Tag Archives: George Floyd Protests

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.”

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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

Vigil for Dolal Idd in Tukwila Shows Solidarity for Somali-Muslim Community and Demands Change

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Over a week after Dolal Idd was fatally shot by police in Minneapolis, roughly 150 people gathered in front of the Tukwila Library on Sunday, Jan. 10, to honor the Somali American man’s life and to call for systemic change. 

Many speakers mourned the loss of another Black life and spoke to the need for nationwide action on policing. Shukri Olow, a candidate for King County Council District 5, which encompasses some of South Seattle, spoke as a member of the Somali-Muslim community and as a mother herself.

“When I heard about what happened to Dolal, I couldn’t help but feel the pain of his mother, who ran away from the civil war to find a safe environment for her children,” Olow said. “I want you to think about fleeing a conflict … coming to safe shores only to have your child killed by a system that you do not understand, a system that does not see our humanity.”

Continue reading Vigil for Dolal Idd in Tukwila Shows Solidarity for Somali-Muslim Community and Demands Change

Marshall Law Band’s Debut Album ‘12th and Pine’ Examines Leadership and Responsibility After a Summer of Protest

by M. Anthony Davis


I once read an article by Larry Mizell, Jr. where he quoted some famous guy who said “great music is often sparked by a revolution.” As I listened to “12th and Pine,” the new Marshall Law Band album that was birthed from the summer protests in Seattle, those words reverberated in my head. This album, the latest creation of the band that garnered national media attention during a six-day residency playing the soundtrack to protests outside of the East Precinct in Capitol Hill, was literally conceptualized, written, and recorded during the protests.

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Seattle Protests Stand at 150 Days and Counting

by Elizabeth Turnbull 


On Monday night, the cold streets surrounding Westlake Park transformed into an echo chamber of drum beats, footsteps, and chants of “No good cops in a racist system! No bad protesters in a revolution!” as roughly 500 protesters marched to where the protests began in Seattle roughly 150 days before. 

After an anticipatory drumroll, several protesters stood up on the park’s stage and unfurled a banner that read, “You Can’t Stop This Revolution” on one side and “Montgomery Bus Boycott: 381 Days, Seattle BLM Protests: 150 Days” on the other.

Continue reading Seattle Protests Stand at 150 Days and Counting