2012-07-10 "SWAT raid on organizers of Occupy Seattle & E4E" from "Kasama Project"
Kasama received this shortly after the police ended their ransacking of the Seattle apartment. We will cover events and statements as they emerge.
Early morning, July 10, SWAT police forced their way into the Seattle apartment of organizers from the Occupy movement. The sleeping residents scrambled to put on clothes as they were confronted with automatic weapons.
The neighbor Natalio Perez heard the attack from downstairs: “Suddenly we heard the bang of their grenade, and the crashing as police entered the apartment. The crashing and stomping continued for a long time as they tore the place apart.”
After the raid, the residents pored over the papers handed them by a detective. One explained: “This warrant says that they were specifically looking for ‘anarchist materials’ — which lays out the political police state nature of this right there. In addition they were looking for specific pieces of clothing supposedly connected with a May First incident.
When the police finally left, they did not arrest anyone.
This action targets well known activists from Occupy Seattle [http://occupyseattle.org/] and the Red Spark Collective [http://kasamaproject.org/2011/04/15/red-spark-collective-unity-statement/] (part of the national Kasama network [http://kasamaproject.org/]).
This apartment has been a hub for organizing the Everything 4 Everyone festival [http://www.everythingforeveryone.org/] in August – to bring together West Coast forces for a cultural and political event building on the year of Occupy.
The raid is a heavy-handed threat delivered by armed police aimed at intimidating specific people – but also st suppressing the work to continue the Occupy movement in Seattle, and create E4E as a space for radical gathering.
The E4E site will update this with more as we receive it, including hopefully statement from those involved. [http://www.everythingforeveryone.org/]
Door beaten in by SWAT police raid.
Room ransacked by police searching for “anarchist materials” and specific clothing.
2012-07-10 "Seattle Police threaten possible new warrants after today’s SWAT raid" from "Kasama Project"
Notice this report threatens more raids and implies (in a sleazy way) that the people in the apartment cooperated with the police. It appeared on the Seattle police’s “SPD Blotter.” 2012-07-10 "May Day investigation continuing" by Detective Mark Jamieson [http://spdblotter.seattle.gov/2012/07/10/may-day-investigation-continuing/]:
"Early this morning, SWAT and detectives served a search warrant to a residence as part of the ongoing May Day investigation. Just before 6:00 am, detectives contacted four individuals inside the residence in the 1100 Block of 29th Avenue South. The search resulted in evidence that will be useful in the investigation. The detectives are continuing to work toward identifying suspects in the May Day riot. There may be more search warrants in the future. The four individuals contacted inside the residence this morning were cooperative with investigators and after being interviewed, were released from the scene. The May Day investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to contact SPD’s May Day tip line at (xxx) xxx-xxxx or xxxx@Seattle.gov."2012-07-10 "This Morning, Police Raided a House in the Central District Looking for a Black Hoodie, a Pink Scarf, and “Paperwork—Anarchists” (Or, Since When Are Pamphlets Evidence of a Crime?)"
At approximately 5:45 am this morning, L was sleeping in bed with his girlfriend, in his Central District apartment. (L spoke with me before speaking to an attorney, so I’ve agreed to leave his name out of it until he consults one.) The apartment is on the third story of an old house that’s been partitioned off into apartment units.
Around that time, he heard a bang near the main, first-floor entrance. “My first instinct,” he said, “was that it was Fourth of July and we were hearing fireworks.” Then he says he heard from below: “This is the Seattle Police Department.” He hadn’t heard fireworks. He’d heard police kicking down his door and throwing flash-bang grenades into the house.
So L crawled out of bed, put on some pants, and knelt on the floor with his hands behind his head—before the police even entered his apartment. L wasn’t surprised. He’s been a participant in the Occupy events, anarchist circles, and the May Day protests [http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/05/01/may-day-protest-coverage] (which thousands of people attended, including myself, in a professional capacity [http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/05/02/why-all-the-smashy-smashy-a-beginners-guide-to-targeted-property-destruction/]). And in the past few weeks, such people have been visited by FBI agents—who asked them to become informants—and had their houses raided and their telephones confiscated, presumably for social-mapping purposes.
L had heard these stories and was expecting a visit sooner or later. “We knew that SWAT teams tend to come in with automatic guns,” he said, “and nobody wanted to test the trigger-happiness of Seattle cops.” So they got down on their knees.
He asked the first SWAT officer on the scene three questions:
1. Do you have a warrant?
2. Did you break down the door? (“We rent the place,” L told me, “and it’d be a pain in the ass to deal with a broken lock.”)
3. Did you knock before you entered? (L said this was his idea of a joke—since he’s on the third floor, he wouldn’t have heard a knock anyway.)
The SWAT officer, according to L, said “The detectives will be up here soon.”
Detective Wesley Friesen (who was busted for drunk driving and threatening to kill his arresting officers in 2004 [http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20041214&slug=cop14m]) entered and announced that he was the lead investigator of the May Day smashup. He briefly flashed the warrant in L’s face and said he could examine it more closely once the search was over. The morning’s occupants of the home—two regular residents and two visitors, including L’s girlfriend—had their hands zip-tied and were herded into the living room. Then the search began.
According to the warrant-inventory, signed by Detective Freisen, they took a black sweatshirt, a pink scarf, a pair of black goggles, “papers—notebook,” a black bandana, a black stocking hat, and “paperwork—anarchists in the Occupy movement.”
L said most of the officers appeared to be from Seattle Police Department, though some had their name tags covered with coats and one appeared to be from the Washington State Patrol. (Why the WSP? The domestic-surveillance information-sharing of our local fusion center might have something to do with it [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_center].)
The officers rifled through drawers and closets and knocked books around, including L’s Shakespeare books. “It’s funny,” he said. “When they knocked the Shakespeare books off the shelves, I thought of the line from Coriolanus (a play about a military man who becomes a politician during a period of civil unrest): ‘You may as well strike at the heaven with your staves as lift them against the Roman state.’”
Detective Friesen approached L with a stack of photographs, asking him to identify people in them, but L immediately declined to speak without an attorney present.
“If you’re gonna refuse to cooperate,” L said Friesen said, “this is gonna take a lot longer and be a lot harder for you guys.”
The officers rifled through stuff, took stuff, and left without arresting anyone. L said that Friesen gave a parting shot: “You’re gonna go to jail after this investigation is over for assault and malicious mischief.”
SPD spokesperson Sean Whitcomb said: “I’ve seen some stuff on social media that has said that this is an overreaction—that a SWAT team doing a search-warrant service for a vandalism investigation is heavy-handed. I’d say the May Day violence was the worst I’d seen since WTO… and not a message to corporations, but to individuals, such as people who had parked on the street and had their car windows smashed out. And incendiary devices such as smoke bombs—knowing what we do about violence across the globe, anytime anyone has an incendiary device, it is a cause of great concern.”
Understood. But police seizing political pamphlets as “evidence” for a crime? That seems wrong.
Since when does political writing—even, gasp, radical political philosophy—count as “evidence”? I suppose if you beat someone over the head with a hardback book by Bakunin, that would count.
But last time I checked, pamphlets and unpopular political opinions weren’t against the law.
2012-07-10 "Occupy Seattle statement adds details on SWAT raid" from "Kasama Project"
Occupy Seattle released the following statement, which adds details to a press release from earlier today. The press release was reported on Central District News [http://centraldistrictnews.com/2012/07/10/29th-judkins-loud-bang-and-shouting-at-5am].
The police statement said [http://kasamaproject.org/2012/07/10/seattle-police-comment-on-swat-raid/]: “The search resulted in evidence that will be useful in the investigation."
Meanwhile here is what this Occupy statement says the police took: “A zip-up sweater, one glove, a blue beanie, a pink scarf, a few flyers (one from a book release party for a book on Occupy). [ ... ] This is stuff that would be in the house of any activist or even people who just come to events now and then.”
2012-07-10 "Occupy Seattle Press Statement":
Early morning, June 10, SWAT police forced their way into the Seattle apartment of several organizers from the Occupy movement. The sleeping individuals, two residents and two visitors, scrambled to put on clothes as they were confronted by officers holding drawn tactical rifles.
The neighbor, Natalio Perez heard the attack from downstairs: “Suddenly we heard a loud crash which was, I guess, them breaking down the door, and then right after I heard what must have been the flash bang grenade and a lot of yelling over a loudspeaker. I heard them go up the stairs and then there was just a lot of crashing and stomping as they tore the place apart.”
After the raid, the residents examined the papers handed them by a detective. One explained: “This warrant notes that they were specifically looking for ‘anarchist materials’—this says to me that it’s an explicitly political thing. That we are not being raided for connection to any crime, but to some political ideology that the police think we have. I was just doing research on the old Pinkerton strikebreaking paramilitaries, so it’s kind of funny, you know, to have that old red scare history burst through my front door at six AM.”
This action targets well known activists from Occupy Seattle who have recently been involved with anti-police brutality organizing, actions against the juvenile detention center and the weekly Food for Everyone free barbecue in the Central District.
“They took basic stuff,” another resident said. “A zip-up sweater, one glove, a blue beanie, a pink scarf. They took a few flyers we had, one from a book release party for a book on Occupy.
This is stuff that would be in the house of any activist or even people who just come to events now and then.”
2012-07-10 "Coverage & solidarity statements after Seattle SWAT raid" from "Kasama project"
Within hours, support and outrage has been expressed from a number of different corners:
* Yiorgos Anastasiou, Member of KOE (Communist Organization of Greece) and of SYRIZA (Coalition of Radical Left), from Greece: Dear friends, We have been informed about the SWAT raid on organizers of Occupy Seattle & E4E, which we strongly condemn. We are confident that such intimidation attempts will only strengthen your resolution to continue your struggle. Your courageous movement in the USA is an inspiration for us all. Our hearts and minds are with you! We will soon send you an official statement of solidarity from Greece
* From the Marxist Leninist Party of Germany (Rote Fahne) [http://www.rf-news.de/2012/kw28/11.07.12-hausdurchsuchungen-gegen-kasama-project-in-usa]: “Am 10. Juli 2012 wurde in den USA die Wohnung von Mitgliedern der Gruppe “Kasama Project” durchsucht, die sich auf den Marxismus-Leninismus und Mao Tse-Tung beruft. Wie “Kasama Project” erklärte, wurde die Aktion von SWAT, einer Spezialeinheit der US-Polizei in Seattle, durchgeführt. Die Tür wurde aufgebrochen und die Anwesenden wurden mit automatischen Waffen bedroht. Im Durchsuchungsbefehl war von der Suche nach “anarchistischen Materialien” die Rede, was auf Proteste von “Occupy” Seattle vom Mai 2012 zurückgeht.”
* Occupywallst.org [http://occupywallst.org/]
* Committee to Stop FBI Repression [http://www.stopfbi.net/2012/7/10/committee-stop-fbi-repression-condemns-seattle-swat-raid]: “We condemn this act of political repression and send our solidarity to all those who were targeted in this raid.”
* The Cahokian [http://thecahokian.blogspot.com/2012/07/police-terrorists-raid-leftist.html]
* Democracy and Class Struggle (Britain) [http://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com/2012/07/swat-raid-on-organizers-of-occupy.html]
* New City Collegian (Seattle Central Community College unofficial student newspaper) [http://www.newcitycollegian.com/2012/07/10/collegian-writers-house-raided-by-swat/]
* Revolutionary Unity [http://www.revunity.org/?p=147]: “Revolutionary Unity proudly stands beside our comrades of the Red Spark Collective and condemns the police raid, carried out for no other reason than to engage in the suppression of dissent. This raid was carried out in a city with a Democratic Mayor, in a state with a Democratic Governor, in a country run by a Democratic president.”
* Socialist Alternative [http://www.socialistalternative.org/news/article10.php?id=1882]: “We need to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who suffered this raid and build massive movements of working people to defend our democratic rights and fight for our interests. We urge as many people as possible will attend the protest tonight at 7 pm beginning at Westlake park, Tuesday, July 10.”
* Puget Sound ISO [http://www.pugetsoundsocialists.org/?p=1213]: “The Seattle International Socialist Organization stands in solidarity with Seattle activists raided by the Seattle Police Department (SPD) Tuesday morning, July 10, 2012. Police attacks on the physical safety and civil liberties of political activists are shameful and indefensible.”
* Anarchist News [http://anarchistnews.org/content/swat-raid-organizers-occupy-seattle-e4e]
* The Dissenter (Firedoglake) [http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/07/10/swat-team-raids-occupy-organizers-apartment-in-seattle/]
* Grey coast Anarchist News [http://greycoast.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/seattle-cant-raid-this-rage-solidarity-demo-against-police-repression-july-13/]
Initial breaks into mainstream press:
* Seattle Times (Wednesday, July 11): “SPD seizes suspected evidence from Occupy members’ apartment”
[http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2012/07/swat-team-seizes-evidence-of-may-day-crimes-spd-says/]: “Occupy Seattle activists said they were outraged by what was on the search warrant and started organizing a Tuesday night march to SPD’s East Precinct to publicize the incident. About 50 people showed up at Westlake Park Tuesday night for a protest that looped around SPD’s East Precinct and ended at Cal Anderson Park. Seattle Times photographer Bettina Hansen live-Tweeted from the gathering. Though plenty of insults were aired toward law enforcement, the event ended peacefully.”
* CBS Radio Network 97.3 KIRO FM reports that communists, revolutionaries and Kasama were involved in the Seattle SWAT raid. [http://mynorthwest.com/11/704637/Police-conduct-raid-in-May-Day-investigation]
* Seattle Weekly: “Differing Accounts Emerge of This Morning’s May Day-Related Raid by SPD” [http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2012/07/differing_accounts_emerge_of_t.php]
March of solidarity within hours of the SWAT raid — from Seattle’s Westlake Park to the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct Tuesday night. (Photo: Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)
2012-07-11 "OWS SWAT RAID: "Red Scare History Burst Through My Door"" by "The Alyona Show"
On the morning of July 10th, a SWAT team raided an apartment where organizers from Occupy Seattle live. According to the warrant, the police said they were looking for "anarchist material" and were continuing an ongoing investigation into finding those responsible for the May Day riot. During the mostly peaceful actions in Seattle on May Day, there were also businesses that were disturbed, smashed windows, and tires that were slashed. But the police left the apartment in Seattle yesterday without arresting anyone, and just a few pieces of seized property. That's after they busted down the door, used a flash bang grenade, and tore through the entire apartment. Alyona discusses the raid with one of the people that was in the apartment when the raid happened, Phillip Neel, he's an Occupy Seattle Organizer and member of the Red Spark Collective.
2012-07-11 "About 50 anarchist and Occupy Seattle protesters march from Seattle's Westlake Park to the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct Tuesday night"
It was in protest to SPD seizing "suspected evidence" from Occupy members' apartment. The Seattle Police Department SWAT team and detectives entered a Judkins Park apartment of Occupy Seattle members early Tuesday morning with a search warrant to seize suspected evidence of May Day-protest crimes including vandalism, according to Seattle Police Department's online blotter.
Detectives contacted the four individuals in the apartment in the 1100 Block of 29th Avenue South before entering just before 6 a.m., the blotter post says.
However, an Occupy Seattle spokesperson said in a news release that police charged in while all four residents were sleeping and threw down a stun grenade. That kind of grenade is non-lethal but its loud bang and bright light are meant to temporarily disorient the senses. SPD says it was successful in finding what it wanted and that the material "will be useful in the investigation." All four residents were cooperative with investigators and were released from the scene after being interviewed, the SPD blotter said. Occupy Seattle activists said they were outraged by what was on the search warrant and started organizing a Tuesday night march to SPD's East Precinct to publicize the incident.
About 50 people showed up at Westlake Park Tuesday night for a protest that looped around SPD's East Precinct and ended at Cal Anderson Park. Seattle Times photographer Bettina Hansen live-Tweeted from the gathering. Though plenty of insults were aired toward law enforcement, the event ended peacefully.