SEATTLE — Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announced the department is launching a “serious” criminal investigation into the use of improvised explosives and other devices against officers and property during Saturday’s protest that was declared a riot by police.
The protest on July 25 remained peaceful for most of the afternoon until about a dozen people set fire to portable trailers and other equipment at a construction site next to the King County Youth Service Center, police said.
From there, the group continued to damage businesses and destroy property, including the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct on Capitol Hill.
During a news conference Wednesday, Chief Best joined by Mayor Jenny Durkan, said several items were seized from a van that was following closely behind the destructive group and people were seen pulling things out of it.
From the van, detectives recovered items like baseball bats, improvised shields, pyrotechnic explosives, bear spray, pepper spray, stun guns and improvised spike strips designed to disable bicycle officers.
"I see no reason why someone would need to arm themselves with these at a peaceful protest," said Sgt. Detective James Lee, who accompanied Chief Best and Mayor Durkan at the press conference.
A total of 59 officers were injured during Saturday's riot on Capitol Hill.
Chief Best said no arrests have been made yet regarding this particular investigation but assured "we are going to follow up aggressively with the investigation."
Mayor Durkan condemned the acts of violence committed against officers and property in Seattle on Saturday.
"Acts of destruction, violence and hateful speech, none of that gets us where we need to be, it’s not just a distraction, it undermines the central message and the actions we want to take as a city," said Mayor Durkan.