Protesters sue Seattle, claiming they need ‘expensive’ protective gear to protest safely – KIRO 7 News Seattle


SEATTLE – A complaint filed Monday vs. Seattle City argues that the constitutional rights of protesters were violated by the police department’s “indiscriminate” use of chemical and less lethal crowd control tactics, which forced protesters to purchase “expensive” protective gear in order to do so. safely spread their message against police brutality on the streets.

“Because the Seattle Police Department has acted above and outside the law in dispensing its unbridled force, and the city has failed to prevent it, the effect of the government is to establish a de facto protest tax, ”the lawyers wrote. “Individual protesters subjected to relentless and indiscriminate violence from the SPD must now purchase prohibitively expensive equipment to resist ammunition – even when demonstrating peacefully – as a condition of exercising their right to freedom of movement. expression and peaceful assembly. “

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of five protesters who attended the July 25 protest on Capitol Hill, which police later declared a riot, calls on a judge to order a judge to prevent the city from using controversial crowd control tactics against protesters, including explosive bullets and pepper spray. .

This is the last lawsuit against the city of Seattle for its handling of the protests that continued following the murder of George Floyd. In response to a separate case related to these tactics, involving Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, the city argued that the agents’ actions were directed against individuals and were not indiscriminate.

“But the SPD’s continued misuse of munitions of war against civilians turns the streets – a public forum and a site of protest – into a paid protest racket where only a privileged few who are wealthy or popular enough to mobilize funds to buy equipment similar to that used by the police department they fund can really be on the streets, ”the lawsuit says.

“We will be looking into these new claims,” the Seattle City Attorney’s Office said in a statement to KIRO 7. “The relief these plaintiffs seek relates to recent orders from Judges Robart and Related Case Reviews with the tribunal.


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