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Honoring Service And Sacrifice
Updated On: Jul 14, 2020

Memorial Remembrance - Watson: July 9, 1934

On December 2nd, 2016 the King County Sheriff’s Office unveiled a memorial honoring the 18 members of our department who lost their lives in the line of duty since the founding of the KCSO in 1853.  

Today, on the anniversary of the passing of Special Deputy Steven S. Watson, we want to take a moment and honor his memory.

Special Deputy Steven S. Watson: July 9, 1934

On Monday, July 9, 1934, Special Deputy Steven Watson was with a group of other deputies during labor unrest near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Seneca Street.  In the middle of a riot, Special Deputy Watson was dragged out of a car by strike agitators, beaten, then shot and killed.  He was shot with his .32 caliber revolver, which was taken from him while he was assaulted.  After the riot, Special Deputy Watson was found near the overturned car he was riding in.

 

The longshoreman’s strike began on May 9, 1934 when members of the International Longshoremen’s Association struck ports and steamship lines on the West Coast.  Violence between strikers, strike breakers, agitators and police resulted in deaths in San Francisco and Seattle.  The strike effectively shut down West Coast ports for 83 days.

 

The Seattle Police Department was assisted by 200 “special deputies” who were sworn into service basically as a reserve force by King County Sheriff Claude Bannick.  These special deputies did receive a small wage, but no formal training.

 

The strike agitators included a group of Communists who came to the region and terrorized the Seattle area.  The strike originally involved only the 1,200 members of the International Longshoremen’s Association.  The group of rioters followed non-union workers and police officers in the area where they assaulted, fire bombed and stole cars.

 

A coroner’s jury determined Special Deputy Watson’s cause of death, but it was never determined who was responsible for his death.

 

Our thoughts are with Watson’s family and friends as we pay tribute to him on this day.

 

Be well.  Stay safe -

 

Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht

 

 


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