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Seattle police withdraw request for media's unaired protest footage

The Seattle Police Department has withdrawn their request for local media, including KING 5, to submit unaired protest footage from May 30 to police.

Editor's note: Video aired in August when media outlets appealed a court ruling over the unaired protest footage

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) said the city withdrew a subpoena of local media for raw footage from violent protests in downtown Seattle on May 30. 

SPD had subpoenaed media outlets KING 5, KOMO, KIRO, Q13 and The Seattle Times to surrender unaired and unpublished footage of destructive events on May 30, which included the theft of police firearms and the arson of several city and police vehicles. 

KING 5 and other local media believe the request is a violation of the Washington Shield Law

KING 5 believes the subpoena threatened editorial independence and could put journalists in danger, because people may be led to believe that KING 5 turns over information to police that goes unreported to the public; something KING 5 does not do.

KING 5 News Director Pete Saiers said Monday, "Our role as independent watchdogs is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. We should not be forced to show the authorities any material we have not shared with the public."

A King County judge ruled that local media must submit their raw footage to SPD, which the media outlets appealed on Aug. 11.  

On Aug. 20, the Washington Supreme Court granted an emergency stay for local media to keep unaired protest video private. 

RELATED: Washington Supreme Court grants stay for local media to keep unaired protest footage from Seattle police

SPD announced Monday the subpoena has been withdrawn. The department posted the following on the police blotter

"Based on the Supreme Court’s decision to delay any ruling on the media’s appeal until later next year, and in light of excellent work by the assigned case detective in the interim, the department agreed that the prudent decision would be to withdraw the subpoena from the court."

The statement continued, "This remains an open and active investigation regarding the theft of police firearms. The department encourages anyone with information regarding this incident to come forward."