Police in the Washington state capital arrested two demonstrators overnight when protests following an officer-involved shooting became unruly, a spokesman for the Olympia Police Department said Friday.
The demonstrations erupted after the early Thursday morning shooting of two unarmed stepbrothers by Olympia police Officer Ryan Donald, who was responding to a 1 a.m. shoplifting call from a local Safeway market.
The stepbrothers, who remained hospitalized, were identified as Andre Thompson, 24, and Bryson Chaplin, 21, both from Olympia.
“Store employees reported that two black men had attempted to steal beer and, when confronted by employees, threw the stolen items at them and fled,” police said in a written statement. “As police investigated the matter, an officer found two men matching the suspect descriptions a short distance away.
“A few minutes later, the officer notified dispatch that he had been involved in a shooting,” the statement said. “Two men were shot by the officer. Preliminary reports indicate the men were both shot in the chest.”
In radio calls released by the Police Department, Donald said the two men were “very aggressive” and that one of them “assaulted me with a skateboard.”
Thompson and Chaplin were expected to survive, said Chief Deputy Brad Watkins of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the shooting.
Chaplin was listed in serious condition and in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he was transferred late Thursday afternoon. Thompson was listed in serious stable condition at Tacoma General Hospital.
Donald, who was not injured in the altercation, has been placed on paid leave while the independent investigation continues.
Olympia police Chief Ronnie Roberts said in a Thursday news conference that “there is no history of citizen complaints against this police officer…. The suspects were not armed with a firearm.”
Demonstrations unfolded throughout Thursday, most of which were peaceful. City officials urged calm at a community meeting convened by local religious leaders. Several hundred protesters marched on City Hall around 8 p.m.
Olympia police Lt. Paul Lower said in an interview Friday that the larger demonstration was orderly but that about 11:15 p.m. Thursday a group of 40 to 50 protesters dressed in black, many wearing black masks, began marching through downtown.
Lower said protesters got into altercations with patrons of two taverns and fights broke out. Police used flash-bangs to disperse the crowd, he said. He did not release the names of the two people arrested.
“We were trying to accommodate people in expressing their freedom of speech,” Lower said. “This group usually is associated with a local anarchist group. We see a lot of people in that particular group.”
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