Seattle Police criticized in memo for May Day strategy

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 24, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 6:30 AM

Within the Seattle Police force, some employees have criticized the department for its response to the May Day protests, the Seattle Times reports.

A lack of planning and last-minute decisions contributed to violence and vandalism caused by protesters, the internal memo given to Seattle Police Chief John Diaz claims.

The memo mentions actions taken by Assistant Chief Mike Sanford, including strategies for coordinating officers and his attempt to control protesters without donning riot gear, as examples of a flawed response. (See KING 5 video of the incident.)

The memo's author was not identified. According to the Seattle Times, Chief Diaz declined to discuss its specifics.

KING 5 News cameras captured the moment when Sanford was deflected by protesters. The memo reportedly argues his actions forced officers to risk safety by coming to his aid.

Clad in all black and armed with sticks, violent May Day protesters marched through downtown Seattle on the afternoon of May 1, causing thousands of dollars in damage to places like Niketown, Forever 21 and the federal building.

The destructive protesters were identified as "the Black Bloc," a core group that advertised violent intentions online in the days before the demonstrations.

After the protests, SPD heralded their focus on public safety, despite vandalism.

Seattle Police have spent the months since May Day tracking down some of the suspects accused of smashing windows, spray painting, and fighting with police officers.

Assistant Chief Sanford leads implementation of the 20/20 Plan, SPD's response to the U.S. Department of Justice's finding that Seattle officers use excessive force.

To read the complete Seattle Times article, click here.

Reporting by KING 5's Elisa Hahn; Lindsay Chamberlain contributed.

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