EVERETT — An Everett police officer handcuffed a 77-year-old man last month for allegedly pouring fish sauce on pavement near the Planned Parenthood clinic.
Groups opposing and supporting reproductive rights have regularly demonstrated near the health care facility on 32nd Street and Hoyt Avenue. Clashes and complaints earlier this year prompted the city to implement time, place and manner restrictions that pushed protesters and counter-protesters across the street and away from the sidewalk adjacent to the clinic. That lasted until the city lifted the rules in late May.
Officer Jay Taylor has been trying to keep the peace at the weekly demonstrations. In the past two months, “an offensive odor” near the sidewalk where the groups demonstrate was often smelled, Taylor wrote in the report.
Still images from Planned Parenthood security video recorded around 6:30 a.m. Aug. 11 reportedly showed “an older Asian male” in a red Honda SUV drive to the site, spread something from a container on the sidewalk and leave in the SUV. Taylor recognized the man from previous demonstrations.
A week later he waited in the alley south of the clinic at 6 a.m. About 20 minutes later, a man in a red Honda SUV pulled up and spread a liquid on the sidewalk. Taylor “could smell the offensive odor” as he approached the man to arrest him under the same law that governs stink bombs and explosives, a gross misdemeanor, according to the police report.
The Everett man reportedly agreed to speak with Taylor and another officer, and he reported he was spreading fish sauce on the sidewalk to deter people protesting abortion rights. He gave them the container in which he kept the condiment.
Taylor warned him that if he was seen doing it again he would be booked into jail before freeing him from handcuffs and talking to him about the interactions between opposing demonstrators.
The case was forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for review.
Everett Fire Department firefighters sprayed the sidewalk to remove the sauce.
Correction: This story has been modified to reflect the status of the case, which was forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for review.