Tips from community members and business owners about possible looting led Lynnwood police to block access to Alderwood Mall at the request of mall management Monday.
It’s unknown yet whether the mall will remain closed on Tuesday. Nearby roads were also shut down and police have not yet decided when the roadways will reopen.
Seattle and other cities across the U.S. and worldwide have been experiencing protests in recent days related to the death in Minneapolis last week of George Floyd, a Black man who died after being under the knee of a white police officer for several minutes. Looting and violence have also occurred not only in Seattle but in Bellevue and South King County — and nearby cities are preparing for that possibility as well.
“Our primary motivating factor for being here was the information (we were receiving) wasn’t about peaceful demonstrations, it was specifically about looting,” said Lynnwood Police Commander Sean Doty. “That’s why we’ve taken the response we have.”
As a precaution, Alderwood Mall management closed all businesses and asked police to block access to the property, which they did at 12:30 p.m. First responders have set up a pre-staging area for equipment and South County Fire apparatus in the Olive Garden restaurant off 196th Avenue West.
Doty said that police also responded to concerns from businesses near the mall wondering if they should shut down as well, and police advised those business it was up to them as to whether to close.
Several nearby businesses including the Lynnwood Costco did close on Monday.
Police said they will continue to monitor the situation on social media to determine what action might be necessary on Tuesday.
“I suspect there will be some semblance of a presence here throughout the evening until we’re confident that there’s no chatter suggesting they’re going to target specific businesses,” Doty said.
“This wouldn’t be the (police) response for lawful protests vs. individuals wanting to cause property destruction,” he added. “That’s the intel we’re operating on now.”
In addition to mall access being closed, the following roads were closed: 184th and 36th 188th and 36th, Maple and Alderwood Mall Parkway, Alderwood Mall Boulevard and 33rd, 194th and Alderwood Mall Parkway, Maple and 33rd.
In nearby Edmonds, Acting Police Chief Jim Lawless said the department stands with community members “who wish to peacefully and passionately voice their grief and frustration.”
However, he added, that “detracting from this important message with organized violence and terror do not help any community or nation heal and will not be tolerated. Your Edmonds Police Department is resolute in protecting our community by working with our local and regional partners. We embrace our entire community, we hear your concerns and we respect your purpose. The women and men of this agency will continue to serve our community with integrity and respect for all. We will do so with an unbiased commitment to public safety, now more than ever.”