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Seattle Police Chief: Business Owners on Their Own in Violent Protests

'Simply put, the legislation gives officers NO ability to safely intercede to preserve property in the midst of a large, violent crowd...'

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best sent a letter to business owners in the city this weekend informing them law enforcement would not be able to protect them from violent rioters because of the crowd-control regulations passed by the city council. 

The Seattle City Council passed an ordinance last week that “bans” Seattle police officers from using “less lethal tools,” including pepper spray, tear gas, blast balls, and other anti-protest gear “commonly used to disperse crowds that have turned violent,” Best explained in the letter.

“Simply put, the legislation gives officers NO ability to safely intercede to preserve property in the midst of a large, violent crowd,” she wrote.

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On Friday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order that allowed law-enforcement to continue using the crowd-control methods during violent weekend clashes.

However, some have noted that the legal basis for the court’s two-week stay, issued by U.S. District Judge James Robart, is almost as shaky as the new ordinance itself.

Best said she fought against the ordinance, but if it does go into effect has planned,  businesses will be on their own.

“Seattle Police will have an adjusted deployment in response to any demonstrations this weekend,” Best told business owners, “as I will never ask our officers to risk their personal safety to protect property without the tools to do so in a safe way.”

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The Seattle Police Department declared a riot this weekend after violent protesters began destroying property, assaulting officers, and refusing to disperse. Police said they made at least 45 arrests after rocks, bottles, fireworks, and mortars were thrown at officers. At least one officer was hospitalized with a leg injury caused by an explosive.

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