Capitol Hill businesses ask why police pushed protesters their way



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Posted on May 2, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Updated Thursday, May 2 at 7:03 PM

In all the May Day violence, it was surprising there wasn't more property damage than a few broken windows. All the windows were on Capitol Hill. And now businesses there are wondering why police pushed the protesters to their neighborhood.

Rowdy protesters broke windows of at least three businesses, Sun Liquor, Walgreens, and Bill's on Broadway.

Don Stevens, owner of Bill's on Broadway, believes police did a good job containing violence Wednesday night. But he wonders when they decided to get protesters out of downtown, why push them east to Capitol Hill?

"Where are they going to put them?" Stevens asked. "Where are they going to go? Where do you stop and say 'We're done with you now. We've gotten you far enough away from Westlake Center.'"

At a press briefing Wednesday night, the Seattle Police Department said it wanted to lead the group to a place where they could disperse.

"The crowd began to move east, which was by design," said Captain Chris Fowler. "We wanted to move them toward the east precinct, which they did eventually."

Michael Wells, executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, said they were surprised when they heard Capt. Fowler make that statement. Wells commended police for how they protected downtown businesses, but said that businesses in his neighborhood needed help too.

"We didn't see the same kind of protection for Capitol Hill when the protesters came back up the hill as we saw ringed around the downtown stores," said Wells.

Wells said the chamber of commerce will ask SPD for a meeting to discuss how similar situations will be handled in the future.