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Protesters accuse off-duty Seattle officer of driving through their crowd

Video shows a car driving through a crowd of protesters on Capitol Hill after midnight on July 4. The incident is unrelated to a deadly crash on I-5.

An off-duty Seattle police officer was involved in a collision near a protest on Capitol Hill just after midnight on July 4. 

According to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) blotter, the officer "was driving their personal vehicle at Boren Avenue and Olive Way, where a group of demonstrators had blocked the intersection."

The officer claimed they were navigating through an opening in the crowd when demonstrators surrounded their car. Another vehicle struck the officer's car, according to police.

SPD said there were no reports of injuries. 

Protesters at the scene claim the incident was no accident. They said the car, a blue Hyundai, circled their group twice before a vehicle driven by one of the demonstrators T-boned the off-duty officer's car, in an attempt to stop it. 

Demonstrators claim the same blue car followed a group of protesters on July 2 and said the driver was yelling racial slurs at them. 

Some of the protesters allege that after the off-duty officer's car was struck on July 4, she called police to report the collision, showed her badge number and identified herself as an SPD officer. 

"The fact that I haven't heard SPD say anything about this, I haven't heard Mayor Durkan say anything, this is something that should be spoken about throughout the entire state," said protest organizer Sophia Tekola, days after the incident. 

SPD has not yet publicly identified the officer, but says the officer has been taken off street patrol for now. 

Tekola says she identified the officer from growing up in the same town. She said it feels like SPD did not take their concerns seriously when they responded to the scene. 

"It says that in the eyes of the common non-Black person, were not seen as human, that someone can attempt to run us over and do it again and we will be hit with hostility," said Tekola.

An anonymous witness provided video to KING 5 of the scene at Boren and Olive.

Fellow organizer Nicole Gitaka said, "Maybe my mouth can lie, but a video can't. Even after that, this woman, this officer, was never handcuffed, was never placed in the back of a police car, was never charged, was let go free. And that's not okay." 

Since the incident, protesters have been using the officer's name as a chant, adding pressing charges against her to the list of demands protesters sent to the city. 

"It's going to make us go harder," said organizer Tatii. "It's going to bring more people out knowing that this is still very much alive and it's happening to people fighting against it."

Police confirm they responded to the incident and it has now been referred to the Office of Police Accountability (OPA) for further review.  

When KING 5 reporter Vanessa Misciagna attempted to call the OPA, there was a pre-recorded message saying the line wasn't working. She visited the office, which was closed due to COVID-19 and is waiting now for an email reponse. 

SPD says the collision is unrelated to a deadly crash on I-5 about an hour later, when a car drove into a crowd of protesters on the freeway. Summer Taylor died from the crash and Diaz Love is recovering in satisfactory condition. 

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