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Protesters in Tacoma, Seattle condemn police brutality in another day of demonstrations

A demonstrator holds up a sign in front of police and National Guard members in Seattle on June 2, 2020 during a protest over the death of George Floyd.
Shauna Sowersby
A demonstrator holds up a sign in front of police and National Guard members in Seattle on June 2, 2020 during a protest over the death of George Floyd.

After five days of protest against police brutality and racism, activists continue marching the streets of Seattle and Tacoma. 

In Seattle, hundreds of people flooded the streets of Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood on Tuesday.

Yordanos Brown says she'll continue protesting until there's justice for George Floyd, the Black man killed by police in Minneapolis. Brown says she’s also marching to protest systemic racism.

“We work hard, we live in this country, we pay our taxes, and so we deserve to have the same rights,” Brown said. “We deserve to go to the grocery store without anybody staring at us like we don’t belong there, or people calling the cops on us for random little situations, or just them being uncomfortable with us being around.”

KNKX's Will James reports from the protest in Seattle

Tuesday’s protest lasted for hours near a Seattle Police precinct and Cal Anderson Park. Shortly before midnight, police used tear gas and flash-bang devices to disperse the crowd. In response to the continued protests, Mayor Jenny Durkan has issued a nightly 9 p.m. curfew until Saturday morning.

Another protest Tuesday, in Tacoma, drew hundreds of people to a spot in front of a police station at Wapato Park in the evening. But unlike in Seattle, officers were not really anywhere to be seen except for police cars blocking off some side streets. 

The protesters then marched along South 72nd Street, a main thoroughfare in Tacoma’s South End, blocking traffic and chanting names of people who have been killed by police. 

Like other protests, the crowd was there to protest the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But they also had another message. They wanted to draw attention to a young man who was killed by Tacoma police last fall and to push for accountability.

Bennie Branch was 24 years old when he was shot and killed by a Tacoma police officer last September after a traffic stop. His mother was there and witnessed an officer shoot her son after he tried to run away. 

Janae Baker, Branch’s sister, attended Tuesday’s march and said she felt traumatized watching the video of Floyd’s killing.

“I cried for a couple of days,” Baker said. “It just brought up my brother’s murder inside of me — it was disgusting.”

Baker said she misses her brother. She described him as a joyful person who was always dancing and singing, and was a good uncle to her children.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.
Will James is a former KNKX reporter and was part of the special projects team, reporting and producing podcasts such as Outsiders and The Walk Home.