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Seattle Times Editor Objects after Judge Orders Paper to Turn Over Riot Footage to Police | National Review

Seattle Times executive editor Michele Matassa Flores pushed back on a judge's ruling that the paper and four other Seattle news organizations must give police unpublished photos and video footage of riots in the city.

Police had sought reporters' footage of a May 30 riot that stemmed from a George Floyd protest, during which vandals smashed windows of and set fire to police vehicles — and stole various pieces of equipment, including two firearms that remain unaccounted for. The violence led Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan to impose a curfew, and Washington governor Jay Inslee activated National Guard troops in the event that the riots continued.

 "The media exist in large part to hold governments, including law enforcement agencies, accountable to the public," Flores said of the ruling. "We don't work in concert with government, and it's important to our credibility and effectiveness to retain our independence from those we cover." Flores also alleged that the ruling could put "even our staff's physical safety" in danger.

Seattle saw the establishment of a six-block "autonomous zone" by protesters after police evacuated the city's sixth precinct building. That protest was dispersed following a series of shootings in the area, and businesses in the zone have sued the city for its "decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood."

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