Note: A curfew in the City of Auburn from 9PM to 5AM has been extended through Saturday, June 6th. The quotes and information in the below article were obtained prior to the announcement of this updated curfew order.
A peaceful protest supporting Black Lives Matter and condemning police brutality will be held in Auburn. The family-friendly protest is scheduled for Tuesday, June 2, at 6:00 p.m., at Auburn City Hall.
The event announcement states that “this peaceful protest is a Pro-Black Anti-Police Brutality Protest. Supporting Black Lives Matter and demanding justice for the black victims who have been wrongfully killed by law enforcement.”
Recognizing the many peaceful protests around the nation that have quickly transformed into volatile riots, the protest will have “peacekeepers to prevent violence of any kind, making sure everyone gets home safe.”
Protest organizer Dalayna Wallace is determined to maintain a peaceful protest, “unfortunately, when it comes to that I have no control over what other people do. I know that my intention is to lead a peaceful protest.”
Recognizing the current protests are not an all or nothing matter, Wallace continued, “I do know some people don’t express themselves like that. Some people are angry, and they have every right to be angry and how they handle that is out of my control. I can only control what I do. but people are tired, people are angry, and people feel like that is the only way to let out that anger.”
A protest held Sunday afternoon in Federal Way maintained order and did not devolve into unrest.
“As a Black woman, I recognize that I have one of the most vulnerable and marginalized voices in our society,” said Saudia Sanders, an attendee of Sunday’s protest. “As the documentation of brutality against people of color increases and emotions become raw, these moments of unity and protest are mandatory.
We ask for Justice. We ask for respect. We ask for equality. #BlackLivesMatter”
Unfortunately, toward the end of the protest, a motorcyclist lost control of his bike and crashed into those gathered. Two women and a baby were injured in the crash.
What to Expect from Auburn Police
This is not the first protest Wallace has lead or participated in, in Auburn. This history has given her insight into the Auburn Police response for the protest.
“My expectations of the Auburn police department are not negative at all when it comes to what my hot been at the protest; obviously, you can’t put anything past anybody,” said Wallace.
During the previous protests, the police provided crowd control and ensured the safety of demonstrators. “I don’t know if they only did that because we were students or because that’s what they wanted to do for their community. This protest is way different, especially for me. I protested before about immigration and Latino rights. This hits home for me, and I know a lot of people are fed up. So, I honestly don’t hold any expectations for them. You can’t put anything past anybody.”
Auburn Police Chief Dan O’Neil outlined that “Auburn Police will provide a presence to ensure that protesters can protest peacefully without the fear of outside interference. We will also make sure that the protest stays peaceful, providing a safe environment, and preventing the destruction of any property.”
After events in the Puget Sound over the weekend, including looting at The Outlet Collection, the Auburn Police have an operational plan in place for any potential rioters or looters.
Only a few Auburn police officers are equipped with body cameras, and “will use them per policy. Auburn Police Officers are expected to follow policy at all times while on duty, to include the use of Body Cameras,” said O’Neil.
In Seattle, several officers were seen with black bands over their badges. A likely misconception has circulated that these bands were an attempt to prevent their badge number from being obtained. “Some law enforcement officers are still wearing mourning bands to honor Trooper Justin Schaffer, who was killed in the line of duty during March,” explained O’Neil. “Tradition is to wear a mourning badge until a memorial has been held. Because of the current COVID Pandemic, there hasn’t been a memorial for Trooper Schaffer. Some agencies are continuing to wear mourning bands, and Seattle PD might be one of them.”
“Auburn Police Officers’ do not have badge numbers on their badges. However, Auburn Police Officers are required to provide a badge number if requested. Badge numbers have been over-glorified by the media. It is more beneficial to ask an officer’s name over a badge number, especially in Auburn.”
O’Neil expressed the department’s support for Tuesday’s protest, stating, “the Auburn Police Department supports everyone’s constitutional right to peacefully assemble and protest. This is a time when we are all hurting as a nation, and there is work to be done. I think the best work can be done through conversation and the building of relationships, not violence.”
Having already made a statement on the killing of George Floyd, Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus also shared her support for Tuesday’s protest, “I am fully supportive of a peaceful protest. Violence cannot have a place in our community.”
Organizers for Tuesday’s protest will provide water. Attendees are reminded to wear a mask as 6-ft social distancing will be unlikely to obtain.
If you would like to provide support for the event by way of donating water, masks or hand sanitizer contact Claudia Flores at [email protected].
As a reminder, if you are uncertain about the protest environment please remain at home. If you are at the protest and it becomes an unsafe situation, leave immediately.