Seattle Police Release Bodycam Footage of Riots That Left 59 Officers Injured

July 27, 2020 Updated: July 27, 2020

Seattle police officials released body camera footage that shows portions of the rioting on Saturday that left dozens of officers injured.

The footage shows an explosive device hurled into a group of officers, who backed off as it exploded. It also shows items being thrown at officers as they face off with the rioters.

Forty-seven people were arrested after a mob disabled cameras at a construction site before setting it on fire and hurling projectiles, including rocks and bottles, at officers.

According to the Seattle Police Department, 59 officers were injured. At least one required hospital care. Injuries ranged from abrasions and bruising to burns and a torn meniscus.

Officers continually moved demonstrators away from the East Precinct after the crowd threw an explosive at the building, causing structural damage. Photographs showed an 8-inch hole blown through a wall from the explosive.

In a diagram explaining what happened, police officers said a firework device was thrown and fell between a glass window and plywood.

“The confined area made the blast focus out to the street + into the [precinct],” they wrote.

Detectives with the arson and bomb squad are investigating who was responsible.

Pictures showed injuries, including an abrasion and a burn, that officials said was caused by explosive devices.

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A hole blown through a wall in the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct by rioters in Seattle, Wash., on July 25, 2020. (Seattle Police Department)
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A Seattle police officer suffered an abrasion from an explosive device during rioting in Seattle, Wash., on July 25, 2020. (Seattle Police Department)
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A Seattle police officer suffered a burn from an explosive device during rioting in Seattle, Wash., on July 25, 2020. (Seattle Police Department)

Mike Solan, president of the Seattle police union, shared an article about officers being injured by rioters.

“This is clearly domestic terrorism,” he said in a social media post.

City officials have not commented on the mayhem. They haven’t held a press briefing since July 24, when they urged demonstrators to protest peacefully. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, a Democrat, joined the mayors of five other cities in writing to members of Congress on July 20, urging them to make it illegal for the federal government to deploy federal agents to cities that don’t welcome them.

Demonstrators accused the police of using unnecessary force over the weekend. Cass Bunting, 24, told the Seattle Times that he was attempting to leave around 4 p.m. when a police officer threw a device at a group of demonstrators.

“I felt an explosion at my feet. I promptly lost feeling,” he said, adding, “Those kind of instances of brutality brings to the surface the violence of the system and the inequity and the problems that people are protesting.”

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Protesters confront police at the former location of the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) after a “Youth Day of Action and Solidarity with Portland” demonstration in Seattle, Wash., on July 25, 2020. (Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)
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Firefighters exit a Starbucks Coffee that was vandalized by rioters during a “Youth Day of Action and Solidarity with Portland” demonstration in Seattle, Wash., on July 25, 2020. (Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)
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Construction buildings burn near the King County Juvenile Detention Center in Seattle, Wash., on July 25, 2020. (Ted S. Warren/AP Photo)

Police officers were free to use crowd control measures like blast balls after a federal judge, the day before the rioting, halted a new City Council ordinance that would have prevented every department from owning, purchasing, renting, storing, or using “crowd control weapons.”

Police Chief Carmen Best said in a statement July 25 morning that officers would be carrying pepper spray and blast balls, “as would be typical for events that carry potential to include violence.”

The department would not use tear gas, she added.

Some federal agents were sent to Seattle last week to protect federal properties, U.S. Attorney Brian Moran confirmed. No federal agents appeared to help local police during the rioting over the weekend, and no federal buildings appeared to be targeted by rioters.

President Donald Trump on Monday said on social media that federal officers “are little involved” in the city, except for “a large standby team in case of emergency.”

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