One of the 59 Seattle police officers injured during last weekend’s rioting gave interviews to two local news channels. Q13 refers to her only as “Ellie” because she’s concerned about being targeted again by the mob. Ellie is an immigrant from Lebanon who decided to become a police officer because she wanted to help serve her own community. As Q13 puts it, “Ellie is the kind of officer that a progressive city like Seattle hopes for.”
But last weekend she was seriously injured when a large crown marched on her precinct. While she was outside trying to keep people away from the building someone threw a rock at her:
During a riot outside the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct on July 25, Ellie suffered a torn meniscus when someone in the crowd threw a rock at her right leg. She jerked it away quickly, causing her left knee to twist.
In total, Seattle police said 59 officers were injured that day.
Ellie says her recovery could take months, but there is emotional healing too.
“There’s just so much hate,” she said. “I saw so much hate in people’s eyes.”
In the Q13 interview she says she thought about quitting the force because of the lack of support from the community for the police. But then she got a call in which she was able to speak Arabic to a distressed couple who didn’t speak very good English. The woman involved in the call had previously been tortured by police in Iraq so having a sympathetic female officer who could communicate with her made a difference. Ellie decided to stay on but she’ll have to have surgery on her knee so could be on desk duty for a while. Here’s the Q13 interview:
King 5 also published an interview with the same officer. In this clip, she describes how officers were dodging large rocks being thrown at them while people in the crowd were chanting “There’s no riot here, take off your riot gear.”
“It just felt like they were there to hurt us,” she said.
These interviews were pretty obviously set up by the Seattle PD. I think it’s a smart thing for police departments that are under attack to put forward some of these officers who are on the receiving end to humanize their side of the story. These are real people taking abuse and getting hurt.
Here’s the King 5 interview which covers a lot of the same territory: