A weekend of chaos descended on Tacoma, WA, as protesters and Antifa swarmed the streets to not-so-peacefully protest the actions of a police officer who reportedly drove through a crowd, injuring at least two people.
More than 200 people gathered in the Grit City on Sunday, Jan. 24, to protest the police department after an officer responded the day before to a street race going on in the city. Tacoma police said about 100 people were blocking the intersection at South Ninth and Pacific Avenues, and officers were trying to clear the area. One police car was surrounded by the crowd, and, according to the department, “People hit the body of the police vehicle and its windows as the officer was stopped in the street.” Then:
“The officer, fearing for his safety, tried to back up, but was unable to do so because of the crowd. The officer had his lights and sirens activated. While trying to extricate himself from an unsafe position, the officer drove forward striking one individual and may have impacted others. The officer stopped at a point of safety and called for medical aid. One person was transported to an area hospital. That person’s condition is, at this time, unknown.”
Some witnesses claim they saw the vehicle run over one of the protesters during the officer’s attempt to flee the crowd. The 58-year-old unnamed policeman has been with the department for 29 ½ years and has been put on paid administrative leave, as is standard protocol.
Approximately 200 people marched through Tacoma’s downtown area, breaking windows and starting fires, according to reports. Many of the protesters were dressed in the all-black clothing that is usual attire for the so-called anti-fascists, and at least one Antifa flag was seen. Several people also carried black umbrellas, which are usually weaponized to spar with law enforcement.
The crowd marched and chanted, “No cops, no prisons, total abolition,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Free them all” as they passed the Pierce County Jail. Aside from smashing windows and writing graffiti on sides of buildings, the rowdy group also started at least two fires: one using a barricade, which they lit, and the other setting ablaze an American flag.
The Tacoma police, lined up on bicycles, tried to keep the mob at bay. At one point, several in the crowd chased away a preacher who was trying to speak through a megaphone. Other officers responded to a call claiming three people were inside a secure building. Law enforcement arrived and arrested two people who were armed with a handgun and knives, but the third person got away, according to reports.
Whether Trump or Joe Biden is the commander in chief, groups such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter do not seem to care. With signs that read “We don’t want Biden, we want revenge,” the group now seems to focus its effort not only on police reform but also on the entire removal of police and the jail system.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.