29 arrested as Olympia protest turns violent


by TONYA MOSLEY / KING5.com and Associated Press


Posted on April 9, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 9 at 6:13 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Police arrested 29 people after an anti-police march in Olympia Thursday night turned violent that led to alleged assaults against a newspaper photographer and two police officers.

The march began about 7 p.m. at a parking lot at 2100 Harrison Avenue and proceeded east towards the downtown area. Police say the march, with people dressed in black, wearing masks and calling themselves anarchists, blocked traffic along the way. 

By 9 p.m., they had spray-painted the camera of a photographer for The Olympian and tried to take the camera and his cell phone, Bjornstad said. They also spray-painted buildings, broke windows and threw newspaper boxes into the street.

Officers observed the window of a business in the area of Jefferson Street and 4th Ave being broken.

Two officers were hit -- one in the head and one in the groin -- and those two attackers were booked for investigation of felony assault, Bjornstad said. Those two made their first court appearances Friday afternoon.

Two people who attacked the photographer were booked for investigation of assault. All the others were booked and released. The Thurston County Prosecutor's Office is looking at filing misdeamenor charges.

"I'm glad I wasn't here," says Citizen Bank branch manager Amy Sue Reed who walked into work to find a busted window. "It's very scary."

Shoe store clerk Cynthia Perry says they were chanting and angry.

"Some with hats on some with things over their face," said Perry. She says a few from the group spray painted the words "F police" on the front door of the store.

For the business owners who now have to pay for cleanup, Perry says the group's message was lost.

"What they're doing to me is just causing more problems. More violence, it's not going to solve anything," said Perry.

Bjornstad said there was no identifiable group responsible for the demonstration, but most of the marchers are college age. He said it may be related to similar protests in Portland, where hundreds have marched through downtown streets in recent weeks to decry two fatal shootings by officers.