One of the turning points in last weekend’s protests seems to have been what the Seattle Police are claiming is an explosion at the East Precinct building. “This was one of several dangerous incidents that led SPD to declare today’s incident a riot,” the department wrote on Twitter.
But what exactly caused the explosion? Photos have been circulating of a hole blasted in some plywood and a banged-up section of sheetrock, but details are sketchy about exactly what happened — and remember, this is the organization that claimed Antifa phantoms were running an extortion racket on Capitol Hill, and that a broken candle was an “improvised explosive.”
So! Let’s see if we can figure this situation out.
We’ll start with the cops’ version of the story. According to the SPD blotter, “at least one person” crossed the fences around the precinct building, and then “moments later a device exploded, leaving an 8-inch hole in the side of the precinct.”
That’s some crafty wording — it doesn’t say the person who breached the barricades had anything to do with the explosion, it just sort of lets you presume that they did. According to a police spokesperson, “the breach of the fence was witnessed by department personnel,” so if that person was also responsible for an explosion, it’s kind of weird for those witnesses not to mention it. If someone jumped the fence, in full view of the police, and was responsible for an explosion ... why be so secretive about who caused the explosion?
More discrepancies: The photo above shows a hole in the plywood surrounding the windows — not in the building itself. And the damage appears to be up high in the middle of the board, not down at the ground like you might expect. How did that happen?
According to the SPD Arson/Bomb Squad, the damage was a result of the way the SPD put up their barricades — a wall of plywood around the windows, with an open gap at the top. The bomb squad’s analysis, written in sharpie with some colorful drawings, speculates that a “lucky throw/drop” sent a firework between the boards and the window. When it blew up, it blasted a hole in the plywood, and another through the window that had been covered in insulation and sheetrock. There's no photo of the firework, so we can only speculate about what it was — or if it was perhaps a police flash-bang grenade that wound up in there somehow.
So that’s at least one mystery solved: the bomb squad thinks an explosive was thrown or dropped in there. But where did the explosive come from? SPD isn’t saying. “This is still an active investigation, so we don't have anything additional to release at this time regarding video or other related evidence from the scene,” wrote a spokesperson. (Though that didn't prevent them from posting photos on the blotter.)
The spokesperson also wouldn’t confirm whether any of the department personnel made official reports about the person who breached the fence line, so … who knows who they were and what they did, or if they even exist. Maybe this is another “I totally heard about this from a friend of mine” story.
For now, all we know is that the damage does appear to be real, and that it was caused by … something … deposited by ... someone. A one-in-a-million lucky throw? A police projectile that bounced? A saboteur on the inside???
Whatever the truth is, it was part of the justification for more aggressive policing this weekend. And with the SPD keeping quiet about just how much they know, we can only speculate about who's responsible, and ponder who stands to benefit from the framing of the story in this manner.