Rioters lit fires and smashed windows in Tacoma, Washington, Sunday during a violent demonstration over a viral video showing a police cruiser running over a person in a group of illegal street racers, according to The New York Post.
More than 100 rioters vandalized police cars, lit fires and smashed storefront windows, resulting in the evacuation of seven employees in city buildings and two hospitalizations, video shows, The News Tribune reported. No deaths have been reported as a result of the events.
Violence broke out in Tacoma following the release of a viral video showing a 30-year veteran of the Tacoma Police Department running over an unknown individual at an illegal street race. The officer in question reportedly “feared for his safety” once his cruiser was engulfed by a mob pounding on the cruiser’s windows, according to a Tacoma PD statement.
A small group of antifa rioters clad in all-black clothing was seen outside of Pierce County Jail attempting to rip jail gates down while simultaneously cheering “free them all,” the Post reported. Members of the same group reportedly carried an Antifacist Action flag. (RELATED: REPORT: Twitter Suspends Multiple Antifa-Related Accounts)
Police arrested two rioters for attempting to gain access to the rooftop of an unknown secure building at the 700 block at Commerce Street, said Tacoma PD.
The pair consisted of a 32-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman in all-black riot fatigues armed with a handgun, batons and double-bladed knives, said a Tacoma Police Department tweet. A third rioter was seen with the pair but managed to flee the scene.
While monitoring demonstration activity, witnesses observed 3 people in a secure bldg. in the 700 blk of Commerce St. trying to access the roof. Officers responded and arrested 2 people armed with a handgun and knives for Burglary 1st. The third subject is still outstanding. pic.twitter.com/HxdC8N865o
— Tacoma Police Department (@TacomaPD) January 25, 2021
The destruction has drawn criticism from local activists who insist the violent antifa rioters are from areas outside of Tacoma, reported the New York Post. Local businesses too expressed their displeasure at the destruction.
“Somebody started lighting it [trash can] on fire and I asked them ‘Yo, are you from here? Are you from Tacoma?’ He said, ‘No,’” local business owner Alexander Schelhammer told The News Tribune.
“This protest isn’t being led by people on a megaphone from Tacoma,” Schelhammer said.
Local protesters continue to criticize the city for lack of transparency and demand that the officer be fired from his post for driving through a mob of street racers, the Post reported.
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