The Clipper Remembers May 30, 2020

The Clipper Remembers The George Floyd Protests


Rick Sinnett

A lone figure looks into every camera lens photographing the police vehicle set ablaze by Margaret Channon.

Rick Sinnett and Amy Gilbert McGrath covered the Black Lives Matter protest in Downtown Seattle’s Westlake area on May 30, 2020, for The Clipper’s Off-Campus beat. (Rick Sinnett)


“It was amazing to capture such a mix of people from different cultures standing up against systemic racism and lethal police practices. Especially during a time when people were afraid to even go to the grocery store because of COVID.”
— Rick Sinnett, former editor for The Clipper


“It affirmed to me the importance of being there and capturing the protest to help amplify those voices. I was trying my best to understand what Black Americans and all people who have been marginalized, especially from racism, were feeling in those months of continual protests following George Floyd’s murder.”
— Amy Gilbert McGrath, former editor for The Clipper.




It Started Peacefully

The protest began as a peaceful demonstration by people of various backgrounds standing up for social equity. Rick Sinnett
Masks, hats and hoods acted as frames for the protesters’ eyes, showing sadness, shock and anger for those lost to police violence. Rick Sinnett
One protester observed their Second Amendment rights during the march by open-carrying a rifle. Rick Sinnett


While some opted for a t-shirt and jeans, others wrapped themselves and their pets in raincoats to fend off the drizzle. Rick Sinnett
Umbrellas were uncommon at the protest, but skeptical looks into the camera lens were frequent among marchers. Rick Sinnett
There were few unmasked faces during the height of the pre-vaccine COVID pandemic, but some found wet cloth masks challenging to breathe through. Rick Sinnett


Most demonstrators were masked for their privacy and COVID concerns but underestimated how much water they would need. Groups of people were stationed along the demonstration path with water and masks. Rick Sinnett
Those helping protestors by handing out masks and water came from all walks of life. Rick Sinnett


Although the protest was meant to be peaceful, shops still took precautions to protect their buildings. Rick Sinnett
Businesses with floor-to-ceiling windows had challenges covering all of the glass. Rick Sinnett
After the police moved on with the protest, Nordstrom Rack was as vulnerable as any in Downtown Seattle and boarded their windows. Rick Sinnett



The peaceful march around the Seattle Courthouse concluded, and many protestors stayed to listen to scheduled speakers. (Rick Sinnett)
Local religious and political leaders spoke after the march. Still, rising tensions could be heard as a crowd of protestors wanting to continue marching toward Seattle’s East Police Precinct pushed against the barricades. (Rick Sinnett)


As the protesters who demanded to continue their march pressed against the barricades, police started to set off flashbangs. (Rick Sinnett)
Eventually, protesters became accustomed to police flashbangs and shrugged them off as if they were fireworks during a Fourth of July celebration. (Rick Sinnett)


As flash bangs failed to dissuade protesters at the barricades, tear gas was launched to clear the intersection. (Rick Sinnett)
By the second volley of tear gas, most protesters not wearing masks and goggles had left the area to seek medical help for their stinging eyes, mouth and throat. (Rick Sinnett)
Protesters away from the cloud’s epicenter chant, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” (Rick Sinnett)


“Police had begun to line every intersection in every direction, and it was mostly a standoff between the people, just inches away from the police. Each of them stared each other down. Some people had already endured pepper spray from getting too close to the police, and within the hour, police were warning the crowd to disperse.”
— Amy Gilbert McGrath, former editor for The Clipper.


From bad to worse

Volunteers, some paramedics and nurses, provide medical assistance but hide their identities to protect their jobs. One of these anonymous volunteers helps a protester flush tear gas from her eyes with a mixture of water and milk of magnesia. (Rick Sinnett)


“I remember when the SPD vehicle was set on fire and sarcastically thinking, ‘Great, the police department that has been under federal oversight since 2012 because of excessive force and biased policing just had one of their cars set on fire. This isn’t going well.’ Then I remembered the marcher armed with a rifle and wondered how ugly this would get.”
— Rick Sinnett, former editor for The Clipper



Phones go up as a police vehicle is set on fire as if it were a tit-for-tat response to police tear gas. (Rick Sinnett)
A lone figure looks into every camera lens photographing the police vehicle set ablaze by Margaret Channon.
The person in the green hoodie continues across Pine St., looking the world straight into its various electronic eyes with a gaze of judgment and pity. (Rick Sinnett)



Tourists of Chaos

As we left the Westlake Area, police lined the streets to keep order as peaceful protesters returned home. (Rick Sinnett)
All that was left was chaos as constructive participants went, and onlookers watched the transition to the next wave of the hijacked protest: the anarchists followed by the looters. (Rick Sinnett)
Remnants of a peaceful protest litter the sidewalks and window sills as police bullhorns and shouting protesters can be heard in the distance. (Rick Sinnett)



Memories may be hazy for those who only saw the events in the news or on social media. For those who were there, the memories are crystal clear. (Rick Sinnett)

“We packed up our gear and headed back to our parking spot; we didn’t want our equipment to make us a target for a mugging. But I wished I had my camera handy as anarchists marched down the street toward the protest.
This meant the protest was over, and we were leaving the beginning of true chaos.
The anarchists would be followed by looters with the police on their heels. We had families to get back to and media to edit. It was the perfect time to leave.”
— Rick Sinnett, former editor for The Clipper