Seattle's East Precinct getting concrete barriers after rioters' failed arson attempt
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Concrete barriers were to be placed around the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct just days after rioters allegedly tried to set fire to the building and trap employees inside, city officials said Friday, according to reports.
A suspect identified as Desmond David-Pitts, 19, of Alaska, faced federal charges Thursday in connection with attempted arson, authorities said.
After David-Pitts tried to set the building on fire, others used quick-drying cement to try to seal the doors with workers inside, police said, according to Q13 FOX in Seattle.
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“This is the fourth defendant to appear in federal court after being charged with criminal conduct that went far beyond any peaceful protest,” U.S. Attorney Brian Moran said. “Those who go to protest but choose violence and criminal acts over protected speech will face the full weight of federal criminal sanctions. This illegal conduct must end.”
Seattle police Chief Carmen Best said the "pre-planned attack endangered the lives of our officers and our entire community."
A man who lives in the neighborhood told KIRO-TV he thought the barriers were "definitively a positive thing to keep potential protesters and police, like, separated" for the short term. "Because back when they were toe-to-toe on the front lines of the protests, it was just constant crisis and constant disaster."
Still, others weren't in favor of the protective barriers.
“A giant 'Ugh,' I think. That’s the best way to describe it," a woman who works nearby said. "More like a ‘Really? OK. What’s the purpose of that?’”
Similar barriers have been installed at the city's West Precinct, Q13 reported.
Protesters also demonstrated outside of what they believed was the home of the police union president Thursday.
The East Precinct is the same location that sparked protests in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood that eventually led to the controversial Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), which was also known as CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone). The area was cleared out and officers returned to the abandoned East Precinct building last month following two fatal shootings.
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