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Mayor Durkan Issues Emergency Orders Proclaiming Civil Emergency Due to Demonstrations and Banning Use of Weapons Throughout City

City Submits Request for 200 Unarmed National Guard Personnel to Assist with Infrastructure Protection, Traffic and Crowd Management for Next Seven Days

Seattle (May 30, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today issued the following Emergency Orders, effective immediately in the City of Seattle: 

  1. An Order declaring a Proclamation of Civil Emergency following escalated violence and destruction stemming from downtown demonstrations; and 
  2. An Order banning weapons, both formal and informal. 

In addition, the Mayor and Chief of Police Carmen Best submitted a request to the State Emergency Operations Center for 200 unarmed National Guard personnel to immediately assist with infrastructure protection and traffic and crowd management in Seattle for the next seven days. The request has been granted by Governor Inslee. 

“I know the vast majority of today’s demonstrators came together with the intention to protest, grieve, and commit themselves to justice. For most of today, the demonstrations were peaceful, and I thank all those who chose to exercise their right to protest without hurting others. However, in the late afternoon, demonstrations downtown quickly turned violent. Molotov cocktails were thrown, lit fireworks were launched into peaceful crowds, and our firefighters couldn’t access burning buildings because of the crowds. We need those gathering to leave downtown Seattle immediately for their safety. To protect the health and safety of our residents, I am proclaiming a Civil Emergency in Seattle, imposing a curfew, and banning weapons. I also asked Governor Inslee for the support of unarmed National Guard to help with crowd management.” 

Beginning last night and continuing throughout the day, demonstrations occurred throughout downtown Seattle regarding the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Demonstrations were initially peaceful, however, they swiftly turned violent and led to multiple fires being intentionally set downtown in the late afternoon. 

Effects of the demonstrations include: 

  • Multiple Seattle Police Department officers injured; 
  • Multiple community members injured; 
  • Several arrests made; 
  • Demonstrators throwing bottles at police officers; 
  • Demonstrators throwing lit fireworks into crowds; 
  • Demonstrators have set several SPD vehicles on fire; 
  • Demonstrators have thrown several Molotov cocktails at vehicles;  
  • Two AR-15 rifles have been stolen from SPD vehicles, one recovered and one outstanding; and
  • Seattle Fire Department currently has limited, and occasionally completely restricted, access to buildings that are on fire. 

The newest Proclamation of Civil Emergency grants the Mayor emergency authority to take measures to address imminent threats to public health and safety caused by demonstrations citywide. The Emergency Order prohibits the use of weapons including guns, rocks, pipes, clubs, and flares *within a restricted area of the city. The Mayor also issued an Emergency Order establishing a 5:00 p.m. curfew effective today, May 30 and tomorrow, May 31. The curfew will be in effect from 5:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m., and during those hours residents and visitors should remain in their residence to the extent possible and should refrain from traveling in and through Seattle.

*updated 5/30/20 at 8:54 p.m.