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Saturday, May 2, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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5Nd Night Of Seattle Strife -- Disturbances On Capitol Hill Shift Downtown

Rock throwing and property damage broke out near the Seattle Police East Precinct about 8:45 p.m. yesterday in the second evening of disturbances surrounding protests over the Rodney King case.

By 10 p.m., police had received reports of property damage in the Broadway District and downtown. No injuries were reported.

By 11 p.m., at least 30 people had been arrested.

The barrage of rocks and other hurled objects began at the police precinct at 12th Avenue and East Pine Street after a series of demonstrations protesting the acquittal of four police officers charged with beating King in Los Angeles.

Damage was reported at the precinct, and minutes later officers reported a crowd was breaking windows at a nearby liquor store.

The crowd then moved through the Broadway district and headed downtown by way of East Pike Street and Hubbell Place.

Police began making arrests before participants reached the central business district.

At 9:50 p.m., about 15 people were arrested near Hubbell Place and Seneca Street.

By 10 p.m., police received reports of windows broken at businesses near Fourth Avenue and Union Street.

The demonstrations began with a University of Washington protest and march from the campus that snarled traffic on Interstate 5 yesterday afternoon and continued with demonstrations at the Federal Building and City Hall.

Although many downtown businesses closed early yesterday afternoon and a number of windows were boarded up, police and protesters found many people walking in twos and threes downtown, watching both groups.

The protesters downtown last ight were a multiracial group, mostly in their teens and 20s. Witnesses said a number of youths were downtown on bicycles, moving quickly.

Others watched police and protesters as they walked.

"It ain't Rodney King, it's us," said a black youth as he walked through downtown.

Nearby, a white youth, who said he was from San Francisco, said: "I love it when people do this, it shows they're not scared."

At Sixth Avenue and Pine Street, three young women were arrested about 10:15 as police herded a group of youths across Sixth Avenue, enduring taunts but making no further arrests.

By 10:30 p.m., police reported several vehicles had been overturned near Fourth Avenue and University Street as a group of about 75 moved through the area. No injuries were reported. About four youths walked over and righted one of the vehicles.

Three West Seattle youths were not as lucky when they found their car near Sixth Avenue and Union Street.

Ryan Spickard, 16, of West Seattle said it was his mother's car, a Mazda. "Mom's going to be real pleased," he said.

Benjamin Welch, 15, who was with Spickard, explained: "We came down here to see what was going on. We found out what is going on."

By about 10 p.m., police had locked plastic handcuffs on 25 to 30 young, mostly white protesters and were standing next to them, waiting for a paddy wagon.

For the most part, those arrested went peacefully and said little, but one young woman became hysterical and began screaming. Police finally removed her handcuffs in an effort to calm her as she lay moaning in the street.

Others in line for the wagon were calmer but puzzled.

"I feel confused and frustrated and just disbelieving," said Michele Padgette, 27, of Seattle. "I don't know what we've done that was so unlawful." Police said the demonstrators were unlawfully assembled. But Padgette and several other young people disagreed.

"We came out and wanted to demonstrate peacefully and it seemed peaceful, but police cut us off at every opportunity," she said.

She and others said a few people in the group "went wild" and broke windows, but most tried to stop them.

While smashed windows, overturned vehicles and police in riot gear aren't part of the usual downtown scene, some of the normal aspects of night life went on unaffected. People waited in shelters for buses. Two men slept in a doorway. Men in suits and women in heels walked downtown sidewalks. Many passers-by seemed more curious than frightened.

The march for the most part was peaceful until it reached Hubbell Place and Seneca Street, where the demonstrators were sandwiched between a phalanx of seven mounted police and about 30 police officers wearing riot helmets and carrying wooden night sticks.

Some marchers taunted the police as others shouted, "Where do we go? Where now, man? We're peaceful, just tell us what to do."

At that point, the arrests began. At first, many officers seemed reluctant to arrest the young protesters.

Trooping behind the marchers was the Rev. Owen Walsh of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Snoqualmie, who, along with four other churchnmen from Operation Nightwatch, was monitoring the demonstration.

He said in some ways the demonstration was worse than those in the '70s. "At least then, police sported daffodils in their batons," he recalled.

Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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