SPD releases body cam footage of Sunday's riots in Seattle

Body cam footage released by the Seattle Police Department shows just how tense and chaotic the scene was Sunday afternoon when rioters threw bottles and fireworks at police, injuring at least 12 officers and sending one to the hospital. 

Police say a peaceful protest started about 10:30 a.m. Sunday, but three hours later, a second group showed up carrying baseball bats. The second group began marching on Fifth Avenue, breaking windows and tagging buildings with paint along the way. 

They vandalized SPD headquarters and Seattle Municipal Court before targeting downtown businesses and marching to the West Precinct, where they tried to break in but were thwarted by officers. Someone or a group of people threw large fireworks at police, injuring multiple officers and sending one to the hospital with burns on his neck. 

Police used pepper spray and blast balls to stop the assault on officers and arrested two people near the West Precinct. 

From there, the group went to Capitol Hill for more looting and property damage, police said. They set a small fire inside a business, as well as inside the East Precinct where windows had been smashed. 

The group - which police called organized and intent on causing property damage - eventually broke up at Cal Anderson Park. 

"These are criminal acts, not peaceful protests," SPD said on Twitter Sunday. 

SPD says they released the video in the name of transparency. They also say those mortar-type fireworks can kill people when thrown from short distances. 

The riots coincided with similar destructive demonstrations in Portland, where federal agents have been deployed to arrest protesters and protect federal property. City and state officials there say the unmarked federal officers are making things worse. Oregon's attorney general has filed a lawsuit to have them removed. 

Seattle city leaders say they're concerned that Sunday's riots will be used as a reason for the Trump administration to send federal agents to Seattle and other major cities. 

"I plead with the public to please continue your demonstrations," Seattle City Councilwoman Lisa Herbold said. "We need your voices to propel necessary change in policing. But I plead with you to please do so peacefully."

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan's office released the following statement in response to the riots: 

Seattle is a welcoming city, and Mayor Durkan will continue to fight against the attacks on immigrants and refugee residents by this administration. On Sunday, many people protested peacefully against ICE. Raising opposition to government is a cherished American right. Unfortunately, this protest was followed with fewer individuals who were intent on destruction - this led to damage downtown and Capitol Hill and the injury of multiple officers. These destructive acts do nothing to advance justice. Chief Best and Mayor Durkan have been in close contact, and SPD is investigating the crimes of those intent on destruction and will hold those individuals accountable.