SEATTLE — Activists who won a U.S. court order restricting the Seattle Police Department's use of chemical weapons for crowd control say the department should be held in contempt of court for violating it in a "vengeful outburst" over the weekend.
In June, U.S. District Judge Richard Jones forbid Seattle police from using chemical irritants or projectiles of any kind against people demonstrating peacefully. However, Jones allowed for exceptions.
But in a motion filed Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and other groups said that on Saturday, the police department shot pepper spray and blast balls indiscriminately into a crowd after a small number of protesters engaged in property destruction. Seattle police had declared the demonstration a riot.
Separately, the Seattle City Council had banned the use of pepper spray, tear gas and other crowd control measures, but a U.S. District Judge James L. Robart had temporarily blocked the city's ban last week.
The U.S. Department of Justice, which had filed the motion against the city, argued the ban would put the community at risk because officers wouldn't be able to deescalate situations. They also said that the city council's timing of the ban violates the city's consent decree.
The temporary restraining order cleared the way for law enforcement to use crowd control measures over the weekend.