5:41 PM: Will there be a curfew again tonight? That’s one of the questions we expect will be answered at the briefing that’s just begun with the mayor and chiefs. We’ll add notes as it goes.
The mayor opens by saying she wanted to be sure to acknowledge the reason for the gatherings and protests – the killing of George Floyd, the inequities in our country. “We must make real and durable change. .. from economic justice to civil justice to criminal justice … These protesters’ demands must be our demands.”
5:52 PM: The mayor is speaking at length about concerns regarding police use of force, and also talking about changing policies that have led to additional concerns – “mourning badges” covering badge numbers, body-worn cameras not being used during protests.
6:06 PM: The police chief now takes the microphone, also reminding everyone that this is all about “the murder of George Floyd.” She says 86 people have been arrested in the past few days, which she says have been “very different” events than what SPD has seen in the past. She also says officers’ response on Capitol Hill last night will be reviewed.
The chief says a 9 pm-5 am curfew will be in place through Saturday.
6:20 PM: They’re in Q&A. The mayor is asked if SPD will be targeted for cuts because of the COVID-19 budget crunch; she says “every department” has been asked to look for savings.
What’s the point of the curfew? they’re asked. The mayor said it was recommended by Chief Best, who says it’s part of “us(ing) every tool that we can …” and to have it as a “fallback if needed.”
The event wraps at 6:27 pm.
8:05 PM: Here’s the news release with curfew details and a link to the actual order:
– Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today signed an Emergency Order to place a temporary citywide curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., each night between Tuesday, June 2 through Saturday June 6. During these hours, residents and visitors should remain in their home to the extent possible and should refrain from traveling in and through the entire City of Seattle. The curfew is intended to prevent violence and widespread property damage, and to prevent the further community spread of COVID-19 through continued gathering. The City encourages all residents to sign up for Alert Seattle to receive notifications about the curfew directly to their mobile device.
“Speaking with protesters today and hearing the voices of community, demonstrations can and should safely continue to speak out against injustice. This conversation and social movement must continue,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “At the recommendation of Chief Carmen Best, a curfew is critical that we protect their ability to peacefully protest and we believe this new curfew time will allow us to keep these protesters and the community at large safe.”
“The right to free speech is something we all honor and cherish as Americans. Meeting with community members and demonstrators today who came together to express their grief, anger, frustration about the murder of George Floyd was a reminder of how important the first amendment is,” said Chief Carmen Best. “I do not take the implementation of a curfew lightly, but I believe it is necessary—it’s a tool that helps us ensure public safety. We ask that residents who want to gather, continue to do so peacefully.”
The Mayor implemented a citywide curfew on Saturday, May 30 as pockets of demonstrations quickly escalated downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods, and fires proliferated. The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) was temporarily unable to safely access multiple fire incidents. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) has made zero arrests for curfew violation, and it will continue to be primarily used as a tool to encourage crowds to voluntarily disperse and keep streets and roads accessible for first responders to reach emergencies.
All residents should keep in mind impacts to roads and transit service could make it more difficult to get home. The City encourages residents to follow @kcmetrobus, @SoundTransit, @SDOTtraffic, and @wsdot_traffic on Twitter for updates on transit service and road closures. King County Metro and Sound Transit are both operating at reduced services because of COVID-19, so residents should check updated schedules regularly.
The City hopes that with additional notice, businesses and residents can plan accordingly for curfews over the next three days. The City is continuing to broadcast information about the curfew early and often, in multiple languages.
The temporary curfew does not impact people who need to commute to work during these hours, people experiencing homelessness, people in a medical emergency or people in a dangerous situation, first responders, health care workers, and the news media. In addition, the curfew does not require businesses to close while it is in effect, though businesses may close at their choosing.