News Round Up for Puget Sound Anarchists
This irregular column will be collecting news articles from around the region relevant to ongoing anarchist and radical struggles and reporting on them with an anarchist lens. It is the intention of this column to invite anarchists and our friends to use this website more as a source of news and to better connect our struggles.
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SPD Under Fire for Much Misconduct
Two separate stories have come out in the last week involving misconduct on the part of the Seattle Police Department, and as anarchists we shouldn’t be surprised but perhaps should take note when the mainstream media talks about the corrupt activities of police.
The Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), an office within the SPD created to “investigate complaints of police misconduct,” has announced that they have “opened a preliminary investigation” into matters of surveillance after an article published by the Stranger (http://www.thestranger.com/news/2016/09/28/24585899/how-the-seattle-poli...) shared how SPD has secretly and illegally purchased a tool, a program called Geofeedia, to track your social media posts. You can watch an easy-to-follow video here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjZU8KRoezo) about how Geofeedia works.
Whether or not the OPA finds the SPD to have committed anything out of line with legal parameters, the fact remains that there are easy-to-access tools out there for tracking and trawling through countless social media applications, and these tools can be used to track, control and incriminate participants in protests and demonstrations. Let this be a reminder that the eyes of the state are ever-expanding, and that blindly participating in the use of social media can and does have brutal consequences for our movements. Be careful with what, when and where you post and be mindful of the fact that any documentation of protests or demonstrations can be used by the police.
And in another disgusting turn of events, “John Knight, a Seattle police officer assigned to the Training and Education Section, has been suspended without pay after charges were filed in King County Superior Court alleging that he assaulted at least two employees by groping them.” (http://spdblotter.seattle.gov/2016/10/06/spd-officer-under-investigation...) There are multiple claims stating that this police officer had sexually assaulted other officers in the force, and perhaps many more that have been ignored or simply haven’t come forth. Knight was also one of two officers named in a 2006 lawsuit where he and his partner assaulted and practically kidnapped a black man that they “mistakenly” took for a car-prowler. This is no case of bad apples, as some like to say when trying to debunk arguments against police, but rather a culture of harassment that proliferates throughout police academies.
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Seattle Continues to Wage War on Homeless
The Mount Zion Baptist Church has sold the building that houses Peace in the Streets by Kids in the Streets (PSKS), a shelter for anyone ages 18-29, for $3.2 million, giving them two years to find a new home (http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2016/09/mount-zion-church-sells-psks-h...). The church acquired the property in 2007 for $2.1 million, which seems to mark them as an entity that has something to gain financially off of gentrification in the Central District. PSKS had offered to buy the property back in April of this year for $3 million, just shy of how much Dep Homes purchased it for, a company that markets itself for buildling “green” homes (http://dephomes.com/about-us/). The church’s choice to sell to the development company clearly places it on the side of money in the struggle for space in the central district.
And in a matter of weeks the Seattle City Council has decided to go forth with evicting the notorious Jungle, an encampment for houseless people under the I-5. The city gave the people living there notice that they have until 8am on October 11th to leave, according to the Seattle Times (http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/seattle-says-it-will-c...). “Personal belongings will be available to be picked up for 60 days at a city storage facility on Airport Way South near South Industrial Way.
“This is not an authorized area for storage or shelter,” the notice posted at The Jungle says. “Crews will begin work in this area. There is risk of injury from heavy equipment that prohibits general public access.”
Once the area is clear of people, trash and belongings, the Department of Transportation will begin work to upgrade a dirt access road to The Jungle area, said Travis Phelps, a WSDOT spokesman.”
There is a protest called for on facebook which perhaps leaves room for a diversity of tactics (https://www.facebook.com/events/510269569170170/). See you at the Seattle Art Museum for coffee at 6:30am, and then folks will go up to the Jungle at 7:30am to “witness the sweeps- if not protest them directly, then in order to hold the city accountable for their actions.” Last time the city threatened to evict the camp at Dearborn St, near the freeway on-ramp and the Goodwill, a rather large group of protesters showed up and helped to set up infrastructure for a more permanent camp, and although it was eventually torn down by the city, it allowed people more time to find another place to live and provided an experiment in autonomous (and illegal) living.
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New Charges for Andre & Bryson, 2 Men in Olympia Shot by Police Officer
State prosecutors are seeking to add additional charges, third-degree theft, against Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin, two brothers (who are also black) who had the cops called on them for allegedly stealing beer from a Safeway on the Westside of Olympia. The responding officer found Andre and Bryson on the side of the road, and in the ensuing encounter shot both of them. The judge will decide later this week whether or not to add the additional charges.
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Fascist Movement in the Pacific Northwest
In a post on this website from last week, fascist movement was documented in the Seattle area (http://pugetsoundanarchists.org/node/152). In more developing news south of the Emerald City, Olympia Police have apprehended two people accused of bribing the vitcim of a racist attack in an aim to entice him to not show up for court and continue to press charges (http://www.theolympian.com/news/local/crime/article106566982.html). Earlier this year, a black man was stabbed unprovoked in downtown Olympia by a white man sporting racist and white supremacist tattoos, who told police that he had sworn oath to a white-power gang in prison and was doing his part to protect the police. Police recorded his phone calls while still in custody, and overheard him making arrangements to bribe and intimidate the victim into not showing up for court. While we shouldn’t applaud the police for performing their roles as protectors of law and order, the information they share with the mainstream media can be information used by antifascists to continue to archive and document fascist and racist activity.
On a similar note of police acting as dogs of the state and turning up information that is of use to anarchists, police officers serving a warrant to a Thurston County home discovered a large amount of guns, ammunition, drugs and body armor at a home believed to be that of a white-power gang member (http://www.theolympian.com/news/local/crime/article106557022.html). The police officer who spoke to the Olympian did not give much information that lead to this suspicion of his, but this does not seem to be out of ordinary behavior for Pacific Northwest rural white-supremacists who seem unafraid of using firearms and jailtime.
On the post from earlier this month on recent fascist activity in Seattle, it is encouraged that if you see or notice any propaganda that is racist or fascist, to cover that shit up and/or take a picture and email it to antifa206 (at) riseup (dot) net.