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Seattle’s Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), formerly known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, will likely soon be called what it was before it was taken over by anarcho-communists. When police officers in the East Precinct were told to abandon their post a month ago, the six-block area was invaded. At least four shootings, thousands of reported crimes, and a couple of lawsuits later, it appears to be in the process of being taken back by the police.
BREAKING: Seattle Police retake anarchist-held CHAZ pic.twitter.com/hOWjADSePp
— Jack Posobiec ?? (@JackPosobiec) July 1, 2020
Mayor Jenny Durkan announced last week that plans were in the works to remove the barriers and peacefully remove the CHOP occupants, but no moves have been made by city officials since. But following a shooting on Monday that resulted in the second known death at the CHOP—first a 19-year-old black man and then a 16-year-old black boy—Police Chief Carmen Best said “enough is enough.”
I will call it: As of 6:59am PT, #CHOP is no more. pic.twitter.com/B5K9m6ONE6
— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) July 1, 2020
“Officers enforcing today’s order are wearing a higher-level of protective gear,” Seattle PD Tweeted. “Police are utilizing this equipment because individuals associated w/the CHOP are known to be armed and dangerous/may be associated with shootings, homicides, robberies, assaults & other violent crimes.”
The police department came with full force and preparedness, knowing many occupying the area are armed with semi-automatic rifles and other weapons. They were acting on an executive order from the Mayor:
Today, Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a 48-hour public safety emergency order to vacate the East Precinct/Cal Anderson area. Seattle police will be in the area this morning enforcing the Mayor’s order.
This order, and our police response, comes after weeks of violence in and around the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone, including four shootings, resulting in multiple injuries and the deaths of two teenagers.
As I have said, and I will say again, I support peaceful demonstrations. Black Lives Matter, and I too want to help propel this movement toward meaningful change in our community.
But enough is enough.
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.
My job, and the job of our officers, is to protect and serve our community. This is not an end to our department’s engagement with demonstrators. We must continue our efforts to build trust and redefine our roles as guardians in our city. I will continue to work with the Community Police Commission, the Office of Police Accountability, the Inspector General, the Mayor, the Seattle City Council and ALL of our community and social justice partners in the coming weeks to encourage peace and to begin meaningful dialog about reenvisioning public safety in our community.
Yesterday, the Mayor called for City Council member Kshama Sawant to be investigated and possibly removed for her involvement in leading occupiers from The CHOP to the Mayor’s residence. Whether that was the last straw or if this morning’s purge was planned is unknown.
It will likely take months for the damage done to the area to be repaired and years before property values return to their previous levels. The CHOP experiment failed on multiple levels, just like Mayor Durkan’s leadership.
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