One year after Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin were shot by an Olympia police officer, protesters took to the streets again.
Chaplin and Thompson, who are brothers, joined in the march as protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace. No racist police.”
The two men have denied interview requests from The Olympian, citing legal reasons. Each is charged with two counts of second-degree assault for allegedly attacking Officer Ryan Donald. Donald was cleared of wrongdoing by the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Officer and by an Olympia Police Department internal review.
But their mother, Crystal Chaplin, said she felt it was time for the family to get involved. She said her family is typically private, so her instinct for the past year has been to remain out of the public eye. But Crystal Chaplin said she wants Olympia to remember what happened to her sons.
“I get a little anxiety, but it’s time to get out there,” Crystal Chaplin said. “I just pray all the time. I pray for the strength to go out there, I pray that it’s going to be OK.”
The event started at west Olympia’s Woodruff Park. By 4:30 p.m., about 100 people had gathered.
The group walked out onto Harrison Avenue, blocking traffic. The driver of a green pickup truck tried to drive through the crowd, revving his engine and driving at the people standing in his way. A protester climbed onto the hood of the truck, pounding on its windshield. The protester climbed over the cab of the truck and into the bed. Others banged on the sides of the truck, and one protester threw a bicycle at it.
The truck then drove away.
The protesters marched into downtown Olympia, stopping for a moment of silence at the intersection of Capitol Way and Fourth Avenue. They then continued toward Olympia City Hall.
Olympia police officers on bicycles and in cars drove ahead of the marchers, closing down streets as they went. The protesters came to a stop and blocked the intersection of Cherry Street and Fourth Avenue.
Several speakers used megaphones to address the crowd.
“The Olympia Police Department is racist, the Olympia City Council backed them up,” said Caro Gonzales. “They don’t care about our lives.”
Andre Taylor told the group about a ballot initiative that would strike the portion of Washington’s deadly force statute that requires prosecutors to prove that officers acted with malice and without good faith in order to convict them of using excessive force.
“It’s the civil rights movement of our time,” Taylor said. “It’s in our hands now.”
Taylor’s brother, Che Taylor, was fatally shot by Seattle police Feb. 21.
Lisa Hayes said she has already filed the initiative, and expects that the state Attorney General’s Office will have given it a name and number within a week.
At 7 p.m., Olympia police Lt. Paul Lower said that no arrests had been made in connection with the protest and that it had remained peaceful. By that time, the group had returned to Woodruff Park, and the crowd began to disperse.