Tag Archives: George Floyd Protests

BREAKING: Claims in Fmr. SPD Chief Best Video Discredited by OEM the Day Before

SPD Publicly Released Video Without Clarification

by Carolyn Bick


The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.

In the late morning of June 11, 2020, shortly before 11 a.m., the Seattle Police Department (SPD) released a video of its now-former Chief Carmen Best relaying a message to officers, following the internal and public fallout of the Seattle police’s decision to abandon the East Precinct.

In that video, Best claimed that SPD had received reports of armed people patrolling the area, and that these same armed people “may be demanding payment from business owners in exchange for some of that protection. We’ve also heard that they may be demanding to see identification for people who live in the area. This is not legal.”

But about 17 hours earlier, at 6:10 p.m. on June 10, 2020, Best — along with several other high-ranking City officials, including a host of core mayoral staffers, as well as SPD Assistant Chief Thomas Mahaffey and now-interim Chief Adrian Diaz — received an updated ground intelligence report email from then-acting Dir. of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Laurel Nelson. The report specifically stated that the above claims about extortion and identification demands were untrue, per an OEM staffer’s site visit to investigate the claims.

Continue reading BREAKING: Claims in Fmr. SPD Chief Best Video Discredited by OEM the Day Before

My Fearless Imagination, or How Reimagining Seattle Is a Question Better Asked of Fire

by Roberto Ascalon

(This article is reprinted with permission from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Front Porch project. Read more works by Seattle poets and community members in the series “Reimagining Seattle,” at the official website.)

Content Warning: This article mentions some details about the killing of George Floyd.


https://southseattleemerald.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/again-a-question-of-fire_1.mp3
“again, a question of fire” by Roberto Ascalon

Reading books to my son before bedtime taught me to cry well. For the first few years of my son’s life, I cried a lot. I mean really cried.

Those first few years I learned to cry without using all the muscles of my face. I’d get all pink-faced over his bedtime story and silently, silently, ever so silently take a single deep head-nodding sob in between words. I felt like this big-ass bald-headed Quasimoto hunching beside his crib hissing, “Don’t look at me!” And it’s not because I don’t want him to see me cry. Quite the contrary — “I’m gonna teach that boy to cry if it’s the last thing I do! Muahahahaha!” No. That’s just a joke. It’s because watching your dad work out existential issues can be trying, and I believe in trying to reduce the amount of PTSD I dole out just before bedtime as much as I can.

Continue reading My Fearless Imagination, or How Reimagining Seattle Is a Question Better Asked of Fire

OPINION: Community Is All We Need

by Nura Ahmed 


It was election day, Nov. 2, 2019. Hope and anticipation filled the air and Seattle’s communities of color were restless and agitated, facing an unknown future. It was pouring down rain as final results rolled in. Shaun Scott was running on a democratic-socialist platform, alongside many other progressive candidates looking to make a change in our city, county, and state. 

I started organizing for progressive candidates that same year. I believed in our electoral system, that politics was the means for achieving liberation. But what I learned instead was that our electoral system has a lot more to do with money than liberation. It was heartbreaking to see grounded-in-community progressives lose because it showed where our power structure’s real interest lies. 

It was never in the community. It has always been in protecting corporate interests. It was disheartening and it made me realize that our electoral system was never created for us. The election in 2019 only showed us that City Council elections can be bought.

Continue reading OPINION: Community Is All We Need

OPA Decision Answers Some Questions About East Precinct Evacuation, Raises Others

by Carolyn Bick

The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.


The City’s Office of Police Accountability (OPA) has determined that neither former Police Chief Carmen Best nor Assistant Chief Thomas Mahaffey of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is at fault for SPD’s decision to leave the East Precinct in Capitol Hill last June. The decision and its root cause have been the topic of significant public discussion and speculation, particularly since the East Precinct was a major focal point in the George Floyd protests last year.

Following more than a week of escalating tensions and violence between police officers and protesters, on June 8, 2020, someone within SPD made the decision for the department’s officers to leave the East Precinct. This contentious decision came on the heels of SPD refusing to allow protesters to walk past the precinct, even erecting a barrier around the precinct to protect it against perceived threats from protesters. The decision to remove personnel — allegedly made by a small group of officers led by Assistant Chief Thomas Mahaffey, according to KUOW — was allegedly not shared with then-Police-Chief Carmen Best. Just before officers left the building, Mahaffey told officers in a June 2020 email obtained by Crosscut that he wanted to “address a rumor” about SPD plans to abandon the building and that “[i]t is the strong position of both Chief [Carmen] Best and myself that we will not abandon one of our facilities to those who are intent on damaging or destroying it.” According to KUOW, Mahaffey and this small group of officers at some point determined that remaining inside the precinct wasn’t safe.

While the basis for that decision has been widely speculated upon for the last year, the OPA today released a Closed Case Summary (CCS) that appears to shed some light on the matter. An investigative OPA interview with Mahaffey and an email the OPA obtained and used as evidence also raises the possibility that Best knew exactly what Mahaffey had decided to do, contrary to what she has claimed to both police officers and the public in the 16 months that have passed. However, this very same investigative interview appears to show that Mahaffey was not entirely forthcoming in his first interview with the OPA — an issue the OPA does not discuss or touch upon, despite explicitly saying in the CCS that SPD employees may face termination if their statements to OPA investigators are not “truthful and complete” or if they are “withholding or misrepresenting information.”

Continue reading OPA Decision Answers Some Questions About East Precinct Evacuation, Raises Others

DAJD Claims Protester Slammed Own Face Onto Booking Counter, Breaking Two Teeth

by Carolyn Bick

The Emerald’s Watchdragon reporting seeks to increase accountability within our city’s institutions through in-depth investigative journalism.

Content Warning: This article contains raw, unedited video from the King County Jail in Downtown Seattle and detailed descriptions of violence and injuries.


If the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention’s (DAJD) official story about protester Eric Look’s July 25, 2020, arrest is to be believed, Look forcefully slammed his own face into a pre-booking counter at the King County Jail in Downtown Seattle, causing permanent damage to his two front teeth.

In fact, if one reviews the video of this incident, it appears — in line with the department’s version of events — that Look must briefly have defied the laws of gravity, apparently levitating for a split second before allegedly smashing his own face into the aforementioned counter.

Continue reading DAJD Claims Protester Slammed Own Face Onto Booking Counter, Breaking Two Teeth

Weekend Long Reads: What Is The Sentinel Event Review?

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s “long read” is about a new report from Seattle’s Office of the Inspector General for Public Safety (OIG) on its investigation into last summer’s protests using a process called a “Sentinel Event Review.”

Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: What Is The Sentinel Event Review?

Three Tacoma Police Officers Charged in the Killing of Manuel Ellis

by Will James, Kari Plog, and Lilly Ana Fowler

(This article was previously published by KNKX and has been reprinted with permission.)


Three Tacoma police officers have been charged with felonies in the March, 2020, killing of Manuel Ellis, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday — after multiple investigations into a case that has set off protests and resulted in changes in statewide police accountability laws.

Ferguson charged Officers Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins with second-degree murder and Officer Timothy Rankine with first-degree manslaughter.

Continue reading Three Tacoma Police Officers Charged in the Killing of Manuel Ellis

The Morning Update Show — 5/25/21

The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.

We also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.

Morning Update Show — Tuesday, May 25

I Just Want to Live… | Murder of George Floyd One Year Later | What Has Changed And What Has Not? | How Should Seattle Commemorate the Seattle Protests | LIVE — Shakiah Danielson – ELEVATE | LIVE — ProofNThePlay | LIVE — Mark Anthony

Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 5/25/21

OPA Clears Officer Who Drove Onto Sidewalk of Most Serious Allegations

by Carolyn Bick


The Seattle Office of Police Accountability has decided that there is “insufficient evidence” to hold the Seattle Police Department officer who drove an unmarked SUV onto a crowded sidewalk last August responsible for assault by allegedly violating City and police department standards and duties, and adherence to the law, as well as City and police department policy.

Continue reading OPA Clears Officer Who Drove Onto Sidewalk of Most Serious Allegations

OPINION: Defund the Police Isn’t a Slogan, It’s a Call to Action in Response to Generations of Racial Violence and BIPOC Communities Should Be Leading

by Alycia Ramirez


Since the death of George Floyd last spring, the term “Defund the Police” has jumped into the public conscientious, but not by some twist in fate or happenstance. The fight for police accountability and reform has been a generations-long battle, which has coalesced into what we see today with the Defund the Police movement.  

In over 100 years of policing there has been repeated violence directed at Black and Brown communities at the hands of police, and little meaningful reform to stop or reduce it. White America may be just fine with doing the absolute bare minimum and maintaining the status quo, but marginalized communities may not be so willing to endure another century of violence directed at them.  

The uncomfortable truth is that police forces were originally created in our nation for the purpose of upholding white supremacy. They were slave catchers, created for the explicit purpose of capturing runaway slaves. 

Continue reading OPINION: Defund the Police Isn’t a Slogan, It’s a Call to Action in Response to Generations of Racial Violence and BIPOC Communities Should Be Leading