Officers from King County municipal police departments are responding to Seattle to provide additional assistance after the evening’s protest events, officials say.
The responding officers are members of the Valley Civil Disturbance Unit, according to FWPD Cmdr. Kurt Schwan. Schwan was unable to provide the number of responding Federal Way officers.
The Valley Civil Disturbance Unit (VCDU) is a multi-agency unit including law enforcement from Federal Way, Auburn, Renton, Kent, Tukwila and the Port of Seattle.
Protests have been sparked across the nation after the May 27 death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who died after a white officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes as Floyd said “I can’t breathe.” The officer has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Hundreds gathered in Seattle on Saturday afternoon to peacefully protest, but the protest soon incited chaotic scenes of Seattle Police cars set on fire, officers tear gassing protesters and damage to businesses in Seattle’s Westlake Center.
Around 4:45 p.m., Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan imposed an emergency order city-wide curfew from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday (May 30-31). Gov. Jay Inslee activated 200 unarmed National Guard members for assistance.
According to Kurt Schwan, the Seattle Police Department requested mutual aid from nearby law enforcement agencies.
The VCDU team was created with the intention of controlling crowds of unruly patrons and enforcing the law during large-scale demonstrations, such as riots or protests, the Mirror previously reported. It results in a higher degree of safety for officers and citizens, improved use of municipal funds and equipment, and better utilization of law enforcement personnel’s expertise and training.