During the Olympia City Council meeting on Tues., Sept. 14, Mayor Cheryl Selby released a statement denouncing the violence in Olympia on Sept. 4.
In her speech, the mayor stated, “Anyone who comes into the city with the intent of committing acts of violence or destruction is not welcome here.” Selby issued her statement following the recent violence in downtown Olympia between members of the Proud Boys and Antifa. The altercation resulted in several assaults, with one individual reportedly shot.
However, the violence is still far from over as the mayor also confirmed that the city is preparing to respond to a possible demonstration on Sat., Sept. 18. “I wanted to speak out and reassure the public, especially, with the possibility of more tensions coming to our streets,” Selby said. She also reminded residents, “do not engage with those that come to our city with disruptive intentions.”
Selby clarified that the city does not oppose peaceful demonstrations. “We support the rights of individuals to peacefully gather and exercise their first amendment rights.” She continued, “Olympia sits proudly as the seat of the state’s government, where we can shine as an example of freedom of speech and thought.”
The mayor shared that some individuals have taken advantage of the situation, “too often, positive messages and historic movements are co-opted by those who have their own agendas.”
In the meeting, Selby also vowed to hold those who are liable for the attack. “It is difficult to prevent criminal acts from those who are intent of committing them. But what we can do is hold accountable those who commit such crimes.”
Following the violent incident, the mayor also acknowledges the city’s failed response (see story) “We are all frustrated that the city was unable to manage last weekend’s events.” In turn, she directs the “police department to take the lessons from last weekend’s events and use them to prepare and helm our processes and practice for the coming weekend and beyond.”
In preparation for the possible demonstration, Selby assured that the Olympia Police Department “will use the practices outlined in our guiding principles for demonstrations and crowd control. And make every effort to intervene early and swiftly to address lawlessness.”
Finally, the mayor concluded, “Here’s to everything we can as a community to continue our strong tradition of making Olympia a safe and inclusive place where hate doesn’t have a home.”