Marti McKenna is 5’4” and 52 years old. She spent yesterday afternoon with her daughter at the peaceful May Day rally at Judkins Park, petting dogs in raincoats and giggling at a toddler playing peek-a-boo with a stranger.
Then she went by herself to Westlake Park, where she thought that same May Day march was headed. It wasn’t. Instead, a couple hundred Trump supporters purporting to protect free speech from black bloc (who, incidentally, were nearly absent) were milling around, sporadically chanting “USA! USA!”
“She didn’t know she was walking into a Trump-supporter counter rally,” said her daughter, Jessie McKenna (who has written for Seattle Weekly in the past), “and her miscalculation would be almost comical if it weren’t for the events that would later occur.”
Those events, which took place over the course of a few minutes, represent a counter-narrative to media reports casting the rally that McKenna walked into as peaceful. Through videos that have surfaced since (embedded at the bottom of this post) and interviews with Jessie, Seattle Weekly has stitched together the series of events, which involve a group of men at the Trump rally surrounding McKenna and baiting her.
It started when McKenna was debating a rallier about immigrants. Another rallier then told her to “Let this man talk.” She did not appreciate the interruption, and said so. Fifteen seconds later, she was spinning around looking for an exit, shouting, “Get the fuck away from me! Do not get in a circle around me and act like you’re intimidating, because you’re not fucking intimidating!” Several men had formed a circle around her, blocking her exit.
“Public property,” replied a young man wearing camo and a helmet.
“Don’t pay attention to her,” said an older man in a leather biker vest. Then: “Shut the hell up.”
“Get away from me!” yelled McKenna.
“You want the attention, don’t you?” said a man.
“Yeah, she does,” said a man. “Yeah! She does!”
“GET THE FUCK AWAY!” yelled McKenna to the half dozen or so burly men in combat armor who had formed a human wall around her. “Get away from me, now! I am not up for this shit!” She casted about, trying to find a way out of the circle. The men surrounding her laughed and clapped, then started chanting “USA! USA!” McKenna’s daughter says her mother believes they chanted in order to muffle her screams for help.
“Where are the police?” she asked. Then, to the livestream audience: “All these people think it’s cool to intimidate a woman who just came here to fucking talk to people.”
“You’re not even listening! You’re not even listening!” said a man.
“Who the fuck am I supposed to listen to?” McKenna cried. “There’s a hundred and fifty people standing around me in helmets and gear!”
“Calm down,” said a man.
Then McKenna lunged at one of the large men standing around her, making as though to grab him by the arm. Several people pulled her back, beginning the scuffle that led to McKenna eventually being knocked over.
“GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” cried McKenna, trying to shove her way through the cage of men surrounding her. “Back the FUCK away!” yelled a man. “Fuck you! Fuck you!” yelled McKenna.
The scuffle triggered police to begin rushing and clearing the park, but McKenna was able to push her way out with help from a stranger who pulled her through. Then, as McKenna tried to leave, a young man on a bicycle who had been part of the group surrounding her—Hawken, who was livestreaming under the Twitter handle for the group Vanguard of Liberty Washington—grabbed onto McKenna, holding her back. “I have proof this woman assaulted a citizen! I have proof this woman assaulted a citizen!” he shouted, then pushed her to the ground.
“Get that old woman out of here!” cried a man. “Move your bike. You’ve got to move your bike back,” said a Seattle police officer standing next to Hawken.
A man wearing a motorcycle helmet and leather jacket picked McKenna up and led her out of the crowd. “Get your fucking hands off of me!” she cried.
“Get out of here,” he said, releasing her onto the sidewalk. “We’re not a violent crowd. Just go.”
Jessie, McKenna’s daughter, says she was initially skeptical toward her mother’s story of being surrounded and manhandled. “In my mind, I kind of gaslighted her,” says Jessie. “I was like, ‘Did you start it? Were you mouthing off?’… I was kind of in disbelief until I saw the video.” You can see video of the altercation (and some of the heated words that followed it) from different perspectives at the bottom of this page.
According to Jessie, McKenna is “a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, extreme domestic violence, and multiple rapes. Being surrounded and aggressively accosted and yelled at by a bunch of men in homemade body armor and helmets and trapped there, helpless to defend herself, was a terrifying experience. Today she is emotionally broken and her rear end and back are bruised, stiff, and sore.” Jessie says that her family plans to file a police report.
Here is McKenna’s first-person perspective, captured via livestream and then edited by internet trolls into outrage pornography:
Here’s footage from a third person’s perspective:
And here’s my footage:
Here’s footage from Hawken’s perspective:
— VanOfLib Washington (@VanOfLibRep5) May 2, 2017
This post and its title have been edited based on new information.