An Eye-Witness’s Shocking Account of What’s REALLY Happening During the Seattle Riots
Posted by Riverbender on June 15, 2020, 2:50 am
I previously said I had a lot to say regarding my experiences while in downtown Seattle [Incoming VERY long post…]. When I came home, I was exhausted, angry, and saddened by what I had experienced. I said I needed to share what happened, but I also said I needed some time to rest and reflect. My unit was activated for 12 days. We worked long hours but we continued to stay dedicated to the state and the mission. I can’t stop that now. I’ve been up all night, trying my best to put into words what I experienced and observed. This is too important to wait. I rarely post on social media, but I’m making this post, hoping it reaches those that want to know the truth. I can imagine, given the current environment, this post may cause some controversy. That is not my intention what-so-ever. I agree the excessive use of force in Minnesota was inexcusable but reacting with hatred and violence is contradictory to the message of peace and change. Either way, people need to know what’s actually happening behind the guise of this “movement.” Whether localized or nationalized, what I witnessed NEEDS TO STOP! |
I was working nights and the day of my phone call, I had difficulties sleeping that morning. I had a lot on my mind, and I decided I was going to stay up and do some yard work. As I was preparing to go outside, I started receiving text messages and phone calls. “We’ve been activated! Hit time at the armory is 1700!” I looked at my watch and I had maybe an hour before hit time. “Well, I’m going to be late…” I thought. I immediately responded to the text messages and phone calls, telling them I would be there as soon as possible. Why was I going to be late?
My unit is in Western Washington and I live in Southeastern Washington… to drive, at a pace much faster than the speed limit, I’d be lucky to make it in three hours… Without hesitation, I grabbed all my staged military gear and threw it into the back of my vehicle. I figured, “Heck, if it’s an emergency, they’re not going to have time to put out a packing list… so, I mise well bring everything.” As I was throwing military gear into my vehicle, I received text messages telling me to pack for at least a week. “Wow, this is serious…” I thought. Being activated and expecting the mission to last a week or more, whatever the activation was for, it was going to be an uphill battle… I threw a few uniforms and a week’s worth of clothing in my rucksack and proceeded to drive to the armory.
I arrived at the armory in the evening and realized I had now been awake for over 24 hours. I contacted my chain of command and determined we’d leave at zero dark hundred for Seattle. I gathered my issued equipment, added it to my ruck sack, and tried to take a one-hour nap. I awoke to people on the move and bright fluorescent lights. It felt like I had just closed my eyes, but it was go-time. I grabbed my bags and met my unit in the parking lot of the armory. There was no time to waste! We loaded every cot we had, all our personal bags, and whatever we could quickly think of that we might need. We loaded our transportation and were off to Seattle in what seemed like minutes…
The Build Up:
On our way to Seattle, I had time to dwell and self-reflect. What’s so out of control that the Guard would be called up? Who and/or what am I going to be protecting? Am I going to be protecting rights, life, property, or all the above? I told myself that no matter what happens, I will do my utmost to remain impartial, to uphold the Constitution, to protect the rights of the citizens of the United States, and to protect life and property to the best of my ability. As a Soldier, we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. Regardless of the political climate, a Soldier has the responsibility to remain impartial, to ensure all citizens’ rights are protected and that the Constitution is adhered to. As we approached Seattle, I did so with an open mind and a sympathetic heart. I prayed that I may understand whoever needs our help, that I may do my job to the utmost of my ability, and that the rights of all those involved would be preserved.
Per order of the Governor of Washington State, Jay Inslee, the Washington Army National Guard went into Seattle COMPLETELY UNARMED. We had NO way to defend ourselves and HAD TO rely upon the SEATTLE POLICE DEPARTMENT to protect us… Not all of us had vests or plates that would stop rifle bullets. In the beginning, most of us didn’t even have shin guards… A few Soldiers didn’t have batons… Shields were hit or miss, but we ended up sharing where we could…
Oddly enough, my first day was one of the hardest days. We touched ground and were immediately dispatched to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) East Precinct near the intersection of 11th St and Pine St (Capitol Hill). This location would become very familiar for me, due to all of the “peaceful protesters” rioting here almost every night… Only one other unit arrived the day before we did, and they were sent to Westlake Center due to it being actively vandalized and destroyed.
Before I talk about the first day, I have to admit that my squad was later sent to Westlake. While I was there, I saw remnants of fire and broken glass everywhere I went. Almost all glass areas were boarded up and the area was devoid of business. What I, and most non-locals didn’t know, is that Westlake is a shopping center. It’s blocks upon blocks of popular businesses in downtown Seattle. It’s essentially an outdoor shopping mall… Due to the fact that not a single store was open, I was curious about the extent of damage to the area the night before. While I was looking through photos on Google while on break, one of the Seattle Police Department Police Officers pointed to an area down the street and said, “The bastards torched my patrol car right there.” As she said that, the newspaper headline photo lit my smartphone screen as I could see protesters celebrating around broken business windows and a couple vehicles that were aflame. I thought to myself, “Why would someone do this?” As I read through the headlines, I came to realize the businesses were broken into, looted, and then set ablaze… all in the name of “Black Lives Matter.” I tried my best to connect the dots… but how does social injustice relate to graffiti, theft, malicious mischief, and arson? If there was a specific political statement from these crimes, even the news media didn’t interpret or understand it… it was obviously a crime of opportunity…
Returning back to my first day at East Precinct, I was assigned as one of the squad leaders. My squad, consisting of primarily Soldiers from my unit, were fairly distinct. Like everyone else in my unit, we wore a black vest that distinguished us against every other Guardsman in Seattle. I could explain why, but it’s not relevant. If you want proof of where I was, find the Soldiers with black vests in Seattle… I was one of them.
On the first day, we were initially on the line behind the Seattle Police Officers at the East Precinct. The Officers weren’t carrying shields like us that day. During the protests, I observed Officers shaking hands with those yelling at them. I also saw one Officer approach a male crying in the crowd. The Officer asked the male if he wanted a hug and the protester replied, “Yes!” I watched as the Officer embraced and comforted the crying protester. Seeing these things, I thought to myself “Why am I here? Seattle PD obviously has a connection with the population, what am I supposed to accomplish or prevent here?” It didn’t take long for that to change.
I took up position on our right flank, recognizing a weakness in our line. A female quickly made eye contact with me, while recording me with her cell phone, and started yelling… “HEY! ARMY! Where are you from?!” I told her I was a Soldier with the Washington Army National Guard. She asked if I lived in Washington State. I told her, “Yes, I’m a citizen of Washington State, just like you.” She then abruptly said, “Why do you guys keep killing us?” I told her, “Excuse me?! I haven’t killed anyone…” She looked at me, befuddled, and said… “You guys keep killing us! You know, your training… don’t you have some sort of limitation where you can’t kill people?! You know, where you can only shoot us if we shoot at you?” At this point, I obviously knew she was referring to our Rules of Engagement (RoE) but it was obvious she was trying to provoke me. I tried to explain to her that what she was saying wasn’t true, but she kept interrupting me. Every time I’d try to speak, she’d raise her voice and interrupt me. As she continued to escalate, I recognized she was trying to provoke an exaggerated reaction out of me. I looked at her, shrugged, and proceeded to ignore her as I scanned the crowd. She grumbled and said, “You don’t even know your own regulations?!” I looked at her, shrugged again, and continued to ignore her… As I was scanning, I saw a male protester point out and move towards an African-American Police Officer.
The protester proceeded to yell, asking why the Officer was on the “white-man’s side.” He called the Officer an “Uncle Tom,” a “pretender,” a “race traitor,” and a N-word I’d prefer not to use. Every fiber of my being wanted to lash out. How can you use racist terms and protest racism while using it in a derogatory manner towards someone else? How can you even find fault in someone that is remaining peaceful, that is protecting your rights, and is obviously concerned for the community?! I was furious as the protester continued berating the Officer… We then got replaced by another squad for relief.
During their “protest” I observed multiple people tell others to “shut up” because of their “white privilege.” I also saw two protesters almost get into a fight because one wasn’t “letting the black man speak.” Another protester, when a male had a megaphone, yelled “Listen to him! He’s black!” I was raised, under the impression, that equality means treating everyone equally… Race won’t cease to be an issue until we stop talking about it. All my brothers and sisters are one color: green. It’s cool to honor your heritage, but no one gets special anything due to their skin tone… Everyone is treated the same and everything is equal. How is this (equality) a hard concept?
I talked to my Soldiers during our downtime. I had a few African-American Soldiers in my squad. I pointed out and talked to them about what I had just observed. I told them they may be focused upon, that the racists in the crowd might single them out because they’re African-American. It wasn’t long before we returned to the protest line.
I should start gambling because it didn’t take long for the African-American Soldiers to get singled out. I’m not going to repeat the hate, racism, and discontent directed at my Soldiers. If they feel the need to share what was directed at them by the hypocritical “protesters,” they’ll do so. Either way, every single Soldier in my unit was phenomenal. Not a single Soldier lost their military bearing or professionalism. Not a single protester got anyone in my squad to break their military bearing… Not a single Soldier lashed out at the complete and utter stupidity of the racism coming from the hypocrites… After each one of my Soldiers was focused upon, I pulled them aside and later commended them on their military bearing and discipline. I reiterated to each one of them that the rioters were trying to provoke them to react. I told my Soldiers to maintain their discipline and to not worry about the protesters overstepping. I told them I’d be right there, to address any protesters touching them or pushing the boundaries.
I have to say… I’m a prior Active Duty Soldier and these Guard Soldiers were on point! They must have had some hard charging Drill Sergeants because all of them maintained their military bearing through this whole ordeal and I’m proud as hell to call them brothers and sisters!
“All of you Soldiers should have died in Iraq!”
“You’re nothing but a bunch of Vietnam baby killers!”
“The only thing you know what to do is murder people!”
“All people should be afraid of you, you’re nothing but killers!”
“You guys must be ready to kill people with your kung-fu gloves.”
“I’m legitimately afraid of you guys because all you know what to do is kill.”
“Who exactly are you here to protect?”
“You’d rather protect property than people!”
“You should be pointing weapons at the police!”
“You’re on the wrong side, racists!”
“Stop following orders and join us!”
“You’re too dumb to form your own opinion.”
“What Matters? Black Lives Matter… Are you too stupid to get that?”
“You guys need to stop shooting people.”
“You guys need to stop gassing us.”
(We NEVER had firearms, Oleoresin Capsicum [OC], CS “tear” gas, or any other “weapons”)
-Some of these comments were made towards us while we were just standing in an area, away from any “protest line” without a riot shield…
On that first day, they continued to try to provoke a response from the Officers and the Guardsman. NO ONE PROVIDED A RESPONSE. I was on the line, near the center right. I remember a plastic water bottle being thrown across the line by the “protesters” on my right side towards a Police Officer. Soon after, a bottle landed on the left side, right behind our line. I yelled out “SHIELDS UP!” Without hesitation, our ENTIRE LINE of Guardsman moved forward, and placed ourselves between the rioters and the Police Officers.
The “protesters” began throwing rocks, glass bottles, and chunks of concrete. I was out there ALL day. There wasn’t any construction going on. There wasn’t a pile of concrete or bricks anywhere to be seen. All I saw were younger people with heavy backpacks. THEY WERE GRABBING CHUNKS OF CONCRETE FROM THEIR BACKPACKS TO THROW AT US. Why is that important? Why would you carry chunks of concrete to a protest? Because you PLAN on using/throwing the concrete… When the concrete began to rain down on us, it came from ALL directions. What does that mean? It was COORDINATED. THEY PLANNED TO ASSAULT US WITH CONCRETE. I didn’t realize until later, but I have to tell you… it really pissed me off when I thought about the situation I had just experienced. As they were throwing these items, the Officers tried to protect us by using less-lethal means (OC/CS/etc). NO LETHAL FORCE WAS USED. Could the Seattle Police Department use lethal force in that situation? Absolutely… a chunk of concrete to the head can KILL someone…
What NO ONE realizes, because the media is bias as hell, at least three police officers were injured that day before SPD used less-lethal means to de-escalate the situation. One Officer took a chunk of concrete to his right eye… last I heard, he’s expected to LOSE his eye. I retrieved a video from that confrontation with the “protesters.” You can see items flying towards us as SPD deploys OC (pepper spray). Notice the second use of OC, the long burst? That was over my right shoulder next to my head. I got some OC contamination from that, which was okay because I was trained for it… The crowd continued to throw concrete. At least two pieces of concrete hit my shield. I later took a picture of my shield, WHICH WAS BRAND NEW, to show the extent of crap being thrown at us.
SPD then deployed CS gas. We had planned for this possibility, telling the squad on deck to come relieve us after they put their mask on. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. As CS was deployed, the crowd began to throw the CS canisters back towards us along with more concrete. I couldn’t put my mask on since I would have had to drop my shield to do so. I was currently protecting SPD Officers and I wasn’t going to allow the Officers behind me to get hurt. So, as Guardsman were pulled off the line by other Guardsman and SPD, I HELD MY GROUND. I’ve been through the CS gas chamber with the U.S. Army, but this was so much worse. I stood there, trying to breathe for as long as I could.
At one point, I looked forward, and saw a female pointing a black pipe towards me. My thought in that moment: “You’ve got to be kidding me… they’re using potato guns too?!” As she turned to her right, I noticed it was a leaf blower. A “PROTESTER” brought a leaf blower to blow CS gas towards us… (It’s not like they were anticipating that, right?!) As the clouds of CS were parting due to her efforts, I saw a male… wearing a black hoodie, with the hoodie up, a bandanna, black pants, and a black backpack, in a throwing position. I watched as he threw a large piece of concrete (at least 5” x 5”), that was shaped in a triangle, directly at me. As it hit my shield (notice the white impact mark on the picture), I thought to myself… if I was armed, I would have shot him… The cloud of CS overtook me. As I struggled to breathe, I looked to my left and NO ONE was there. I looked to my right and saw only ONE OTHER SOLDIER. I began to fall back as a sea of navy blue rushed forward. SPD and the Washington State Patrol to the rescue! I returned to a rally point, dropped my shield, put on my gas mask, and began helping other soldiers that had been out on the line. As the smoke began to clear, I took a couple photos to remember this moment and the anger that flooded my emotions.
The week continued and we were sent where SPD needed us. We were told we had begun to get a reputation with SPD. Our actions, while at East Precinct, showed we could be depended upon and we were there to help. The Guard had arrived, and we’d be there, standing shoulder to shoulder with SPD, against these anarchist/communist rioters in Seattle. We saw through the protester’s “cause.” They were using the horrible situation that occurred in Minnesota as an opportunity to cause chaos, to loot and steal, and to destroy everything in their way to gain momentum for their “revolution.” The group was quickly identified as Antifa, a communist action group that was in the process of being labeled as a terrorist organization by the Commander-in-Chief.
I don’t like politics and I’m not going to talk about politics. When you’re in the military, you give up that luxury. It’s something I don’t mind giving up, since discussing politics is as pointless as convincing a stubborn person they’re wrong. It’s all opinion and people typically already have their mind made up. Getting into an argument over politics usually ends in an escalation and personal attacks, especially when discussed between two people that have already passionately made up their mind.
Needless to say, I was very angry. I’m a protector by nature. When someone tries to hurt another person, and they do so when that person can’t defend themselves, I become very upset. People that do that are criminals. They’re the scum of society. They prey on the weak and defenseless for their own personal gain. These are the so-called “peaceful protesters” of Seattle. I agree with everyone’s right to protest, but the moment they try to assault someone, that’s when EVERYONE should have a problem with their actions. Why the media has continued to defend them, it just shows how biased and out of touch the media is and it irritates me.
After only a few days, the majority of my unit was sent home. Why? The Guard wanted to re-staff COVID-19 food banks, testing centers, and send the full-time soldiers back to their normal jobs… So, a large portion of our unit was pulled, and we were left with a little more than a dozen soldiers. The platoon was condensed, and other units were added to our ranks to fill in for those pulled from our platoon. We worked very well together and continued to push forward, making the best of the situation, as we were constantly tasked out by SPD.
Additional units began to arrive, due to Governor Jay Inslee activating the entire Washington National Guard (Army and Air Force). We soon realized that the majority of our “reinforcements” weren’t trained, were undisciplined, and were useless for the current mission in Seattle. Additionally, they were an embarrassment… Those units were quickly sent home by the Commanding General and we realized our platoon would be stuck in Seattle, battling Antifa, until the situation was resolved one way or another.
I asked my chain of command a few times about arming us, but it was relayed over and over that Governor Inslee wouldn’t allow the Guard to defend ourselves or take the fight to the enemy (Antifa). The Governor made us rely on SPD to “protect us.” That limited the scope of our response, limiting our role as “shields” and “bodies” on the line for SPD… As SPD Officers and Guardsman continued to get injured at East Precinct, it became increasingly frustrating… Arming the National Guard is a risk, and some Antifa members probably would have been shot, but the situation would have been resolved quickly with a VERY different outcome.
So, the same escalating confrontations with Antifa continued for almost two weeks… The “protesters” would assault SPD Officers and Guardsman and SPD would use LESS-LETHAL means to disperse the riot. The rioters then used politics to their advantage. They began petitioning the Mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan. Durkan, in all her wisdom, caved to all demands… the curfew was lifted, and she BANNED the use of CS gas, the ONE thing that quickly de-escalated the violent confrontations… SPD had no choice but to view CS gas as a last resort, to only be deployed by SWAT.
Fast forward to the day before the most HUMILIATING and DEMORALIZING thing Durkan could have done…
SPD must have had some really good intelligence, or they were anticipating Antifa’s response from Durkan’s concessions. They installed permanent metal barriers at the intersection of 11th St and Pine St. A second line of barriers was also in place in between us and the initial barriers at the intersection. Everything kicked off per usual, with the “protesters” trying to provoke us with their words, umbrellas, and signs. This time, though, we didn’t give them an audience. We all stayed inside the East Precinct, as they did their normal agitation methods at the first barrier.
Suddenly, we were told the “protesters” began jumping the first barrier, heading towards us. We rushed out to the road and staged roughly 1/3 of the way up the block from the intersection of 11th St and Pine St, creating a large safety buffer between us and the “protesters” who had jumped the fencing. They were warned to return over the barrier, which they didn’t. They then began disassembling the barrier. They were warned not to disassemble the barrier, but they continued. They then walked towards us. They were warned to stop, but they didn’t. They continued walking towards us. They were warned again, but they continued. They reached the second barrier.
We later found out they brought a plasma cutter (blow torch) to cut through the barriers… (not that they are the provocateurs, or are planning to escalate, right?!)
They began cutting barriers so they could be used as weapons against us. They were warned about cutting the barriers, but they continued. They then picked up the second barriers and began walking towards us. They were warned again not to move the barriers, but they continued. They then jumped the last barrier. They were warned again to turn back, but they continued towards us. As they continued to approach, they were continuously warned. HOW MANY WARNINGS DOES IT TAKE?!
It started to get dark… The portable lights were turned on. The “protesters” then produced foil covered signs and were trying to blind the Officers and Guardsman. They were warned again, but they continued. They then threw a glass bottle at a Guardsman, the glass bottle shattering on a riot shield. They were warned again, but they just booed at us. They continued to walk slowly towards the Officers until they were within 2-3 feet. They then started using their umbrella’s and other objects, putting them in the face of the Officers. They were warned again to not do that.
As expected, objects were then thrown at us. They amplified things, this time. Instead of throwing glass bottles containing urine and other bodily fluids, they began throwing glass bottles full of gasoline. They then lit and threw fireworks at us, trying to light us on fire.
FINALLY the SPD Administration gave the green light and LESS LETHAL forms of riot control were deployed. As objects were continued to be thrown at us, SWAT finally deployed CS gas. The “protesters” proceeded to start vandalizing everything in the area. They smashed business windows, burned U.S. flags, lit dumpsters and other items on fire, and threw things on fire at us. We pushed them back in all directions about half a block but for some reason, we stopped pushing them back. They then regrouped and continued to vandalize the area with spray paint, breaking windows, and lighting things on fire. Around that time, the Guard was pulled back and we left East Precinct.
I returned the very next day at East Precinct, ready to continue the daily fight with these anarchists and communists. When I arrived, they were boarding up East Precinct. City employees were removing all the barriers and taking everything they could out of the precinct. We were ordered to about-face and leave. We went to a different precinct where it was announced that Durkan had decided to abandon East Precinct and to give it to the “protesters.” As we watched, Antifa took over the East Precinct and they erected walls at the adjacent intersections with the barricades we had used. They armed themselves, proceeded to vandalize the East Precinct with spray paint, and they declared Capitol Hill a Cop-Free, Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). It was hard enough for me to watch, but I saw Officers that were assigned to the East Precinct for decades, shield their faces, and walk out of the room in tears. The Capitol Hill area of the City of Seattle, to include East Precinct, was surrendered by its elected officials to the terrorists…
I spent the next couple days stewing in Seattle… just waiting for any elected official to grow some balls and tell us to move back in… to take over the ground they surrendered… but it never happened. We were then told the Guard was losing its support from SPD. CHAZ was the new norm of Seattle. The terrorists won and it was time to go home. We expressed our frustration among ourselves, lowered our heads, sympathized for the SPD Officers, packed our rucksacks, and went home angry. (source)
You may be completely on your own.
As you can see, you can’t depend on anyone to come and save you when unrest shows up in your neighborhood. The people who were there, willing, and able to defend Seattle were forced to stand down. You have to expect to be completely on your own. Learn more about how to stay safe during civil unrest scenarios here.
Can you imagine how the members of the National Guard and the police must have felt, facing this mob scene without the support of the state and local officials?
Of course, there are two sides to every story and it’s important to see both. Here’s an on-the-ground video of the CHAZ area. You do not have to be logged in to watch it.
One has to question how an elected governor could be so poor a leader as to let blocks of the largest city in his state be taken over by rioters. It honestly seems to be somewhat beyond “poor leadership.” What we’re wondering is whether Governor Inslee is truly this spineless, whether it’s a deliberate attempt to undermine law and order, or if he’s just another “useless idiot” progressing an agenda.