Please take care, be observant at Interstate protests

By Larry Johnson

Two stories in The Seattle Times over the past few days worry me.

First is the story of a white Jaguar sedan crashing into two protesters on Interstate 5, which dissects the city. One young woman was killed and the other badly injured.

There is the typical confusion that surrounds incidents like these, and of course, I was 6,000 miles from the scene, so there’s a lot I simply can’t know. Investigators still haven’t determined whether the driver of the Jaguar hit the protesters intentionally or by accident, whether he was drunk or high, or if he had entered the Interstate by going up the down ramp,

That portion of the highway was closed for Black Lives Matter protests that have been an almost daily feature of Seattle life since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. The protesters have blocked the Interstate through downtown occasionally since the protests began about a month ago, and signage indicated the road was closed for the protest.

Whatever the facts. 24-year-old Summer Taylor died of injuries suffered when the Jaguar hit she and badly injured Diaz Love, 32. Love was in intensive care Sunday. The car was driven by Dawit Kelete. who apparently entered the Interstate traveling in the wrong direction. He was booked by Seattle police on suspicion of vehicular assault.

I-5 splits downtown Seattle

Part of that same report says that an off-duty officer drove her car through protesters earlier in the evening. At least one person was hit, but apparently wasn’t too badly injured.

Here’s the police report on that incident:

Written byPublic Affairson July 4, 2020 10:17 am

On July 4th, the Seattle Police Department responded to investigate a collision involving an off-duty Seattle Police officer at Boren Avenue and Olive Way. 

At about 12:01 a.m., an off-duty Seattle Police officer was driving their personal vehicle at Boren Avenue and Olive Way, where a group of demonstrators had blocked the intersection.  

The off-duty officer reported they had attempted to drive through an opening in the crowd when the crowd surrounded their vehicle.  Another driver became involved in the incident and struck the off-duty officer’s car. 

Seattle Police responded and investigated the incident and the collision.  There were no injuries reported at the time of the investigation. 

This incident is unrelated to a vehicular assault that occurred a short time later on Interstate 5.   

This incident has been referred to the Office of Police Accountability for

The second troubling article is one detailing the Seattle Police Department’s use of tear gas and despite a 30-day ban on the substance by Police Chief Carmen Best. The incidents weren’t linked except by the overarching protests. Still, you have to wonder who’s going to get police protectio when the rubber meets the road. Whether you get it, don’t get it, or don’t want it, please, please, please be careful out there.

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