A dozen Seattle police officers were hurt and one was hospitalized when a group of people inside a Sunday afternoon protest in downtown turned violent, authorities said.
The injuries occurred after an initial group peacefully gathered at Westlake Center for an Abolish ICE rally around 10:30 a.m. But a few hours later, another group armed with baseball bats joined the group and marching south on 5th Avenue, according to Seattle Police.
The injuries to the officers were mostly minor, but one police officer was taken to a local hospital for treatment for burns to their neck, authorities said.
The group began smashing windows and leaving graffiti behind on some businesses along the way, eventually moving to 3rd Avenue where more businesses were looted, had windows smashed and walls tagged with graffiti, police said.
One of the damaged businesses was the Victrola Coffee Roasters at 3rd Avenue and Pine Street. The Seattle Municipal Court Building was also vandalized.
A KOMO News crews arrived at the demonstration as it moved down 3rd Avenue but were pushed out of the way by the group of demonstrators.
The group eventually made their way to the West Precinct at 8th and Virginia Street, where they attempted to break into the building and clashed with officers, police said.
“The protesters that were outside the west precinct then lit what was described as mortar type fireworks and then threw these fireworks at officers from a very close range,” said Sgt. Lauren Truscott with Seattle Police.
Two of the injured officers suffered cuts while a third officer was burned in their neck by a firework and was later taken to a local hospital.
Police made two arrests outside the West Precinct; one for investigation of theft, and the other for assault.
But the group wasn’t finished and marched up to Capitol Hill where they smashed more windows and continued looting, Seattle Police said. Photos from the scene showed a Starbucks store had its windows smashed out.
A small fire was set inside one of the damaged Capitol Hill businesses but was quickly extinguished, police said.
The protesters made their way to Seattle Police’s East Precinct building where they smashed several of the front windows and tossed into a mortar-type firework into the lobby, causing a small fire, police said.
“My understanding is that somebody breached the gate to get in there and break the window—and threw something into the lobby,” Truscott said.
That fire too was quickly extinguished but officers found another unlit mortar-type firework nearby.
Protesters eventually made their way to Cal Anderson Park where they eventually dispersed, police said.
Police say they believe this group was well organized and were targeting certain buildings such as Amazon and Starbucks, as well as certain federal properties.
Investigators with the ATF as well as the arson and bomb squads are investigating the fires and fireworks while SPD detectives are following up on the looting and property damage claims.