During heightened, stressful times living through a pandemic – and now wide civil unrest and looting – it’s understandable that sometimes fear can take over human logic centers, and perhaps that’s why a fearful yet false warning about violent protests coming to Burien spread so quickly through social media, email and texts on Monday, June 1.

Unconfirmed warnings were sent out widely, telling residents “that Burien is expecting a violent protest tonight.” These messages were posted on Facebook, as well as texted and emailed out. One of the warnings even cited the City of Burien as well as Police Chief Ted Boe as sources. Both also warned readers “to secure your families, homes & businesses.”

The rumors spread like wildfire (we were inundated with messages, calls and texts), but we would like to confirm that they are NOT true, and not based on any facts or truth.

Here are the original messages that were sent out just before 4 p.m. – the first via text, the second email:

“Hello dear friends, I just received word that Burien is expecting a violent protest tonight, Monday June 1st. I hope to God this isn’t true. If on the off-chance it is true, please take this opportunity to secure your families, homes & businesses. I will be in contact ~Be safe & well friends, [NAME REDACTED]”

“A friend just called to say she had heard from the officer of a Burien bank that the ‘word on the street’ is Burien is the next target for the looter-marauders. The bank officer said she had been notified by Burien’s police chief. I assume the police department might know more. Just a heads-up in case you want to take measures to protect your stores/merchandise. [NAME REDACTED]”

And here’s the response, directly from Burien Police Chief Ted Boe:

“Rumors and misinformation are being sent around in texts and emails, stating protests are occurring or about to occur in Burien. The messages are citing the City of Burien or Chief Boe as the source of the information. Neither the City of Burien or the Burien Police Department are aware of any threats to the safety of Burien businesses. We are in constant communication with our partners across King County and the State to assure we have adequate resources available in the event of unrest in our community. We will continue to keep our social media as up to date as possible.”

Also, Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht released this statement later Monday afternoon:

“We understand protests may be planned in areas within our jurisdiction, including our contract cities. Peaceful protest is an inherent right of all Americans. We share the sorrow, upset and anger of George Floyd’s death and want the concerns of our community members to be heard.

“However, we are receiving multiple unsubstantiated reports of organized criminal activity allegedly planned for our jurisdictions. At this time these are just rumors. If that changes we will provide an update.

“We have numerous deputies out working and ready to deploy if we learn of any criminal activity occurring. We want the peaceful protestors to be able to protest, but be clear, looting and other criminal acts will not be tolerated.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: We encourage all our Readers to carefully vet and confirm fear-based rumors like these. This type of behavior is very unhealthy for our community, and it is vital that we all continue to seek the truth during times like this. To those who spread unconfirmed reports, we kindly ask you to try confirming before hitting that “send” button! Or maybe ask us first – we’d be happy to help!


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