In the months leading up to Tuesday’s May Day demonstrations, Seattle Police Department Graffiti Detective Chris Young saw a dramatic uptick in “anarchist graffiti” across the city.
“There’s was a lot of [anarchist taggingi] all of a sudden in March,” Det. Young says. “They were pretty indiscriminate. They would hit anything.”
Taggers spray painted circle-As and other messages—promoting May Day demonstrations—on street signs, businesses, “people’s garages, any place,” Det. Young says. ”They made it very clear they were going to cause trouble” on May Day.
In one case, Young says, a man and a woman caused nearly $14,000 in damage to the Russell Investment Center on 2nd Avenue and University Street, spray painting an anarchy symbol on a pillar, which will have to be partially replaced.
The same man and woman also caused $700 worth of damage to a bank on 2nd Avenue. “They covered an ATM with paint and did a bunch of other graffiti,” Det. Young says.
In another case, someone scrawled “kidnap the mayor” in a downtown alleyway. The graffiti “was taken seriously as a threat,” and documented by the department, according to Det. Young. The threat seems especially noteworthy, in light of the fact that someone threw a rock through the mayor’s living room window in the hours following the May Day demonstrations.
Det. Young says he is still investigating eight other pre-May Day incidents—primarily in the Central District—of anarchist tagging and graffiti. The department is now also working to identify a number of suspects who vandalized businesses and cars in downtown Seattle during this week’s May Day demonstrations.