SEATTLE - The Seattle Police Department is investigating recovered items used during Saturday's riot in Seattle, Police Chief Carmen Best announced on Wednesday.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief Best addressed the investigation in a Wednesday press conference, with the various items on display that they said protesters used toward police officers during the riot.
According to an SPD blog post, around 4:25pm on Saturday, July 25, officials observed a van following protesters on 12th Avenue, then stopping at the East Precinct and abandoning the vehicle.
Police said around that time, fireworks erupted inside the precinct as several people threw explosives at officers. One explosive caused a hole on the northside wall of the precinct.
A witness reported to police the same van was seen with protesters surrounding it and many demonstrators brandishing improvised shields, gas masks and baseball bats.
Detectives said they applied for and obtained a warrant to search the van and recovered fireworks, bear mace, improvised spike strips, body armor, homemade shields and other items.
Police declared a riot Saturday afternoon after another day of peaceful protest was hijacked by looters who injured 59 police officers, lit "explosive" fires and caused widespread damage in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood. 47 protesters were arrested during Saturday's demonstrations.
Hundreds of people gathered about 2 p.m. Saturday for a peaceful march in solidarity with protesters in Portland who are facing arrest by federal agents. By 4 p.m., crowds had broken away from the peaceful protest, setting fires to five construction trailers at the Juvenile Detention Center and attacking camera crews.
Arson and bomb detectives investigated the explosion at the precinct. Officials said based on how the van was parked and abandoned, officers were concerned more explosives were inside. It was later cleared and impounded.
"Our police dept has an obligation to disperse a crowd when dangers to public safety like explosives, fires, individuals intent on causing harm," Durkan said in the press conference.
"I think what we saw in our city last week in 3 separate protests that there were individuals who were intent on causing harm. And the items seized from this van show exactly what they were planning, saw the results on our street," said Durkan.
SPD also released a video detailing all the items officers recovered from the riot on Saturday.
Officials said this remains an active and ongoing investigation. SPD encourages anyone who has additional information about the riot to contact Seattle Police Violent Crimes tip-line at (206) 233-5000.