Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Seattle Police: The Picture of Neoliberalism

Now that I'm feeling better, I can tell you about the white nationalist rally and counter-protest that happened in Seattle on Sunday. It's been quite a few months since I've been to one of these, and for the most part, very little was different. The MAGA folks and Three Percenters and Proud Boys were up in the elevated area in front of City Hall, the SPD had them barricaded away from the liberal/socialist counter-protesters chanting and picketing and from a separate group of black bloc antifa folks.

What was different is that the SPD has ramped up its police presence and aggressive tactics. They still face both the black bloc and the peaceful protesters with their military-style riot gear with their big wooden batons held in front of them in a clear message of intimidation and threat.

Nothing much happened until after about two hours, I'm guessing around when the hate group meet and greet was scheduled to end, when the cops started working to split the counter-protest group up and push us far away from City Hall as the white nationalists started to leave. I'm sure the SPD's excuse is to make sure that nobody from the two groups crossed paths to prevent fighting, but in the meantime they arrested four antifa and/or regular counter-protesters and shoved a 70-year-old woman to the ground for reasons that are a complete fucking mystery.

So many cops descended upon the protesters, who had done nothing at all to even cause trouble, that I'm left wondering whether they had any left to make sure that the Proud Boys and members of the violent anti-government militia didn't hurt random bystanders in the area as they left.

It was also just bizarre and disturbing to watch what this city has become. The militarized boke cops using their bikes to aggressively herd protesters is such a perfect picture of faux progressive, neoliberal Seattle.

Seattle: Our police reduce emissions by oppressing you on and with bikes!

Maybe the weirdest part was when I heard one group of these cops shout at each other like a sports team right before a game starts, saying shit like "good verbals, guys!"

These "verbals" came in the form of the line of bike cops aggressively shouting "MOVE BACK" every time they shoved their bikes forward at the reluctantly retreating crowd of protesters. You can hear and see all this in some video I got:

The video doesn't really do justice to how forceful and intimidating these shouts were. But you can see how much they operate like a military force, in spite of the fact that the group they were facing was small and mostly regular, non-black bloc protesters. Not a threat to them. But we were treated like a threat, at best. It felt more like we were being treated as dangerous animals. I have to seriously question whether these cops view any members of the public as human anymore. We were treated as hostile and they acted like this ridiculous shouting was some kind of favor to us so that we would know for sure what they wanted us to do.

It was degrading and dehumanizing and bizarre and absurd and fucked up.

But what was most fucked up was this:

Gee, why do people hate the police?

What was also incredible was simply she sheer volume of cops. All in all I wouldn't be surprised if there was a cop there for every counter-protester. Is that fucking necessary? How much did that cost? Maybe the SPD is getting a bit too much money if they can spare all those officers for an uneventful protest that was only at all noteworthy because of the fucked up actions of the cops. Maybe Seattle should use some of that money to help the homeless or fix its fucking shitty roads.

I mean:

It's too many cops.

Every day this country feels more like a police state. Fuck the police.

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