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Mayor Mike McGinn left office on January 1, 2014.
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City of Seattle

Updating the public on May 1st events

Today Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle Police Chief John Diaz gave an overview of the events on May 1st and shared information about weapons that were confiscated from protesters. At 10:25 am today, Mayor McGinn issued the order to terminate his May 1st order authorizing police to confiscate weapons.

Following Mayor McGinn’s emergency order yesterday, officers seized about 70 items which could be used as weapons, including sharpened tape-wrapped wooden stakes, metal poles, screw-topped wooden staffs, a shield made from a plastic traffic barrier, a corrugated metal portable barrier with sharp, jagged edges, homemade incendiary devices, bags of feces, rocks, paint, hammers, and tire irons.

“Yesterday we saw what can happen when a small group of people are determined to cause violence and destruction of property under cover of peaceful protest” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “It is unfortunate that the actions of a few individuals overshadowed the message of those demonstrating peacefully.”

Photos of confiscated items and other supporting documents can be found at

Posted by: Words: April Thomas, Pictures: Jen Nance


Comment from peggy Jukkala
Time May 2, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Why can you not understand what your policys have brought to your city?You are so liberal that you must think these thugs and protesters like you as you give them the right to do violence. The city has made a big mistake with you but what are you going to do when Pres.Obama gets defeated? Maybe you can follow Pres Obama where he goes Greece? Spain? good luck

Comment from CarlS
Time May 3, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Mr. Mayor, it’s so nice to learn that the end justifies the means, that one can take criminal actions to prevent things that haven’t happened yet. Thank you so much.

Comment from Kay
Time May 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for protecting our city! I am so sorry to hear about these events and especially the personal attack towards you. No one deserves to be treated like that. Thank you for doing your best.

Comment from Michele
Time May 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I happen to be impressed with Mayor McGinn. His approach and quick action in this matter did not take away a person’s right to peacefully protest only the ability of those with alterior motives to inflict chaos and harm against the peaceful. Keep doing what you are doing Mr. Mayor.

Comment from Ann-Marie Stillion
Time May 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Dear Mr. Mayor,
I hope the city endeavors to uncover the identity of the “black bloc.” From what I have heard from the real protestors, those who vandalized bore not relation to OWS. Who are these guys? That is the question. Someone or some organization was clearly working hard to undermine the efforts of the real protest.

Comment from chris
Time May 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Were the protest signs the police tore up because the stakes could be used as weapons part of that “70 items which could be used as weapons”?

Comment from Peter
Time May 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Reports I have read make it sound like a mini-repeat of the WTO debacle. The police were warned, yet still unprepared. They reacted too slow, then over-reacted.
I admit that I was not an eye witness.

Comment from Doris Wright
Time May 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Mr. Diaz and Mr. McGinn have cooperated to keep our demonstrations safe and peaceful. I am grateful and I respect them. I also respect the nonviolent protestors and thank them for representing me.

Comment from Pauline
Time May 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm

It is especially good to know that freedom of speech is respected by your mayor. That does not mean freedom of violence or destruction. Apparently, ‘liberal’ is defined by some as respecting rights of individuals to express their views in a public setting. So those on the ‘right’ must not?

Comment from Tom
Time May 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Excellent job Mr Mayor and Police. It’s really important to stop these few vandals from destroying our right to peacefully protest.

Comment from Sandra Aguila-Salinas
Time May 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Mr. Mayor:
I am a teacher at Highline School District. I am also a Latina. I went to demonstration because I believe in immigrant rights. I am thankful because your government was understanding the differences between our May Day demonstration and the “few” who decided to do violent actions early on that day. The police were very supportive, understanding, and caring. They did their best to protect our peaceful march.

Comment from King Cushman
Time May 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm

While one can say May 1st could have been worse, it still was not very “satisfactory” in that we have numerous videos circulating of much property violence by the Black Bloc being perpetrated with no evidence of police intervention… until it was largely done… too late. Why not have the Council pass an ordinance permanently banning any protests from carrying anything that could be a weapon? This warrants more advance action and not a late Executive Order after the horses have left the burning barn. It’s too unsettling to see this in our downtown… why would tourists want to come here?

Comment from w
Time May 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm

It sickens me that so many of these criminals got away. Why not spray them with paint so you can identify them when they meld in the crowd. Now I hope the courts deal harshly with the few that got caught. Pass a law that anything that can be used as a weapon can be confisgated in these demonstrations at all times, or wake the mayor up earlier.. Send detectives to the homes of those that got caught and search for the rest. Seattle is the leader in this lawlessnessand I am ashamed!. If I were one of those banks I would leave the plywood as a reminder of how powerless the police are with the restrictions put on their behavior.

Comment from David Secord
Time May 4, 2012 at 5:51 am

Mr. Mayor,
Thank you for your service. I appreciate your willingness to seek to protect the rights of us all, assuring that the freedom of expression is protected as well as being accountable for public safety. Certainly a delicate balance and I applaud your handling of the situation.

Comment from Mark
Time May 4, 2012 at 11:17 am

Disapointed that once again violence and destruction was allowed. There is a balance between allowing citizens to express their right to free speach and another to let it get out of control. Way too liberal…

Comment from mark
Time May 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Freedom of speech is a precious right we hold and it should be protected. Organized violence against people or companies because you disagree with their policies or practices is almost never acceptable in a civil society. To say those involved in the destruction behaved like children that don’t get their way would be insulting to children.
I heard on the radio that police were afraid to act because many protestors were armed. We equip the police with the necessary tools to respond accordingly, yet we let mob rule? Are we turning into Greece? The fact that this criminal behavior wasn’t dealt with immediately set a bad precedence. I hold the Mayor accountable. He appears to be more concerned with painting bike lanes on failed infrastructure.

Comment from Mason
Time May 6, 2012 at 4:38 pm

The mayor kept the cops on a tight leash. 12 years ago the cops teargassed, pepper sprayed and threw grenades at shoppers, bystanders, businesspeople, WTO delegates as well as peaceful demonstrators. The city had to pay millions of dollars to the injured. Keeping the cops on a tight leash saved money. I am concerned about police acting as agent provocateurs.