SEATTLE — Seattle police, nor prosecutors, could say much more on Monday about a pair of arrests tied to destructive vandalism that happened on Sunday evening.
A "well organized" group marched through downtown Seattle to Capitol Hill Sunday afternoon causing significant damage to businesses and the Seattle Police Department's West and East Precincts, according to a Seattle police spokesperson.
"It was kind of a joint effort to target specific businesses and government buildings and do property destruction and vandalism," said Seattle police in a press conference Sunday evening.
However, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan was quick to suggest that it was not tied to a peaceful protest happening around the same time a few blocks away.
"The people causing that destruction clearly came wanting to do that they were dressed to do it. They had the implements to do what they already know. Most people when they go to protest are not, you know, camouflaged head to toe, wearing helmets and goggles and carrying baseball bats or inflammatory devices," Durkan told KING 5.
The two arrested were not charged on Monday, and scant details were released. However, Seattle police suggested multiple officers were injured in the attempt to control the crowd, and that multiple buildings were damaged by the rioters.
The Downtown Seattle Association wrote, in a statement: “As our neighborhood businesses struggle to recover, it's frustrating to see such widespread and recurring damage to our center city. With our communities trying to rebuild, we need our leaders to ensure our city is safe for everybody. Unfortunately, Sunday's acts of property destruction and vandalism only serve to undermine the ability of small businesses and our downtown to recover.”
A peaceful demonstration, concerning immigration enforcement, was happening around the same time.
Both Durkan and Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold suggested that the destruction will be material for President Donald Trump, who allowed for nameless federal troops to make arrests in Portland over the weekend.
On Monday, the President suggested he would allow the same type of activity in cities like Chicago or New York.
"We've seen that in Portland. What's happening in Portland should worry every American," said Durkan.
Herbold, in a briefing with colleagues, issued a warning of sorts to organizers of protests and cited Portland as an example.
"The Trump Administration could use it as an excuse to do the same to Seattle, so I plead with the public to please continue your demonstrations. We need your voices to propel necessary change in policing, but I plead with you to do so peacefully," Herbold said.
There has been no suggestion of an imminent change, but the activity comes with a cloud of uncertainty over funding for police officers and public safety.
The City Council and Mayor's Office are both publicly debating the merits of significant, immediate cuts and more in 2021.