Recent Findings of the Department of Justice and SPD’s Response

This morning, the Deparment of Justice released a report detailing excessive use of force by the Seattle Police Department and failures of oversight by supervisors. While the DOJ has attempted to demonstrate that the City of Seattle is acting in good faith to end these abuses and protect the Constitutional rights of citizens, police actions during the West Coast Port Shutdown (WCPS) protest undermine this claim.

The Seattle Police Department has gone to the press in order to release footage of alleged instances of violence done by protesters at the WCPS protest on December 12th, 2011. This announcement has been paired with a request from the SPD for the general public to identify protesters on-scene at the demonstration without pretense of due process.

Confusingly, the released footage also contains footage of police violence against peaceful demonstrators, including pulling a peaceful female protester to the ground by her hair, destroying a banner carried by peaceful protesters, and snatching a sign away from a protester. This incident caused the peaceful protester’s glasses to fall off his face and was an unnecessary escalation into violence. This situation was de-escalated by other protesters nearby as can be seen in the video.

Occupy Seattle has been, since its founding, a non-violent organization. Assertions made by the Seattle Police Department and Mayor McGinn’s office to paint Occupy Seattle as a violent protest is neither grounded in fact and is of disingenuous intent. Seattle’s long history of peaceful civil disobedience is shamed by public officials’ attempts to undermine this movement.

Occupy Seattle encourages and supports a free press. The SPD’s attempt to manipulate the media narrative in this case makes a mockery of journalistic integrity. Furthermore, their attempts to widely broadcast the faces of non-violent demonstrators only attempts to spur a witch-hunt against persons in the video engaged in peaceful protest.

This is a bold-faced attempt to chill free speech and has the potential of opening up those persons to discrimination for their constitutionally protected political views. The violence that took place at the port demonstration was not at the urging of OS and our members, but instead was left to the Seattle Police Department, which used flash-bang grenades and brutally beat dozens of citizens, including a member of the clergy. Leveling these serious charges, while releasing imagery of the protest as a whole, exposes hundreds of peaceful protesters present to retribution from a misled community which does not bear the burden of investigation. That is left to law-enforcement.

The SPD’s move to release these accusations paired with video is nothing short of an intimidation tactic designed to suppress Seattle citizens’ right to peaceful assembly, afforded by the First Amendment, which has turned 220 years old this week. Furthermore, the SPD is attempting to distract the public from the shameful violence used against demonstrators on that day. Occupy Seattle condemns and denounces this specious move to discredit this movement.

Police violence during the WCPS protest is part of a pattern of excessive use of force and failure to de-escalate in situations involving minor offenses that has been chastised by the Department of Justice. Many examples of police violence during the WCPS protest correspond directly to cases detailed by the DOJ in their report released today, December 16, 2011. This can be found by reading Section IV, part A of the letter that we have attached. While US Attorney Durkan and Assistant Attorney General Perez attempted to demonstrate that the City of Seattle is being pro-active about police accountability during this morning’s press conference, police action during the WCPS protest discredits their claim.

14 Responses to Recent Findings of the Department of Justice and SPD’s Response

  • REPUBLIC says:

    It sad that police uses unecessary forces, but at the same time the protesters reciplicated the favor to use violence as well. Remember 2 wrongs don’t make a right. What I am trying to say is that the protesters should keep their cool, and let the evidence be unmanipulated. Once the public sees that the SPD attacked the protesters without provocation on the part of the protesters, the law will take care of the police brutality.

    Last, ensure that the protesters don’t insult the police or break any laws so that you can be on the right. Protesters are people and SPD are people too. I am not defending neither side, but The SDP are people that will lose their cool as well. They get tired of dealing with a big crowd daily, and will get angry like anyone else when they get insulted.

    The protesters should stay focused on the agenda, and the SDP says move, don’t argue just move. Show respect to them and they will show respect to you as well. Protesting is a right, but it is not a right to be disobedient or insulting others.

    If you think that SDP is bad you haven’t been in Europe where there is no such thing as police brutality . You will get bit up for insulting, use vulgar language, provoke, or interfere with police work. We are lucky that we can claim police brutality and they can’t. If you make this nation socialist you will experience the same type of police in Europe.

    • Dane says:

      because you seem to be strictly defending the police,the law take care of the police? never happens, you have police who investigate police,which is like putting the fox to guard the henhouse,they swear t a code of silence, and no wrongdoing is ever found,a cop who rats out a cop, wont be a cop for long,he will end up dead,or set up by the rest,as for the police in europe, you don hear of police brutality there because the police are more professional, and are held accountable for their actions,unlike th eUS where the police are more like legalized thugs.

  • REPUBLIC says:

    Everyone, my message Freedom of Speech may not seat well with many of you, but we can’t just be biased, and think that the left is always correct. I appreciate everyone’s comments, but let us not be so biased.


  • Flyboy says:

    This flashbang ordnance sounds like a dangerous airborn projectile

    • REPUBLIC says:

      What about bricks, sharp objects, re bars and road emergency flares that burns up to 1,400 degrees. People make comments without thinking and that shows the bias mentality of people on the left. Aren’t they dangerous as well? Why do people throw these items to other people. Don’t bother saying it, I got that covered as well. When I say “people” that is meant for the SPD.

      • Flyboy says:

        Just because I throw a brick at a cop, does not give him the right to throw it back at me, his job is to arrrest me and that’s it. He is not to be launching any kind of projectile into the crowd.

        • REPUBLIC says:

          I do understand your concept that if you throw a brick it does not give him the right to throw it back. You are right, but at the same time if the protest suppose to be peaceful, then there should be not throwing of object from neither side. Why in the world would someone wanted to be arrested? In the end you will have a record for assaulting a police officer or another person. What would I ask myself first, is it worthy to go to jail and have a record that will hinder me to get a good job? Unless, I am a business person, then I have nothing to lose but a few years in a cell.

  • REPUBLIC says:

    Hello everyone,

    I am new in this forum and my main intention is to state the obvious and nothing else. I will call it as I see it. I am not for the OS or the SPD, but a voice that will try try to make sense of the situation. Here is a little about me. Male 42, first generation American and son of European descent. I was Left wing Democratic with some socialist ideologies, after Pres. Obama was elected as our President I have noticed that his socialist ideologies were too extreme, and noticed people started to crawl out of below rocks and demanding changes, i.e.

    economy (I agree)
    1. There should be changes in the economy and that is to stop unfair practices of China manipulation of their currency and a tariff of 20% should be imposed on all imports.
    2. Our government needs to close the tax loop on the wealthy and should pay their fair share of taxes
    3. Our government should not bail out any private establishment let them go bankrupt and they will restructure and come back with better business practice, if you bail them out they never learn from their mistakes. They know they will have that safety net from the government, therefore they will take reckless risks.
    4. The government is to maintain law and order and protect this nation from enemies that is the only job. It is our job, the people, to make our economy strong by creating small business and start new manufacturing companies in the USA and start buying USA, yes it is nationalistic and protectionist of our sovereign nation. OS needs to
    5. China is destroying our country from the inside by introducing their cheap products and luring our American factories to open in China where they are protected from bureaucratic red tape and EPA.

    redistribution of wealth (I disagree)
    1. Let’s say that a student in high school worked hard and has earned all “A” with a GPA of 4.0 and he/she is the number 1 in the school, let’s call her Jill. Now others that are struggling and have some “B”,”C” and “D” with a GPA of 2.0 and this student named Jack thinks that is unfair that Jill has perfect grades and now he is advocating with other students for fairness, equality, and social justice, therefore Jill needs to redistribute her grades to the rest of the students. Is that fair to say that Jill needs to redistribute her grades? What do you think happens when the school says to her that she has to drop her GPA to 3.0 so everyone else can get the fair share? Jill will be disappointed and will no longer work hard to get those grades to 4.0 ever again, because now she knows that she has to share the success. Why bother? Why try to better yourself? Jill once was a successful student that now she does the bare minimum so she can earn that 3.0 GPA guaranteed. The rest of the students that originally had 2.0 will not need to work hard because they will get 3.0 GPA as well.
    2. It is the same the wealthy individuals these people are keeping this country successful, but if the government takes control we will become another nation like Europe with many people just making a living without motivation to make their country better. Once the rich are out of the picture the government lost those revenue and will increase taxes on incomes, state, county, city and sales tax to compensate the loss. If I have an idea that I can get wealthy and create jobs as well and I know the government will take that away from me once I am wealthy, why bother and work hard? I just do my bare minimum and get a pay check like everyone else.
    3. A nation of people with “SELF-RELIANCE” will produce LIBERTY. A nation people with “GOVERNMENT RELIANCE” will produce an iron fist government with no liberty. I believe that Americans lost that “I can do attitude”,”Work Hard to Better Oneself”,”Self-Reliance”, and “Help Your Neighbor in Need”. There was one man that I look-up to that once said “Ask not what your country can do for you – Ask what you can do for your country” –John F. Kennedy, 1961. I take that to heart everyday. My country and government should depend on me and not the other way around. This will give us authority to keep the government in check. If you want to depend on the government, well it will be a demise to our freedom and liberty, therefore the government is our boss.

    right to housing (I agree to an extent) & subsistence (I agree to an extent) & healthcare for all (I agree to an extent)
    I agree that everyone should have healthcare, food and a shelter. The poor and the unemployed should be able to have a safety net to get those basic items, but it should be temporary until they can get jobs and/or getting an education for better job prospect. Dependence on the government should be for a short period of need and not a permanent need.

    transportation (I disagree)
    It is a luxury therefore people want that automobile they need to work, plain and simple. Public transportation is available to take people to work, although they need improvements to reach out further, look at the NY Subway. I love that some people don’t even have a driver’s license because of public transportation is so reliable.

    classless society (I disagree)
    Same concept as the redistribution of wealth. Anyone that wants to go up in the corporate ladder can do it, but must work for it, and it will not just be given to you.

    demanding entitlements dependency on the government (I disagree)
    I believe I made that clear above, and there is no need to explain. We are all smart adults that don’t need baby sitting.

    protesting (I agree to an extent)
    1. Protesting is the freedom of speech to redress grievances to the government, but the few are the one that makes it look bad for the rest. Peaceful protest is the key here.
    2. Civil disobedience, breaking into private property and stealing, attacking police officers while they are doing their jobs, throwing debris or object to police officers, blocking traffic, damaging other people’s vehicles and property is not the way to tell the government about grievances, then you are criminals in their eyes and you are infringing on someone else rights.
    3. Protesters should clean-up after themselves, i.e. pick-up your alcoholic containers, dirty syringes, cigarette butts, and other miscellaneous trash.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, this is who I am any comments?

    Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah,


    • Manifest destiny's child says:

      I would agree with you mostly except for the GPA metaphor, which is out of place, considering that a the hedge fund managers and other market makers are for the most part non-productive leeches extracting imaginary wealth, by way of monetary policy, from any real portion of the society of goods/services/tangible assets, the “fundamentals” of a capitalist economy. “I would tighten my bootstraps if I had the boots in the first place”
      now I’m going to the food bank

  • peacegranny says:

    Interesting that the Occupy Seattle page/site claims nonviolence as hallmark of actions. I know more is bubbling in that kettle of words that splatters a different truth. Apparently, nonviolence now includes flipping the finger while facing police in the middle of the street, screaming f*** the pigs and possibly hurling paint at cops as well. Does this mean nonviolence has taken up the hybrid notion of Diversity of Tactics? Does this mean principled resistance, such as used by the Plowshares 5 over 2 years ago when these elders cut fences all the way into the bunker of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, is not relevant? Funny how those who behave aggressively get to rename behaviors reminiscent of raging hormonal teen tantrums as “nonviolence”.

    I really am glad my friends asked me to help keep an eye on their young son who was being educated about the workings of democracy by participating in the shut down actions of Port of Seattle. It limited my own involvement in activities, some of which struck me as worn out immediate self gratification. Nothing like reinventing the flat tire. Once again, i am witness to public displays of cliquey peer approval rather than long term community trust and movement building.

    May all involved grapple with what level of inclusion future radical resistance will generate by how each one of us steps up in standing for all of life and a livable future. Integrity seems to be thrown out while mean spiritedness raises it’s provocative snout. I resist unkindness in all no matter the body wrapped around it. May common respect and unity prevail in striving to end corporate genocidal dominance.

    • REPUBLIC says:

      Let’s say that the USA will say, okay Plowshare 5 let’s get rid of all nuclear weapons. Let say it takes 5 years and now we are free of nuclear weapons.

      Do you think China and Russia will do the same? I think they will laugh at us and continue to build some more. Now, the USA is vulnerable in defending itself in the event someone would use nuclear weapons against us or our allies.

      I think all these organizations in the USA that are against our government, nuclear weapons, and our military are funded by foreign entities, but that money passes in many different that is impossible to trace it to a foreign entity. It is sad that we are trying to destroy our own country.

      What do we do? Well, we can just say “hey, we don’t have any nuclear weapons please don’t hit us with yours” Do you honestly think that these nations care about civilians casualty? The Geneva Convention, whether you have nukes or not?

      The Geneva Convention is followed by the USA and its allies only, the rest of the world can care less about civilian casualty, because their government don’t see combatants and non combatants they are all seen as common enemy.

  • Flyboy says:

    You are a right wing nut case if you have all the money you pay all the taxes, this is a civilized country we have social programs this is not third world. I spent my time in the military for the 99% not for the 1% you’re campaigning for…..

    • Flyboy says:

      and so on……

    • REPUBLIC says:

      Thank you for serving this great country. I too served active duty for 12 years and now I am serving in the National Guard. Well, thanks for calling me a right wing nut I will take it as a compliment.

      Anyway, why do you think that we all should get benefits when these entitlements were originally meant to help people as a safety net until they can get up on their own 2 feet. What happened to be independent from the government? I work and pay my taxes, and I like the self-reliance where the government cannot tell me what to do, for example where to live or what to eat. This is the same concept as living under your parents roof where they can tell you what to do, because they are the one that house you and feed you.

      Think about dependence versus independence. Dependence you are in binds where independence your are free. Just remember when you were in the military,they give you shelter, food, healthcare, and uniform, not to mention you depended on them for a paycheck. Do you remember anything about having freedom? You were told what to do, say, where to be in what uniform and be on time. Yes, I know this is civilian sector, but the concept is almost the same, “dependence”. Think about it. I fight for the poor they deserve all basic needs like everyone, and they deserve to be educated to be more competitive and find a job or start their own business.

      I don’t trust any government, and I do not want anything from them, because in the end you will pay one way or another. Remember nothing is free. One way or another you will pay with your liberty. Ask the Europeans how much tax they pay to get all those nice entitlements, and ask them how much liberty they have, not to mention that police officer are 10 times worse than ours, there is no such thing as police brutality, they have the right to beat you for flipping them off, call them names or throwing things at them.

      I don’t think that the wealthy 1% can pay all the taxes to run this country alone, everyone should pay taxes, except people earning $50,000 or less per year. Why 50K? I believe that the poverty line is about $50K, and not what the government says. Wouldn’t you agree to an extent with this right wing nut? I know you are on the left, but there has to be something that we can agree with? I am in this website because there are somethings that I agree with. Too much of something is not good “moderation” is the key here.

      Last here is what I would like to live you with for now:

      John F. Kennedy (Democratic) US President 1960-1963 said: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” I do admire that president because he was fair, and if he did not get assassinated we would be in better shape.