On the eve of a planned extremist action to “demand justice” for right-wing thug Tusitala Toese, I am writing to provide a brief account of what happened the day he was shot. I heard the shooting, but did not witness it. What I did witness were numerous and diverse people running away from a group of almost all white men wearing helmets and body armor, chasing them.
Some of the ones being chased might identify as “antifa,” “black bloc,” or other supposed groups opposing fascism, but others appeared to be the local street community, local business people, and people going about their day downtown. The ones doing the chasing were set apart by their bullet-proof vests, various military/tactical accessories, and more than a few displaying Proud Boys colors.
Besides giving a primary source observation of the riot that occurred, I want to make clear that the Olympia Police Department behaved in a way that is unacceptable. As people were being chased and reportedly maced and beaten, I witnessed two officers riding away from the incident. I stopped and asked them to help (before any shots were fired), and they ignored me and rode away from the scene.
After their repeated harassment of Black Lives Matter protestors last year, the hands-off approach as right wing thugs terrorized downtown stands out and speaks volumes. Since I encountered the police behind City Hall, I assume the encounter was recorded on camera, and my subsequent call to 911 also mentioned the police inaction, so there is a verifiable public record of OPD’s dereliction of duty.