This flier, with content credited to the May Day Collective and Washtenaw Solidarity and Defense, was left on windshields of cars in north Everett on Saturday. It suggests that individuals handle conflicts rather than calling police, even if property is damaged or taken. (Julie Muhlstein / The Herald)

This flier, with content credited to the May Day Collective and Washtenaw Solidarity and Defense, was left on windshields of cars in north Everett on Saturday. It suggests that individuals handle conflicts rather than calling police, even if property is damaged or taken. (Julie Muhlstein / The Herald)

An anonymous flier, an armed response and a plea for justice

At opposite ends of the spectrum: Group with guns in Snohomish, and those who’d skip calling the police.

The flier — with “Things To Do Instead Of Calling The Cops” boldly printed at the top — wasn’t an invitation to a Black Lives Matter rally. The notice found on my windshield Saturday was actually a call to inaction. It urged readers not to contact police.

Left in my north Everett neighborhood anonymously, hours before chaos erupted during protests in Seattle, its content is credited to “May Day Collective and Washtenaw Solidarity and Defense.”

With a graphic of a raised fist, the flier urges people to build “networks of mutual aid” rather than involve police in conflicts or even property loss. It suggests that bringing in police puts in peril those who may already be vulnerable.

It makes some thoughtful points. One is to check your impulse to call police about someone you believe is “suspicious” due to their race. Another suggestion is to keep a resource list, including suicide hot lines, because of risk to those who are mentally ill.

One point takes an extreme left turn: “Don’t feel obligated to defend property — especially corporate ‘private’ property,” it says.

Officer Aaron Snell, an Everett police spokesman, said by email Tuesday that the department’s criminal intelligence unit is not investigating any reports related to the flier “and we are not sure who distributed it.”

“Residents may not have reported the flier as it does not appear to contain hate type speech, only expresses a certain viewpoint,” Snell added.

A “May Day Collective” Facebook page says, “We are a group of local organizers from different communities, projects, and political tendencies who have come together to build a Festival of Resistance.”

The flier appears to be one of countless responses — peaceful Black Lives Matter gatherings to smashed store windows and looting — since last week’s death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. A now-fired white policeman, seen on video holding Floyd down with a knee to the black man’s neck, has been charged in his killing.

Over the weekend, the Snohomish For Equity group was joined by hundreds in a peaceful stand against racism. Saturday’s demonstration in the town known for antique shops has been overshadowed. On Sunday and Monday nights, citizens — many with guns — gathered with business owners along First Street in Snohomish. They came in response to what the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said were tips about an online post of possible mayhem purportedly by an anti-fascist group.

With his two guns, state Rep. Robert Sutherland was among those who stood with the business owners. Sutherland, a Republican who raised his family in Snohomish before moving to Granite Falls, said the citizens group lining the street far outnumbered Black Lives Matter protesters.

Although he said there was one altercation, the demonstrators were overwhelmingly peaceful and “not a shot was fired.”

“I think that was by citizens standing up, protecting our city,” said Sutherland, who carried his AR-15 and a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol. He did see a man wearing a Confederate flag shirt, but Sutherland said he saw no one in overt Proud Boys garb or flashing hand signs linked to white supremacy, such as some photos showed on social media.

It seems ironic that both the flier and the armed citizens — coming from opposite ends of the political spectrum — in a way carry a similar message. If not taking the law into one’s own hands, it’s at least a message of dealing with issues without police.

“Sometimes people feel that calling the police is the only way to deal with problems.” That’s not a statement from someone protecting Snohomish — no, it’s straight from the May Day Collective flier.

“I support law enforcement 100 percent,” said Sutherland, who disagreed that those in Snohomish were taking the law into their hands. “We’re there to back them up, to make sure businesses were not destroyed.”

As for his guns, he said he carries a concealed pistol every day — in case that day comes when it’s needed for protection.

Sutherland was upfront about his views. The flier had no contact information to further explore opinions expressed there. An article by Ryan Gallagher, posted in February on the Medium blogging platform, expands on the notion that “strong communities make cops obsolete.”

As the country copes with the consequences of not only Floyd’s killing but of injustice and violence dating back centuries to slavery, the NAACP Snohomish County Branch wants real change. A statement Tuesday from the group’s Facebook page noted the display of Confederate flags and signs of white supremacy among those gathered Sunday in Snohomish.

The statement made a multifaceted plea: a demand for an accountability task force to review complaints of excessive force or misconduct by law enforcement; the installation of dash and body cams, and a requirement they be used; the release and investigation of community complaints about law enforcement; and training to recognize and manage systemic discrimination, biases and ways to de-escalate situations.

“Civil rights issues continue to plague U.S. society. This is why BLACK Lives Matter,” said the statement, adding that the NAACP is ready to assist.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460;

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Monroe Correctional Complex on Thursday, April 9, 2020. Inmates held a demonstration on Wednesday night after six inmates tested positive for COVID-19. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Another outbreak sends 60 to isolation at Monroe prison unit

One worker and one prisoner tested positive Monday. Then more cases were found throughout the Twin Rivers Unit.

A fatal crash prompted closure of West Mukilteo Boulevard between Forest Park and Dogwood Drive Friday afternoon. (Everett Police Department) 20211126
2 dead, 1 injured in T-bone crash in Everett

The two people who died are believed to be in their 80s. Police don’t suspect alcohol, drugs or speed played a role.

Resident escapes burning trailer near Gold Bar

Nobody was injured in the fire Saturday, but the home was destroyed.

1 dead, 3 injured in 5-car crash east of Stanwood

Katrina Kakalecik, 27, of Granite Falls, was a passenger in an SUV that was rear-ended on Thanksgiving.

A woman walks a dog in downtown Snohomish on Oct. 22. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Snohomish adopts sales tax for mental health, affordable housing

The city’s new 0.1% tax is also under consideration elsewhere in Snohomish County.

Kyle Wheeler listens as he is convicted of second-degree manslaughter in Snpohomish County Superior Court on Thursday August 12, 2021 in Everett, Wash. ( Ellen Dennis /The Herald)
When killer skipped prison date, family’s mourning turned to fear

A judge sentenced Kyle Wheeler for killing an Everett man, Charles Hatem, then freed him on a promise to report to prison.

Michael Ciaravino
Ex-Mill Creek manager gets $92K severance after rocky tenure

Deputy City Manager Martin Yamamoto has temporarily taken over after Michael Ciaravino’s resignation.

Shawneri Guzman, center, who was named Washington's Fire Educator of the Year and her team of Community Resource firefighter paramedics Janette Anderson, left, and Captain Nicole Picknell, right, at the Lynnwood Fire Station on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A pandemic playbook, used nationally, was made in Snohomish County

South County Fire helped transport “patient zero.” Their COVID manual has helped departments far and wide.

Charges: Everett ID thief tried to buy wheels, speakers, more

The man, 33, was charged this week with 10 counts of identity theft in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Most Read