SEATTLE (AP) – Dorley Rainey, a self-described “old lady in combat boots” who became a symbol of the Occupy protest movement after being photographed by Seattle police spraying pepper, has died. She was 95 years old.
The longtime political activist died on August 12, the Seattle Times reported. His daughter, Gabrielle Rennie, told the newspaper that her mother was “so active because she loved this country, and she wanted to make sure the country was good for its people.”
Rainy was a fixture in the local Progressive movement for decades, demonstrating racial justice, affordable housing and public transit, and against war, nuclear weapons, and big banks.
In November 2011, in the early days of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Rainey, 84, joined protesters in blocking the city’s squares. He was killed when Seattle police used pepper spray to clear the crowd.
Fellow demonstrators poured milk on her face to reduce the sting, and Joshua Trujillo, a sittlepee.com photographer, took a great picture Staring at her at the camera, her eyes were red and milk dripped from her face.
The photo became a worldwide symbol for the protest movement. He was profiled by The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Associated Press and The Guardian.
“It’s a gruesome picture,” she told the AP. “I’m really not that bad.”
Then-Mayor Mike McGuin apologized and ordered a review of the incident. Rainey was back to protest a few days later.
“Dorley is great and deserving of his activism,” McGuin said Friday. “She was just omnipresent and the voice of a conscience and change, and I respected her deeply, deeply, deeply.”
Renee was born in Austria in 1926. She was a Red Cross nurse and then worked as a technical translator for the US military in Europe for 10 years. She married Max Rainey, a civil engineer who got a job with Boeing, and moved to the Seattle area in 1956.
She worked as a court-appointed special advocate, representing children who have experienced abuse or neglect, and as a real estate agent. She served on the Issaquah school board and ran for King County Council half a century ago, and she made a brief run for Seattle mayor in 2009.
They had three children, Gabriel, of Asheville, North Carolina; Michael, of Boston; and Andrea, who died in 2014. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Max.