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Seattle SWAT raids home of Occupy activists

Published time: July 11, 2012 16:39
Edited time: July 12, 2012 16:55
Occupy Seattle protesters are pushed back by police officers during a march and demonstration on May Day in downtown Seattle, Washington May 1, 2012 (Reuters/Robert Sorbo)

Occupy Seattle protesters are pushed back by police officers during a march and demonstration on May Day in downtown Seattle, Washington May 1, 2012 (Reuters/Robert Sorbo)

A Seattle, Washington apartment rented by members of the local Occupy Wall Street chapter was raided and ransacked by the local SWAT team early Tuesday as part of an investigation into alleged anarchist actions.

In a press release published after the event by a spokesperson with Occupy Seattle, the group says that all four residents of the Judkins Park area apartment were sleeping during the 6 a.m. raid. Authorities still used a battering-ram like device to break down a door and deploy stun grenades, however, a non-lethal weapon used to disorient its victims.

“Suddenly we heard the bang of their grenade, and the crashing as police entered the apartment,” neighbor Natalio Perez tells the Kasama Project website. “The crashing and stomping continued for a long time as they tore the place apart.”

The Seattle Police Department has since explained to the public that the raid was in conjunction with an ongoing investigation into protests that occurred during the May Day actions earlier this year. The police add that by executing the search warrant, they were able to collective “evidence that will be useful” in their ongoing probe.

Last month, reporters at the Puget Sound Anarchists website wrote that the FBI was behind repeated attempts into investigating Occupy Seattle and organizers that authorities believe were involved in the May 1, 2012 protests.

“Over the past few weeks the FBI has contacted and spoken with at least two individuals who have been involved in Occupy Seattle. In both instances, the agents have threatened to take these individuals away from their loved ones. From what is known, these individuals were contacted because of the events surrounding the May 1st General Strike,” the website reported.

One resident of the Seattle apartment adds to the Kasama Project site that a warrant made available by officers on Tuesday suggested “they were looking for specific pieces of clothing supposedly connected with a May First incident.”

“This warrant says that they were specifically looking for ‘anarchist materials’ — which lays out the political police state nature of this right there,” the source adds.

Phillip Neel was one of the Occupiers residing in the apartment during the raid, and was actually presented with the search warrant used by the SWAT team. Describing it to the Fire Dog Lake website, Neel says cops were concerned with locating “black hoodies, face masks, goggles,” and other items that could have been tied to the May First protests.

Blogger Kevin Gosztola adds in his report that police are reported to have confiscated clothing and sunglasses, and that “Fliers and a pamphlet that anyone could’ve picked up at any Occupy action were seized.”

Following the raid, around 50 people gathered for a protest that took demonstrators around the Seattle Police Department’s East Prestinct, the Seattle Times reports. No arrests were made during the early morning raid or during that evening’s protest.

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