Outside Review Blasts Seattle Police Handling of May Day Protests


An independent review of violence that rocked Seattle's business core during May Day protests last year is highly critical of the Police Department's planning, saying officers were confused over who was in charge and when they could use force to stop the violence, reports the Seattle Times. A report by former Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Michael Hillmann makes 38 recommendations and lists a litany of failures that allowed widespread violence and vandalism during a march that left store and car windows smashed. Hillmann's report concluded police lost control of the protest for several hours. Although most of the thousands of protesters marched peacefully, black-clad anarchists broke windows, threw fire bombs and vandalized the federal courthouse. Citing planning gaps and deployment problems, Hillmann dryly concluded the department's response “was not a shining example of successful crowd management and protection of property.” In a remarkable finding, Hillmann said police rank-and-file had not had crowd-management tactics training since the 1999 World Trade Organization protests that paralyzed those meetings.

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