For immediate release.
SEATTLE, Jan. 12, 2021 – The Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (“NLG Seattle”) condemns law enforcement’s disparate treatment of Black and Indigenous protesters in contrast to that of the right-wing fascists and white supremacists (the “insurrectionists”) who attempted a coup on January 6, 2021. This disparate treatment evidences the deep rot within this country’s racist policing system and its bias to right-wing politics.
On Wednesday, we collectively witnessed one of the most jarring examples of racism and brazen bias in this nation’s treatment of the Capitol Hill insurrectionists. Many of us watched the attempted coup unfold live on national news, angry as news anchors still somehow framed these insurrectionists as “protesters” and angry as law enforcement was either missing entirely or complicit.
By a formal letter issued to the Office of Governor Jay Inslee on January 12, 2021, we call upon the Governor to:
A representative from the NLG Seattle said:
It is angering to observe on a national scale the disparate treatment of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters demanding racial justice and the fascist mob that attempted on Wednesday to overthrow the U.S. Presidential election. On June 2, 2020, the mere presence of Black protesters and allies activated an unwavering, coordinated law enforcement reaction that was prepared for the worst and intent from the start not to let any Black protester or ally enter federal government property. On Wednesday, we watched as Capitol police posed for a selfie with an insurrectionist who had breached the Capitol building, and we watched as insurrectionists took leisurely, self-guided tours of the breached Capitol building -- stopping along the way to destroy and steal federal government property.
Another representative with NLG Seattle who was present at many demonstrations to document police brutality, noticed:
There was no riot gear, no tear gassing, no rubber bullets, no flash bangs, no shoving, no concern for the preservation of federal property, no open vitriol from law enforcement on Wednesday. This stark difference in law enforcement reaction is appalling and unforgettable.
It is also upsetting to read that violent and armed individuals in our own state of Washington were allowed to breach Governor Inslee’s gates in Olympia on Wednesday and had at least 30 minutes to wander his private property “with flags, signs, and megaphones.” We contrast this with months of BLM and Indigenous marches through the streets and sidewalks of Seattle that often resulted in quickly-escalated police violence against protesters, the media, and Seattle Chapter legal observers. Again, this stark difference in law enforcement reaction is appalling and unforgettable.
Lastly, it is disturbing to know that at least two Seattle Police Department officers traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the pro-Trump rally and, subject to an ongoing investigation, may have been involved in the attempted coup. We know that there have been fascist infiltrations into law enforcement in Washington State, including a member of the so-called “Proud Boy Girls” who was until 2018 a deputy in the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. We are overdue to know who else among Washington State law enforcement is connected to fascist organizations.
SPD officers sue the OPA and NLG student member Sam Sueko to remain anonymous during investigations into Jan 6 riots.
Seattle NLG opposes SB 5038, which prohibits the open carry of certain weapons at protests and the state capitol.