'We cannot have it:' SPD Chief announces tougher policy on prosecuting property damage suspects

In response to destructive protests, the Seattle police chief announced a new, tighter policy on prosecuting and arresting property damage suspects, and in coordination with Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes. 

During a press briefing at SPD's West Precinct, Diaz said the new law enforcement policy will go into effect Saturday, ahead of a planned protest at Occidental Park in Seattle this afternoon. 

Diaz said he has been focused for months on destructive demonstrations and property damages, and in light of a new presidential administration, he has seen there continues to be no agenda for the destructive demonstrations.

"They have been focused on breaking windows, and these are things we need to work on,' Diaz said.

Diaz said in addition to the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses have been affected by violent protests in the past year.

Last week, a demonstration, according to fliers in the city, was aimed at on ICE and President Biden. Protesters marched city streets, at one point burning a large American flag in the middle of a street, damaging an Amazon Go store, a federal courthouse, and the Starbucks store at Pikes Place Market in Seattle.

"On January 20th, the events at a variety of locations had no meaning. There was no discussion about what they were fighting for, or what type of social justice message. That cannot happen," said Diaz.

Seattle police arrested three people for property damages and assault. Diaz says the department will continue to hold people accountable and arrest people who cause damages during demonstrations.