SPD: Some marchers were 'there for violence'

Seattle Police say some of the marchers who took over Seattle's streets were there for violence. The city called in extra help and resources after the turmoil in Charlottesvile.

Seattle Police say some of the marchers who took over Seattle's streets on Sunday were there for violence.

The city called in extra help and resources after the turmoil in Charlottesville, Va.

At Westlake Park, a “Freedom Rally” cheered on President Donald Trump with a nationalist message. A few blocks away, a much larger counter-protest was trying to reach Westlake Park to confront the “Freedom Rally.”

But within that “Solidarity Against Hate” march, there were some people in masks carrying objects that could be used as weapons.

“We had a small group within the larger march that were clearly, in my experience, clearly there for violence,” said SPD Asst. Chief Steve Wilske.

That's why police kept the march from reaching Westlake.

“There's no question in my mind that there were probably weapons, as in firearms, being carried by members of all of the groups, at Westlake, potentially in this march,” Wilske said.

Police were able to keep the larger group from reaching the Freedom Rally, thanks in part to extra people and resources called in after the violence in Charlottesville.

“Once we started seeing the escalation of the rhetoric and the escalation of the numbers, quite honestly I wasn't comfortable with the staffing that we could put together,” Wilske said of the original staffing levels.

Officers on bikes played a crucial role, rushing from one intersection to another, using their cycles to form a barricade. In the end, there were three arrests and no serious injuries.

© 2017 KING-TV


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