Hundreds of protesters stormed Seattle City Hall late Tuesday night as unrest over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in white Minneapolis police custody, continued for the 12th night in Seattle.
Protesters took to the streets demanding Mayor Jenny Durkan’s resignation after local police deployed tear gas on protesters in Capitol Hill Saturday night — just a day after Durkan announced a 30-day ban on tear gas, according to KOMO News.
The group, led by City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, spent more than an hour inside the historic building advocating for police reform and criticizing the city’s aggressive approach to the demonstrations, according to MyNorthwest.
In footage posted to Twitter, organizers can be heard shouting, “Whose City Hall? Our City Hall! Whose City Hall? Our City Hall!”
Scores of protests against police brutality erupted nationwide after a harrowing video emerged of Floyd’s arrest on May 25. Now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was captured pressing his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes as the 46-year-old begged for air.
Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder on top of third-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
Sawant led the fiery crowd to City Hall after hosting her own rally at Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill to discuss a handful of relative topics, MyNorthwest reported.
The councilmember, according to her event’s Facebook page, addressed upcoming council discussions on banning chokeholds and chemical weapons, slashing the police budget and an effort to “Tax Amazon and big businesses to fund housing, jobs, the Green New Deal!”
A live recording of the march and rally was streamed on Sawant’s official Facebook page.
‘You’re Going to Lose Your Job’
As scores of protesters poured into the city building, their message to Durkan was loud and clear — “You’re going to lose your job.”
Carrying signs reading “Durkan must go,” the crowd filled the lobby around 9 p.m., according to MyNorthwest, before quickly moving upstairs.
Durkan and police Chief Carmen Best recently came under fire for their “heavy-handed” responses to the protests over Floyd’s death. On Friday, the pair announced that the Seattle Police would refrain from using tear gas — aside from Seattle SWAT officers, if necessary, according to the Seattle Times.
The members would “maintain their trained ability to protect life and to end standoff situations,” Best later clarified to the Seattle Times.
Just one day later, Seattle police broke the ban.
“Officers are taking heavy projectiles, coming from the crowd,” said a post from the department’s official Twitter account. “A male, armed with a gun, is in the intersection of 11th and Pine ST. CS gas has been authorized.”
Both protesters and elected officials alike have since denounced the police account. A city police watchdog group brought into question how the SWAT team could apply to demonstrations when it was understood it was only applicable for standoff and hostage situations, the Seattle Times Reported.
Protesters & ACLU Sue Seattle for ‘Unnecessary Violence’
A lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday accuses the City of Seattle of violating rights to protest. The suit, filed on behalf of Black Lives Matter protesters and a journalist, alleges that the Seattle Police Department officers deployed “unnecessary violence” while trying to suppress the crowds.
It also cites the use of chemical agents such as tear gas and pepper spray, as well as projectiles like flash-bang grenades and blast balls, to silence free speech.