Overnight Seattle protest forces brief closure of I-5

SEATTLE - What had been a peaceful night of protests in Seattle evening turned unruly during the night as protesters clashed with police and spilled onto Interstate 5.

Five people were arrested, including one man who had a gun.

Police say protesters gathered at 7th and James threw bottles and rocks at officers and lit flares. The protest moved to 7th and Madison where protesters threw canned food at officers and tried to get onto I-5, police said.

The protest eventually spilled onto the collector-distributor lanes near James and the northbound lanes of I-5 near Olive Street as protesters continued to throw large fireworks at officers near 7th and Madison, Seattle Police tweeted.

The CD lanes and northbound I-5 were then closed to traffic so officers could remove "several demonstrators", SPD said. The freeway later reopened.

But the clashes continued and police responded with pepper spray and percussion grenades and brought in more officers. The crowd continued to roam around downtown -- a window was smashed at a Wells Fargo bank on Madison and rocks were tossed at officers again at 10th and East Pike as they moved back toward Capitol Hill, police said. Officers also warned protesters were throwing rocks on I-5 at Mercer just after 11 p.m.

One demonstrator also threw a large knife at police during the melee.

Many peaceful protesters said they were disgusted by the violence.

"All that we were doing was protesting in honor of Mike Brown, but you have some people that are here that are anarchists - whatever you would like to call them. But you do have people out here who are just protesting on his behalf," said protester Todd Peralta.

The clash came about four hours after more than 100 demonstrators began marching through Seattle on Monday night, joining thousands across the country in a protest of a grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who killed an 18-year-old black man in Ferguson, Missouri.

Some protestors spilled into the streets at 4th and Pine to stage a "Die-in" and held there for about 20 minutes. The group began marching north toward Capitol Hill then back toward Downtown Seattle and chanting "Black Lives Matter and "Hands Up, Don't Shoot," stopping periodically to sit or lie down in city intersections, blocking traffic before moving on. Dozens of police officers watched the crowd, which included Seattle rap star Macklemore.

Around the same time after the grand jury's decision was revealed, another group met at Seattle Community College to recognize a 4.5 minute moment of silence. The 4.5 minutes was symbolic and what Brown family had asked people give in remembrance that it reportedly took 4.5 hours for Brown's body to be retrieved from the shooting scene in Ferguson that night.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared that his city "is committed to the goals of racial and social justice" but also acknowledged that Seattle is "far from perfect."

St. Louis County, Missouri, authorities earlier announced that Officer Darren Wilson will not be charged in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off