The people of Seattle came out the morning after Saturday’s peaceful protests turned violent.
Despite the rain, thousands of people showed up to protest the murder of George Floyd in downtown Seattle on Saturday. 55 were arrested after demonstrations escalated to violence.
Seattle police said the protest began peacefully, but became “violent and destructive around 2:40 p.m.” The chaos that ensued left businesses looted, damaged and tagged with graffiti. Fires were started, burning cars, and police and municipal transit vehicles.
Police attempted to use flashbangs and tear gas to disperse crowds, but people continued to vandalize the downtown area, even after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued the city a 5 p.m. curfew.
In a complete 180 of the prior night’s activities, Sunday morning in downtown Seattle saw community members coming out to clean up the destruction and secure storefronts.
Mayor Durkan and Seattle Police Department Chief, Carmen Best, were on site to survey the damage and spoke with reports from NBC affiliate K5.
Chief Best was inspired by the community volunteers who showed up to restore order and take pride in their city.
“I’m really hopeful that calmer heads will prevail today…” she added.
Mayor Durkan told reporters that Saturday was a “tough day for our city” but she was gratified to see people cleaning up and moving on, without forgetting the significance of the protests.
“We can’t let the violence and the destruction that happened override the message of Mr. Floyd’s death. People were rightfully protesting, there was many peaceful protests, but obviously, it degenerated very quickly,” she said.
K5 followed up with Andre’ Taylor, co-founder of Not This Time! an organizer of Seattle’s peaceful protest on Saturday.
“My message to Seattle and Washington state is: remember who you are, remember that it was our state that got the first and only police accountability law in this nation,” Taylor said.
Taylor calls for the people of Seattle to stand firm and “not be easily distracted” from their mission.
He said, “Remember that we are leaders here, remember that people are looking to us all over this country to lead.”
“We must continue to build upon the leadership that we have shown on police accountability.”
Not This Time! is a Seattle-based community group working to spread awareness of an unjust legal system that perpetuates mass incarceration and targeted disenfranchisement
The organization works to reduce police violence and heal communities through the power of truth and wisdom.
The real loss incurred by violence in Seattle and in other cities over the past week of protests will be accounted for by people staying silent out of fear.
The cleanup effort inspires hope for rebirth and shows the healing that can be accomplished when a community comes together to face what is difficult.
“That’s the spirit we have to be about going forward, is people coming together and find a way to really acknowledge the challenges that we have, make them better, but still love our city,” said Mayor Durkan.