Unrest in Seattle and elsewhere around the nation has been spreading out from inner cities to the suburbs reported The Associated Press. Many of the areas now seeing demonstrations and violence are minority communities. Seattle has been a focal point of demonstrations following the May death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
The trend of spreading violence can be partially attributed to the actions taken by large cities to contain and disperse violent demonstrations. Downtown areas are locked down, curfews enforced, other measures taken to keep large groups of people from congregating. This has pushed demonstrators out of the inner cities and into neighboring communities.
Previously other cities around the nation saw unrest spread to neighboring communities. In June West Philadelphia, a mostly black neighborhood outside of the city of Philadelphia, PA, was the scene of looting and conflict between police and demonstrators. Numerous Chicago suburbs, including Calumet City and North Riverside, were forced to impose nightly curfews after vandalism and violence spread from the city center to their communities. Aurora, IL Mayor Richard Irvin declared a state of emergency in June due to numerous continuing instances of violence and destruction of property.
In Portland, OR, where inner-city protests and unrest have continued for weeks, the Kenton neighborhood recently was the target of rioting and looting. A Kenton resident posted on Reddit, “Lots of people worked hard to make our little neighborhood pleasant and to help local businesses stay open. Now it’s trashed. This was not a BLM [Black Lives Matter] protest, this was a tantrum by a bunch of entitled kids.”
This highlights another increasing trend in the continuing demonstrations. On August 1 a group of demonstrators tried to surround the house of Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, according to the Lynnwood Times. The crowd, estimated at around 200 persons, was mostly made up of young white men and women in their twenties. They were dressed in black masks and carried “Black Lives Matter” signs and large duffle bags while they tried to get onto Chief Best’s property in Snohomish County. They were prevented from doing so by local residents. Chief Best is a black woman. Chief Best resigned from her post on Monday, citing the lack of respect being showed to her and her fellow officers. Best’s resignation came hours after the Seattle City Council voted to make major cuts in the police force.
Increasingly the composition of the most violent and aggressive demonstrators has been young whites in their teens and twenties, while the police opposing them have been more racially diverse. In Seattle on Monday, a group of Christians was accosted by demonstrators. According to Sean Feucht, religious leader and political activist, “Violent protestors showed up flashing knives! We had an entire satanic cult march through the worshippers the entire time yelling ‘Hail Satan!’ We had white Antifa yelling & threatening black local pastors! They yelled obscenities and cursed at my wife and kids all night long!”