Seattle police said they impounded a van full of explosives, stun guns, and improvised spike strips after witnessing protesters passing out items during the violent protests on Saturday.
Police Chief Carmen Best spoke to reporters about the discovery at a media briefing on Wednesday.
“Over the past several weeks we have seen many demonstrations throughout the city. Many demonstrators have been peaceful, however, many have not,” said Best.
“Since July 19th, we have seen three protests where individuals have embedded themselves and they were particularly destructive and violent inside the peaceful group. Last Saturday a group of protesters went to the Youth Service Center where people within the group threw incendiary devices, molotov cocktails, into a construction site which resulted in several trailers being destroyed by fire,” she explained.
“The group went from the construction cite to the East Precinct. A van that was closely following the group arrived at the precinct with the group. People were seen removing items and distributing them to people within the group. These items were described as baseball bats, pyrotechnic explosives, APR respirators, improvised shields, and face masks,” Best added.
A detective explains improvised spike strips found in Seattle vanImage Source: YouTube screenshot
“Moments later an explosion blew an eight-inch hole into the wall of the East Precinct,” Best continued.
“Because of the manner in which the vehicle was parked and abandoned, there was a real fear that it would contain explosive devices that could detonate. The vehicle was impounded, detectives applied for a search warrant, yesterday a judge granted that request,” said Best.
“The search yielded, one, pyrotechnic explosives, smoke bombs bundled together and unlit, but able to cause large amounts of smoke that are caustic to humans, bear spray, using it on anything but bears is a federal offense, pepper spray, stun guns, improvised spike strips,” she explained.
Improvised pyrotechnic explosions Image Source: YouTube screenshot
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who has expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement, condemned the violence from the rioting.
“Peaceful protests are good for our city and good for our country,” said Durkan, “but in our city it is also a truth that arson, destruction, and violence have occurred and they undermine the push and need and voice for systemic change.”
She went on to admit that some journalists were harassed and intimidated by protesters. Durkan also said that any charges of police misconduct would be thoroughly investigated.
Best said that 59 officers were injured and 47 people were arrested at Saturday’s riot.
Here’s the video of the press briefing from KING 5:
WATCH LIVE: Seattle mayor, police chief on Saturday’s protests