On Friday night, two groups converged in downtown Olympia, and some became destructive, burning flags, smashing windows, and spray painting businesses and Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby’s home.
One group was made up of about 50 black-clad protesters who came to Sylvester Park for a rally advertised on social media as an event akin to last Friday’s protest downtown with an open mic. The other group of around 30 wore neon-yellow T-shirts with the word “peacekeeper” emblazoned on the front and back, some holding paintball guns.
The black-clad group marched to City Hall before making its way through downtown Olympia. The protesters took trashcans and “ROAD WORK AHEAD” signs from parking lots and sidewalks, dragging them into the streets and flipping them on their sides. The “peacekeepers” then put them back while the other group heckled them.
The black-clad group eventually marched up Capitol Way and into the South Capitol neighborhood to Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby’s house. There, the group chanted “abolish the police,” and a person spray painted her front porch and door with “BLM.” A man with a flat, metal paddle-like object who was backed up by a line of cars told the group to leave, threatening them if they didn’t.
Selby and her family were not home last night, but her neighbors began texting her when the protesters arrived at her house.
“I’m really trying to process this,” she told The Olympian over the phone Saturday. “It’s like domestic terrorism. It’s unfair.
“It hurts when you’re giving so much to your community,” she said.
This is not the first time Selby’s home has been targeted by protesters. Two years ago, during a May Day protest, protesters gathered in her neighborhood, spreading around leaflets and directing chants at her.
She feels bad for her neighbors, many of whom are families with young children who she said are now afraid that protesters will continue to come.
“People have so little grace for each other right now. We need to have more grace,” Selby said.
The group eventually headed back downtown, spray painting store fronts, streets signs, lamp posts and sidewalks.
At the Starbucks on the corner of Legion Way and Capitol Way, a protester smashed one of its windows. Making their way back toward City Hall, a small group of protesters smashed several of the glass doors and one of the windows of the U.S. Bank on Fourth Avenue and Capitol Way.
Olympia Police Lt. Paul Lower said Thurston County Title Company also was damaged Friday night. He said a slew of businesses along Capitol Way were tagged with spray paint, along with The United Churches of Olympia at 11th Avenue and Capitol Way.
Lower said there was so much vandalism Friday night, the police department won’t have all reports completed until Sunday.
Olympia Police hung on the periphery of the protest, following along in patrol vehicles and bikes, but not getting close to the marching groups.
The two groups got into shouting matches with one another throughout the night. The first occurred when the group of about 30 black-clad protesters were milling around Sylvester Park’s gazebo and the “peacekeepers” entered and one yelled at the group. Immediately, both groups started insulting each other.
A fight broke out when the black-clad protesters took down an American flag from the Olympia Inn and began to burn it. A man in a white T-shirt and blue jeans ran up to the group with his fist cocked. There was a skirmish and the man with the white T-shirt was then seen on the ground as the black-clad protesters walked away. A small group of “peacekeepers” then knelt down next to the man and tried to assist him.
Mayor Selby said she’s facing three crises at once: COVID-19, homelessness, and 400 years of racial injustice. Selby, who has three years left in her term, said “I’m no quitter. I will continue to try and move this community forward.”
Selby wasn’t the only hypocrite changing her tune. Compare how ESPN’s Chris Palmer changed his comments when they hit his neighborhood. Btw, how come an ESPN reporter keeps his job after tweeting, “burn it all down?”
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