2:57 PM: Less than an hour ago, a Minneapolis jury delivered its verdict in the trial of the former police officer who killed George Floyd last May: Guilty on all counts. Here in Seattle, this is just in from the city:
Following the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, the City of Seattle is providing an update for residents. City of Seattle department leaders have been preparing to allow residents to have the space to grieve and honor the life of George Floyd.
While the City expects community members to grieve and remember the life of Mr. Floyd, the City is also reminding businesses and residents of appropriate steps to take should demonstrations occur. The Seattle Police Department, which has made significant changes over the last year, will be on standby for any peaceful, first-amendment gatherings.
Below please find an update on City departments:
Citywide Prayer and Moment of Silence: The City of Seattle – in coordination with faith leaders – will be hosting a citywide prayer and moment of silence at 7 pm.
Seattle Parks and Recreation Department: Understanding the City is still in a pandemic and there are no permitted gatherings or events, Seattle Parks and Recreation is highlighting the City’s largest parks to grieve and remember George Floyd at the City’s largest parks including: Judkins Park, Pratt Park, Powell Barnett Park, Crown Hill Park, Maple Leaf Reservoir, Othello Park, John C. Little Park, Sam Smith Park, Jimi Hendrix Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, Jefferson Park, Genesee Park, Hubbard Homestead Park, Green Lake Park, Lincoln Park, and Westcrest Park. SPR crews will ensure that parks that historically have seen gatherings will be accessible and open.
Other city departments’ preparations are listed in the full news release.
4:41 PM: Among those whose comments we’ve received, Seattle-King County NAACP president Carolyn Riley-Payne, whose statement includes;
“… this is just one verdict, and it came only after a summer of nearly non-stop mass protest, with echoes of Mr. Floyd’s last words, ‘I can’t breathe,’ filling streets from Seattle to Washington, D.C. It should not take a national movement to secure justice for a single Black man killed by a police officer. But it did, and it will.
“Because we know that our work is not done, that Black and brown people continue to be targeted, assaulted and killed by police every day, and that they rarely see justice. We see it in our backyard, in King County, where Black and Indigenous people are killed at a vastly disproportionate rate. We live in an America where white people can storm the U.S. Capitol and go home safe and unarmed, while Black and brown people are effectively sentenced to death for counterfeit dollar bills and loose cigarettes.
“It has to stop. We cannot accept the status quo. It is time to end policing in Seattle and King County as we know it and build a new system that honors Black and brown lives. As our community celebrates this rare victory tonight, we must channel our emotion into sustained action. …”
Many politicians have sent statements. This one is from the State Senate Members of Color Caucus (which includes 34th District State Sen. Joe Nguyen):
““Words cannot undo the deep wound that George Floyd’s murder left in his family, in his community, in Black communities here in our state and across the nation. They cannot undo the actions of the man who ended his life. They cannot erase the history of racism and racial violence that blinded that man to George Floyd’s humanity, and gave him such a sense of impunity that he believed he could snuff out another person’s life without consequences.
“But today: George Floyd’s killer did face consequences. We use our words now to commend this outcome – a just verdict and rare accountability, for George Floyd’s loved ones and Black Americans in our state and country – but also to reiterate our commitment to making sure that justice is not rare. That accountability is not uncertain. That another father, friend, or neighbor is not another victim. That Black Lives Matter.
“Words cannot undo what went wrong – but they can set us on the path to what is right. As the Senate Members of Color Caucus, we use our words to advocate for sustained, systemic change – for Black and brown communities, for historically marginalized communities, for every single Washingtonian. …”
4:49 PM: City and community leaders are having a media briefing right now; Seattle Channel is streaming it here.
5:53 PM: The city event is over. The first West Seattle gathering that we heard of was the regular twice-weekly BLM-supporter sign-waving at 16th/Holden, which has continued for months; a WSB crew talked with participants about today’s verdict and we’ll have that story later this evening. Meantime, a commenter says there’s a candlelight vigil happening on Alki.