This only makes sense in Seattle.
A lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Seattle claiming that the protesters in the city civil rights are being violated because in order to protest they need protective gear to “keep them safe” from police responding to the rioting.
Five plaintiffs in the lawsuit are claiming that purchasing helmets, gas masks, protective clothing, goggles, gloves, boots, umbrellas, and other gear is too expensive making it too expensive to protest. The plaintiffs Jessica Benton, Shelby Bryant, Anne Marie Cavanaugh, Alyssa Garrison, and Clare Thomas claim this violates their first amendment rights.
“Because protesters now must purchase expensive equipment to be assured that they will be able to protest safely, the indiscriminate use of weapons by SPD implicates equal protection,” the lawsuit alleges.
“Because the Seattle Police Department has acted above and outside the law in
dispensing its unbridled force, and the City has failed to prevent same, the
government effect is to establish a de facto protest tax: individual protesters
subjected to SPD’s unabated and indiscriminate violence now must purchase cost-prohibitive gear to withstand munitions — even when peacefully protesting — as a condition to exercising their right to free speech and peaceable assembly,” wrote attorney Talitha Hazelton of Renton, who filed the lawsuit Monday.
The goal of the lawsuit is to seek a temporary restraining order stopping the police department from using force or crowd dispersal munitions. A federal judge has already ordered that Seattle Police cannot use tear gas or other crowd control munitions. As a result, police officers have been hurt by protestors launching fireworks at them.
If the judge sides with the plaintiffs – and the court already has once – this would give activists free rein in the city; the police wouldn’t be allowed to use any force.
The lawsuit was launched on the same day extremists marched to the home of the Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.
Chief Best was not home went the mob arrived in her neighborhood but, her neighbors came to her aid.
Two neighbors, Whit and Jamie Roulstone got their neighbors together blocked the road and formed a perimeter, and confronted the crowd.
“I was scared,” Jamie said. “When I started seeing the people get out of the cars, many of them were dressed in black, had hoods on, had masks over their face — not pandemic masks — but legitimate masks covering most of their face except for their eyes. They had bags with them loaded with Lord knows what. It was very, very scary.”
“We united as a community and came together to defend ourselves against illegitimate claims in a mob … it’s not right that this is the venue they’re taking it to. There’s city hall, there’s One Police Plaza: That’s where you protest, that’s where you demonstrate, that’s where you actively, peacefully get your voice heard.”
“You don’t terrorize a neighborhood in order to attempt to get your voice out there.”