed the protestors were in the square/park where they usually are, contained in one place, not moving through.

Of course, it may seem irrational to panic, but that’s what happens when you are in a crowd and get swept up in it. I was irritated that the agenda was being “forced” upon us – in that there was a lot of shaking signs right at us and waving peace hand gestures into our faces, plus some were smacking the car, etc.

I thought to myself: I already AGREE with you, so you are wasting your time here, but you’re also putting me in a position where if we were having an emergency or my daughter suddenly needed to use the bathroom, I would be trapped.

On the other hand, I though to myself, if I DIDN’T agree – this display would do NOTHING to convince me.

We need useful, strategic tasks to put the point across. I am moving to a credit union (BECU) from B of A, for instance. That is a GREAT way to make a stand, even if the big banks don’t seem to care that us small potatoes are leaving.

Anyway – after the crowd moved on, one lone police officer on a bike zipped by me and gave me the “I don’t know” shoulder scrunch/smirk.

I thought it was illegal to jaywalk – I guess filling up an avenue and walking against traffic is OK? Odd.

Comment from Greg Smith
Time November 18, 2011 at 3:00 pm

God forbid the protestors “violently” link arms. That will likely unleash the dogs of hell, though I’m sure you’ll be appropriately discomfited after-the-fact.

Let’s be honest. You’re in a tough spot. You don’t want to alienate the Police Department and you don’t want to alienate the Seattle power brokers who just want these protestors to go away. We get that.

But, like it or not, you’re the mayor of a major city at an unprecedented point in our history. Not since the 1920’s has so much power and wealth been concentrated in so few hands. Our police force is shockingly militarized. The federal DHS encourages a mindset that equates citizen civil disobedience with terrorism. Many police officers have gotten their initial training in Iraq and Afghanistan and have developed an “act first, think later” approach to perceived “threats.”

This is the reality of 2011, and YOU have to decide if you’re committed to maintaining the current inequities and injustices of the status quo OR if you’re committed to facilitating the transition to a more just society.

If the latter, then you MUST rein in the violent excesses of the SPD. That means investigations, suspensions, firings and prosecutions where warranted. More “training” doesn’t cut it if there are no consequences for ignoring that training.

You KNOW this. You also know that the nation’s current course is unsustainable. Hopefully, that profoundly needed change in direction will come about peacefully.

This is your moment in history, Mr. Mayor. Ten, twenty years from now your children and grandchildren will be living with the legacy of your actions today. What role will you have played during these turbulent times?

Comment from Nate
Time November 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I think most of you believe any use of force by police is automatically excessive. If someone is shot, they should have beed Tased. Tased and they should have been maced. Maced and they should have been handed daisies and sent on their way. Sometimes force is required by police. I only saw mace being used when items were being thrown at the police line, so it was appropriate.

Comment from Thomas
Time November 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm

This is about as tepid and flaccid as what I’d expect from the mayor who has himself and his bicycle chauffeured (discreetly, up the road) to public events in a Suburban.

Comment from Screwed Again
Time November 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Mr. Mayor,

You should set an example for the Chief of Police and step down. You, as the overall head of the city, should take whole responsibility for the Police’s actions – after all, you profess to speak for the whole city when you apologize.

Step down now, Mr. Mayor

Comment from Ann-Marie Stillion
Time November 18, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Dear Mayor,

By most accounts, including the reporting of the police newsletter on KING5 TV, the police appear to be itching to show that they are the authority over the protesters. We don’t need a crackdown, we need a conversation between your office, the police and the people. The police need to stop acting like they are “controlling” anybody. It is quite obvious to all of us that this is a nonviolent protest.

I am just thankful that no one was hurt at the protest this week.

Seattle must stand for liberty and civil discourse. Aggressive crowd control to manage a few bad actors does not make sense, never did. Stop treating our citizens like they are criminals for putting their shoulders against the wheels of injustice in our society.

Thank you for all your efforts and to the police who have acted thoughtfully.

Take care of people first, that is a very important message from this movement.

Comment from David Lauri
Time November 19, 2011 at 9:18 am

There’s a simple solution for police officers who pepper spray peaceful protestors without cause. These officers who exceed their authority and use pepper spray against peaceful protestors should be pepper sprayed themselves.

Comment from Patricia Malone
Time November 19, 2011 at 11:24 am

I would like to respectfully comment that on Wed Nov 9 I was in the U District for a meeting and there were way too many police in the neighborhood. I do support our police but I thought many of them were rude and it was hard to walk down the sidewalk. I asked on officer why so many police and she refused to answer my question and would only say she was assigned. I am a taxpayer and I do expect to be answered. I was being respectful and I feared maybe there was some reason I should get out of the neighborhood. There was something about the whole situation that made me feel the huge police presence was going to make it more likely that something bad would happen. I am no stranger to the Ave. I lived in an apartment high above the Ave for 8 years and saw everything. We could never get enough safe police protection and were always calling 911, usually for the nightly riots that took place in front of the old Tommy’s Bar which the city did not do enough about at the time. I resent the fact that our tax dollars can’t seem to fund better basic protection in the U District, there are daily robberies and assaults, but we can somehow afford all these riot police. I don’t have the answer but wanted to comment.

Comment from Ann-Marie Stillion
Time November 19, 2011 at 11:56 am

Dear Mayor McGinn,

Update on the subject of pepper spray.

Watch this video of UC Davis students being pepper sprayed.

The police have begun to use pepper spray as a way to limit free speech without due process it appears. I implore you Mayor again. Put a conversation, a real conversation in place in our city to address the occupiers and those who support them in Seattle.

Stop standing up for property over people. Stop standing up for the well off over the poor, students, those asking real and important questions.

It was reported today in @MotherJones that the cop who indiscriminately sprayed the students at UC Davis makes $110,000 a year.

Is this it? Do the police have theirs while the average citizen has little or nothing.?

God help us. What have we become?

Comment from Damiana
Time November 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Mr. Mayor–

According the the article I’ve linked below, Seattle is one of up to 40 cities where the violent police reaction to the Occupy protesters is being coordinated and strategized by a private group, the Police Executive Research Forum.

Mr. Mayor, THIS NEEDS TO STOP NOW. These terrible decisions are driving our city, our nation, toward a black-and-white choice between violent repression or violent revolution.


You are in a unique position. You have the power to stop this here, and to influence other cities toward true peaceful democracy. Please use your power and your position and your bully pulpit to stop the police violence against our citizens.

Comment from Will McEvoy
Time November 20, 2011 at 11:59 am

Maybe you should inform the police that when they put on their riot gear it doesn’t mean it is time for THEM TO START THE RIOT!! How many people have to be hurt and killed by the SPD for a change to happen?

Comment from Noah Skocilich
Time November 20, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Mayor McGinn,

Like most progressives in this city, and like most participants in the Occupy movement, I feel you are basically a good person, and in your heart of hearts, probably a lot more deeply aligned with the Occupy movement than you are willing to say publicly.

The pressures around what you are or are not able so say publicly are understandable, but recent events with police brutality have crossed a line which I do not feel affords neutrality.

There were clear and egregiously violent violations of civil rights perpetrated in plain sight by city employees.

Suffice to say, your phone call to Ms. Rainey notwithstanding, I am deeply disappointing by your failure to take a firm stand on this matter.


Noah Skocilich

Comment from alan gibbs
Time November 21, 2011 at 8:21 pm

What a gaggle of goofballs. If I were to camp out on city land – an illegal endeavor – I would rightly be arrested or at least ordered out under threat of arrest. If I resisted being arrested I might well be peppered, as I should.
Even if I had a real neato moral outrage like say people in the city who are in the country, and thus city, illegally. Would anyone support me as I was hauled off to jail or if I were to be peppered for resisting? i think all you nut jobs know the answer to that. The wimp mayor is simply sucking up to the loud spolied brats to get re-elected because the responsible residents are not destroying public supported property. So rather than uphold the law of the land, McGinn would rather pander to his wacko base. Of course McWuss himself, if he were not currently occupying city hall would probably be occupying some grungy campground himself.

Comment from Michael Ludwig
Time December 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Seattle police are still beating the crap out of peaceful protesters. Who is it they are supposed serve and protect?

Pingback from Seattle mayor “sorry” Occupy Seattle protesters were pepper-sprayed | Occupedia
Time April 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm

[…] whether the police use of force was appropriate to the circumstances,” McGinn said in a statement. “I have seen video and written descriptions of the […]