Much riot violence was "instigated and perpetuated by white men": Seattle mayor

Jun 1 2020, 12:53 pm

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Sunday that much of the violence and looting committed during Seattle protests and around the country this week was perpetrated not by peaceful protesters but by white men.

In a press conference Sunday and in a later tweet, Durkan said she wants to “acknowledge that much of the violence and destruction, both here in Seattle and across the country, has been instigated and perpetuated by white men.”

“These individuals experience the height of privilege and are co-opting peaceful demonstrations that were organized by and meant to center people of color, particularly Black Americans,” she continued.

Saturday’s protests in Seattle over George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis and the larger issue of systemic anti-Black racism in the US turned dangerous as police clashed with demonstrators and downtown stores were looted.

Some witnesses backed up Durkan’s stance that much of the looting and destruction was not committed by Black Lives Matter protesters but instead by white individuals not affiliated with the movement.

Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best also said in a news release that the violence was instigated by “some groups who wanted to take advantage of this situation.”

She also said officers’ hands were forced as they “had to deploy crowd control measures to end the lawlessness as assaults on officers and property continued.” According to Best, people were throwing Molotov cocktails at officers.

However, many people online have condemned Seattle police’s heavy-handed technique, as they shot tear gas and flash bangs at people trying to participate in the demonstrations.

Mayor Durkan imposed a curfew suddenly on Saturday night beginning at 5 pm that continued into Sunday. It was lifted at 5 am Monday morning.