Early Wednesday morning, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) moved into the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) to enact a clear-out, resulting in the arrest of dozens of people. The SPD acted in response to Mayor Jenny Durkin’s executive order for those within the CHOP to vacate the area. The zone has seen four shootings and two resulting deaths in recent weeks. The victims were 16 and 19 years old. As the police, dressed in riot gear, moved in, most people had cleared out of the area by 5 a.m. Last week, several businesses and residents in the zone filed a lawsuit against the city, suing them for allowing protestors to violate their private property rights.
Many on the Right point out that the CHOP became what they had predicted: a violent anarchist zone. Attorney General William Barr said that Seattle’s move to dismantle CHOP was a representation of the peoples’ Constitutional rights to gather and have freedom of speech, but not in violence or defiance of the law.
“I support peaceful demonstrations…the CHOP has become lawless and brutal. Four shootings — two fatal — robberies, assaults, violence and countless property crimes have occurred in this several block area.”Carmen Best, Seattle Police Department Chief of Police
While initially supporting what was said to be an “experiment in life without the police – part street festival, part commune,” Durkin, who is a progressive, said that the CHOP had turned lawless and was “unacceptable.”
“I think the intentions were good from the original protest, but it took a different narrative.”Bridgette Allen, Black Lives Matter protestor
Another protestor agreed that the initial feeling of positivity and peace turned into “tension and paranoia” as time went on. One sign found within the zone read: “We are not leaving until our demands are met: 1. Defund SPD by 50% now. 2. Fund Black Communities. 3. Free all protesters.” BLM protestors said the violence in the zone should not linked to their group or cause. Socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant said the most recent shooting was the result of capitalism.
While we await details of this tragic killing, it highlights capitalism’s brutality & endemic violence. Our movement rejects insinuations & falsehoods perpetuated by corporate & conservative media that this violence is outcome of CHOP or of our movement.https://t.co/AsbMeUiRgp— Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) June 29, 2020