Gov. Jay Inslee today activated an additional 200 members of the Washington National Guard in response to a second request from the City of Seattle to help clean up, protect against property damage, and manage crowds and traffic during downtown protests, which resulted in riots. Guard personnel will be unarmed and work under the direction of City of Seattle leadership.
The additional guard personnel were activated by a letter from the governor to Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, commander of the Washington National Guard, the day after demonstrations in Seattle protesting the death of George Floyd in Minnesota earlier this week turned into destructive riots.
Inslee this morning issued the following statement:
“Saturday’s disheartening events in Seattle – carried out by a smattering of the thousands of protesters on hand – will not deter the cause of justice. Hundreds of public servants and volunteers are already helping clean up the property damage done. I have complete faith that downtown Seattle will recover from this quickly, and the state will help, however we may be of assistance.
“Thousands were protesting peacefully against an atrocious act of brutality. This cause confronts a different kind of destruction, one that can’t be fixed with new windows, graffiti-scrubbed walls or insurance. The message behind the demonstration was compelling and one all of us should share. We will not allow vandalism and destruction to obscure the protest’s central call for justice.
“On behalf of all Washingtonians who believe in justice, I want to thank the protesters who carried a peaceful and important message. We all also owe gratitude to law enforcement, fire fighters, medics, National Guard and volunteers who are working to protect the city and its people.”
Read the letter here.