Move the Crowd
All Against All/Seattle Center/Sat July 21/4:20 pm: Officer Bailey reports: "On Saturday, July 21, 2007, I was working Bite of Seattle with the [bike squad]. Historically, at this event, there have been problems with mob behavior that has led to multiple disturbances, assaults, and shootings. I worked Bite of Seattle last year and experienced firsthand a number of fights and shooting incidents where a large number of teenagers had gathered in groups. [This year] I was told to engage groups who were just standing around the event. Our squad was originally tasked with keeping the McDonald's lot at Fifth Ave N and Broad St free from problems...
"At approximately 2045 hours there were approximately 200 teens loitering inside of McDonald's and it had to be shut down. We had to usher the crowd off the property. We then followed the crowd toward downtown. The crowd would frequently stop and block pedestrian and vehicle traffic. They also engaged in fights. Our squad, along with several others, had to break the fights up and ride behind the crowd while telling them to disperse. Our goal was to prevent the crowd from engaging in fighting activity that would result in the escalation of violence.
"We followed the crowd as it moved through Belltown. I had [to tell it] to keep moving on a couple of occasions. It would not move [unless] I rode my bike up near [its] heels. The crowd moved at an extremely small rate."
The report ends with a number of arrests and a moment when the officers are in danger of being overwhelmed by the crowd they are herding ("several units had to encircle us during [an] arrest to protect us from the crowd"). A crowd of agitated teens is like a storm cloud on the verge of exploding and striking homes, lives, and trees with its wild bolts of electricity.
What's notable about this report, however, is that Officer Bailey recalls, with some trepidation, the terrible fights that broke out last year around and in Bite of Seattle ("[I] experienced firsthand a number of fights and shooting incidents"). The report of those fights not only ended up in this column, but was written by an officer whose name of late has become well- known in these parts.
All Against All/Seattle Center/Sat July 22/9:08 pm: Officer Neubert reports: "Several large groups of youth numbering between 50—100 were involved in fight disturbances after departing Bite of Seattle... While officers were making contact with the involved parties located on the south side of Denny Way, suspect one displayed and discharged a handgun..."
In the way that certain foods make us amorous, certain foods can make us pugnacious. The 50 to 100 young men involved in the fistfights outside of Bite of Seattle must have eaten something that made their heads explode and blood boil. What was it? Which vendor was responsible? Was it an unusual Greek dish? An alligator cooked to the specifications of a rare New Orleans recipe? The broiled balls of a Mexican bull?