‘He Does Not Have a Gun!’: Video Captures Seattle Police In Tense Standoff with Black Man Holding a Bluetooth Speaker, It Only Ends After Bystanders Intervene

An intense standoff between the police and a reportedly unarmed Black man in Seattle, Washington, led to a man fearing for his life.

A crowd gathered on his behalf, and police eventually backed off as a result of the bystander involvement.

The Feb. 1 incident occurred around 7 p.m. at 12th Avenue and Mercer Street.

Seattle police point gun at unarmed man, bystanders step in
Seattle Police point guns at an unarmed man. (Photo: YouTube screenshot/klannert )

According to witnesses, the man had been standing on the corner listening to his music on a Bluetooth speaker when the police arrived. The video shows a Black man wearing a yellow hoodie and black jacket screaming, “I don’t have anything on me” as police officers shouted commands.

A white bystander wearing a green sweater is seen filming the incident with her cellphone from across the street as she also yells at the police that the man was unarmed and had not done anything wrong.

The man is increasingly frightened by the commands as police ask him to walk forward. However the blinding police lights make it difficult. “I can’t even see anything,” he says. A bystander confirms she’s unable to see anything too.

At one point a woman walked over to the man to seemingly help protect him by standing between him and the police. The man is heard saying, “I’m just gonna get on the ground. I’m not even walking.” He also repeatedly said he did not have a gun. Another white bystander walking a dog also tried to intervene, seemingly to protect the man.

One person on the video is heard screaming to the police, “No one has a gun except for you!” Another bystander filming the incident captured one police officer pointing a rifle at the man in the yellow hoodie.

“We’re much more scared of the f— police in this situation than this guy,” screamed one bystander. “Can you guys f— calm down? Calm the f— down.”

Several cars are also seen driving by before two of the officers finally decide to stand down.

“We’re going to go ahead and disengage,” said one officer. “Twenty bystanders with four surrounding the suspect,” he said after he confirmed there were no victims or shell casings in the area. The officer pointing his rifle at the man put his weapon back into his cruiser and backed away.

As police pack up to leave, a man comes into frame claiming to be related to the young man, “This is crazy, my brother didn’t do anything … They literally just had guns pointed at my brother … Y’all just tried to assassinate by brother.”

The video was shared on Twitter on Feb. 6 with the caption, “The neighborhood came together to save an unarmed man from a bunch of maniacs with assault rifles and badges,” wrote @_Imposter. “They say they ‘got a call,’ so they had to draw down on a black man with a cell phone.”

The bystander who recorded the video told the Capitol Hill Seattle blog that they were more afraid of being shot by the police and noted they had not seen the man in the yellow hoodie with any gun.

“Having just had a pretty close look at him, I hadn’t seen a gun, and he and I both yelled at the police that he didn’t have any gun,” said the witness. “A woman across the street echoed our statement. I was scared of being caught in police gunfire and moved to the side and started filming, as did several other bystanders.”

The police report indicated that the officers were responding to calls about gunfire. The report also claimed that the man might have been armed but says nothing about the number of bystanders telling the police that the man was not armed. The report also called the bystanders “hostile” and conceded that no evidence of a shooting was found.

“At 1843 hours, officers responded to 12th Avenue East and East Mercer Street after multiple callers reported hearing shots fired. One of the callers described a possible suspect walking away, and officers spotted him nearby. Believing him to be possibly armed, police attempted to detain the subject by giving him verbal commands at a distance,” the report reads.

“The man ignored commands. As police were giving the man commands, multiple community members encircled the subject and attempted to obstruct officers’ paths to approach the man while filming the incident. Despite police informing citizens the man may be armed, the community members continued to interfere and became increasingly hostile,” the continues.

“Based on the number of community members becoming involved and their unwillingness to comply with officers’ commands, it became clear there was no safe means to detain the subject without unnecessarily endangering everyone that was now involved. Unable to investigate further, officers disengaged and left the area. Police found no evidence of a shooting at the original scene, and no gunshot wound victims were reported.”

Atlanta Black Star reached out to the Seattle Police Department for comment on this story. However, department officials sent ABS a link to previously released body-worn camera footage of the incident, which corresponds with bystander footage and the incident report.

Twitter users reacted to the cellphone video, with one commenting that people are often shot by the police after reporting a crime. “Lots of people call the cops to report a crime then get shot by those same cops,” wrote one user.

Another user wrote, “Amazing the police incident report and what we see on camera are polar opposites – the report said the crowd was hostile -they were far from hostile they were concerned and told the police the man didn’t have a gun and refused to allow him to be harassed. They were compassionate.”

According to another witness, the man was terrified following the close encounter and sobbed after the police left the scene.

“There were three police cars and at least four officers on the scene,” said the witness. “I was told by one witness afterward that the precipitating incident had been the victim slapping the stop sign on the corner, the victim told me he had gotten in an argument and went outside to cool off. He was listening to music on a Bluetooth speaker, which is what the cops perceived to be a gun. He was terrified and sobbing when it was all over.”

Back to top