SEATTLE — Seattle police said Tuesday it has cost them more than $585,000 to provide public safety services at demonstrations protesting a grand jury decision in the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
That figure only covers costs directly related to the protests, police said. It also only covers demonstrations through Dec. 2.
Since Dec. 3, demonstrators have also been protesting a New York City grand jury decision in a similar case.
So far during the protests, the department has arrested 22 adults and two juveniles for investigation of offenses ranging from assault to pedestrian interference, police said. No serious injuries have been reported.
Money to cover the expenses will come from the city’s general fund budget.
In comparison, police say public safety and traffic expenses related to this year’s Fourth of July totaled $462,000 while police costs for this year’s May Day protests were $294,000.
In what they described as an effort to “efficiently provide the right amount of public safety services at future demonstrations without compromising safety,” police asked that march and rally organizers apply online for special event permits.
The department said the permits are free for “constitutionally protected free speech events.”
The first Seattle protest, after the grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson on Nov. 24, cost the city $101,571. The Seattle Times reported that the most costly protest listed was on Dec. 1, after Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said she issued an “all hands on deck” order for officers in advance of a demonstration that began at Westlake Park. That one cost $156,161.
The costs include both on-duty officers and officers who worked overtime, police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said.
Also tallied was nearly $16,000 in extra staffing in the days leading up to the Ferguson announcement.