Tuesday evening, May 11th, Bellevue police responded to three competing demonstrations in the downtown area. Two of the groups remained stationary, and the third started at Downtown Park and moved into the street on Bellevue Way NE, walking up to the corner of NE 8th and Bellevue Way.
Bike officers were able to keep the two groups apart as they shouted at each other, at one point having to create a line to separate the groups after one crossed the street where the other group had been all evening.
The group dressed in black started a small fire and were pointing lasers at other protesters during their march. No one involved in the different demonstrations was arrested.
A 32-year-old Lynnwood man was arrested on investigation of felony assault for allegedly pulling an officer off his bike. That incident appears to be separate from the demonstrations. He was booked into jail.
Bellevue police prepared and responded to Tuesday’s events based on intelligence gathered in the days leading up to the demonstrations. Officers monitored communications from various sites. They learned the group planning to meet at Downtown Park was encouraging people to bring projectiles and to dress in all black to avoid being recognized. One post also called for “round 2” in Bellevue, presumably referencing the May 31st riots.
This group also posted a map of areas to avoid due to video cameras and several police and fire radio frequencies. In fact, throughout the event, this group was monitoring police radio frequencies, posting the text of exact radio communications to their group.
Given the totality of information and intelligence from partnering agencies, Bellevue police developed a plan and strategy to prevent criminal activity and keep everyone safe. This was accomplished while giving the demonstrators a safe space to express their First Amendment rights.
“It was a very successful event as far as we are concerned,” said Chief Steve Mylett. “We are happy the officer who was pulled from his bike did not sustain major injuries. As far as we know the suspect in that assault was not affiliated with the protest groups”. Chief Mylett added, “No civilians were injured during the protests, and there was no property damage. At the end of the day, we protected our downtown core from potential damage, and we protected everyone’s right to demonstrate. I’ll call that a win.”