Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced on Monday that the city will dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) region which Black Lives Matter protestors colonized two weeks ago as a no-police zone. It was formerly named the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). “The impacts have increased and the safety has decreased,” she stated, touching on the increasing effects on businesses and residents of the area, as well as two shootings, one deadly, that occurred within the zone. Durkan announced that police will reoccupy their East Precinct building, and the city will work with the community, rather than the police department, to attempt to peacefully clear out the zone.
The Left has been in support of the CHOP but is changing tunes amid recent violence. Founder of an organization Not This Time!, which is an anti-police-shooting group, said that the city’s leaders are justified in their move to take over the zone again amid violence. “We cannot let acts of violence define this movement for change,” said Durkan after noting that the majority of protestors had remained peaceful. She stated her commitment to remain focused on the issue, saying there will be “continued dialogue on how to reimagine policing” with community leaders, protestors, and organizations.
Disapproval regarding the CHOP has been widespread among the Right, with President Trump criticizing Durkan and Governor Jay Inslee for failing to remain in control of their city and state, respectively. “The residents and homeowners feel hostage. We feel like we’re being held hostage in our own neighborhood because city officials are not doing anything about the situation,” said one resident who lives near the zone. Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said that while policing does need to be reimagined and restructured, and she will work with community leaders to do so, they cannot ignore the reports of rape, burglary, and assault that have come in.
“I have the police reports right here. We cannot walk away from the truth of what is happening there.”Carmen Best, Seattle Police Chief