Cops Raid Radicals
Looking for Protest Paraphernalia Associated with Occupy Seattle
Just after dawn on July 10, Seattle police officers raided a Central District apartment looking for goggles, bandannas, and other evidence of politically motivated vandalism from this year's May Day protests. Several hundred people had attended the demonstrations, but some activists in black smashed out the windows of businesses and a few cars parked downtown.
Phillip Neel, the local activist whose name was on the warrant, was awakened that morning by a loud bang. "My first instinct," he said, "was that it was Fourth of July and we were hearing fireworks." It was, in fact, police breaking down the door and throwing flash-bang grenades. Officers detained the four occupants of the apartment—two residents, two visitors—at gunpoint, interrogated them, and searched the residence for articles of clothing that the suspects may have been wearing during the May Day smashup, as well as political literature about anarchism.
According to the warrant inventory, signed by Detective Wesley Friesen, the officers seized a pair of goggles, a black bandanna, and paperwork associated with "anarchists in the Occupy movement."
A few hours after the raid, SPD spokesperson Sean Whitcomb responded to some accusations on social media that police were overreacting. "I'd say the May Day violence was the worst I'd seen since WTO," Whitcomb told The Stranger, adding that the ongoing investigation is "a priority" for the department. A police statement said, "There may be more search warrants in the future."