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Seattle Police Officers Guild president speaks on safety after days of confrontation

The president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild asks how officers will continue to protect the community at large if their tools are taken away from them.

SEATTLE — Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan says that while the officers he represents support the community and condemn the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the violence that is occurring outside peaceful protests is "unreasonable." 

There is a "small group" stealing the message of protesters, he said in front of the Seattle Police Department East Precinct on Monday.

On Saturday, a peaceful protest in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood near Cal Anderson Park turned tense around 7:30 p.m. after police ordered the crowd to move back behind a barrier.

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During the on-going protests, officers used blast balls and pepper spray to temporarily disperse the crowd after individuals in the group threw bottles, rocks, and incendiary devices at officers to break through a fence line. Seattle police tweeted that several officers were injured due to “improvised explosives.”

Two officers were taken to Harborview Medical Center for their wounds.

Police said they warned gatherers to step away from the barricade. Protesters refused to back up and threw items at officers. The protest that started in the early afternoon remained mostly peaceful, however, one protester told KING 5 there were a few "bad apples" trying to rile the crowd.

Now, some within the city are calling for police to stop the use of less-lethal tools being used by police to de-escalate large crowds. That includes proposed legislation by a city council member that would ban police or agencies working with the department from using tear gas, mace, and pepper spray. It would also ban the use of rubber bullets, bean bags, blast balls, and water cannons. 

Additionally, there have been calls to defund the police department. Solan asks what will happen to officers in the field if they can no longer protect themselves or no longer receive proper training for such situations. 

Solan says the Officers Guild is "more than willing" to have a "reasonable discussion" surrounding recent events. 

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