If the headline above sounds familiar that’s because it is. Last month I wrote a story headlined “Seattle Police Officer Injured In Last Weekend’s Riot: ‘There’s Just So Much Hate’” That was about an officer named Ellie who had an injured knee after someone threw a rock at her outside the police precinct.
That was nearly three weeks ago and the riots have continued in Seattle since then. Sunday night 18 people were arrested and 3 police officers were injured in the latest riot. One of the injured officers was Adam Fowler who had to be rushed to the hospital after a mortar went off near his eye. Today Fowler gave an interview to local station KING 5 about the incident. He described the moment when he was hit, before help arrived when believed he was going to lose his left eye.
“These aren’t tiny fireworks, they’re not firecrackers, these are commercial grade mortars,” Fowler said. “One had been thrown behind me and when that detonated it hit me in the back and when I went back toward my patrol bicycle another went off,” he continued.
“The only think I could see was a bright flash and then a loud bang and what felt like a hammer hitting me in the face…I lost my vision momentarily. I lost my vision probably anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. It was just blurry in my left eye and my first initial thought was ‘I’m going to lose my left eye.'”
As for the nightly conflicts with police, Fowler said police are aware that some of the peaceful protests groups have filtered out many of the violent people. However, “we have this separate group now that is [there] every night. It can range between 50 people all the way up to 200 people.”
A bit later, Fowler added, “Those people are very violent, very destructive. They are ruining things. They want to harm us, harm businesses, harm things in Seattle and then quickly try to turn the story on us like we have created something bad when they are going out and seeking us out every night to try to cause these issues.”
As for what to do about it, Fowler said, “We need to have follow through…We need to hold these people accountable for going out and doing the things that they’re doing because it’s not going to get better if they’re not held accountable for it.”
It should go without saying that people attacking the police on a nightly basis should be held accountable but it’s not clear that’s happening in Seattle. Will anyone be held accountable for what happened to him?
Finally, Fowler said that even worse than the injury was the sense that the police department had no support from city officials. “Morale is not super-great right now. It’s pretty low and a lot of people feel the same way that I feel and are very frustrated. People want to be appreciated,” he said. Right now that just isn’t happening in Seattle or other departments around the country.