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Occupy Seattle Protests SPD Tactics

Amy Radil

Members of the Occupy Seattle movement marched to the Seattle Police Department today to protest officers' tactics during a demonstration on Tuesday. Among them was 84–year–old Dorli Rainey, who shot to fame after being pepper–sprayed by police. KUOW's Amy Radil reports.


Mayor Mike McGinn has issued an apology to those who were pepper–sprayed Tuesday while engaged in peaceful protest.

But the Police Department's own statement expresses no such regrets, saying pepper spray was used "only against subjects who were either refusing a lawful order to disperse, or engaging in assaultive behavior toward officers."

Methodist Pastor Rich Lang was among those sprayed. But he says he appreciates that the Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability actually contacted him afterward and urged him to file a complaint.

Lang: "And I am going to do it. And my driving reason is because it was so egregious — I was so singled out."

Another demonstrator sprayed Tuesday was 84–year–old activist Dorli Rainey. Her photo, taken by the Seattle Post–Intelligencer, circulated worldwide.

Standing outside Seattle police headquarters Friday, Rainey condemned the police for spraying people, but she admitted that she also feels perversely grateful.

Rainey: "I think that we have accomplished something that we've been trying to get, and that is attention."

At police headquarters, Lang and other demonstrators made a "circle of protection" around a group of police officers. Demonstrators served as a "human microphone" to repeat and amplify Lang's statements.

Lang: "You are not our enemy."

Crowd: "You are not our enemy."

Captain Tag Gleason of the Office of Professional Accountability responded to Lang's statement, also using the "human microphone."

Gleason: "... the police—"

Crowd: "So I'd encourage all of you when you encounter the police—"

Gleason: "—treat them as individuals and give them an opportunity to interact with you before we pass judgment on each other."

Crowd: "—treat them as individuals..."

Meanwhile, Dorli Rainey said she wanted to show everyone that she's back in action, and not afraid of getting sprayed again.

Rainey: "If I can avoid it, I'd try, but if it happens, it happens."

Demonstrators said several people may file complaints of police misconduct, but they also praised the much more peaceful nature of Thursday's protest. That night demonstrators marched across the University Bridge as police kept their distance and redirected traffic. The Mayor's Office says it doesn't yet have budget figures for the past week, but as of November 11 the city had spent over $600,000 related to the Occupy Seattle protests.

I'm Amy Radil, KUOW News.

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