Even Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan can no longer put a brave face of optimism on the experiment in lawlessness at the heart of her city. Not with a rising body count and an inability of ambulances to enter the neighborhood in a crisis.
She’s signaling an end to the anarchy that has held her city in its grip for a couple of weeks.
We will no longer need to wonder whether we should call it ‘CHAZ’ or ‘CHOP’, because the mayor has said it’s all over.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced at a Monday news conference that officials have begun working to dismantle the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone after three people were shot in the area over the weekend. She explained that officers will soon reoccupy the abandoned precinct at the heart of the CHOP.
Durkan said that the Seattle Police Department “will be returning to the East Precinct. We will do it peacefully and in the near future.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, protesters took control of a six-block area in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, including an SPD precinct that was abandoned. On Saturday, two people were shot, one fatally, inside the CHOP, and on Sunday, a teenager was shot in the arm on the edge of the “autonomous” protest area.
“After days of peaceful demonstrations, two nights of shootings have clearly escalated the situation on Capitol Hill,” Durkan’s office said in a statement, according to Q13 Fox. “We have been meeting with residents and small business owners to address their safety and disorder concerns, including the ability of first responders to access emergencies in the area. … As many community groups are also urging, [the] Mayor believes individuals can and should peacefully demonstrate, but the message cannot be lost in the violence.”
The mayor apparently believes that the protesters will leave willingly and quietly. Maybe she should ask herself what the guns were REALLY for.
Durkan also vowed to address some of the protesters’ demands, including investing more in Black communities, reimagining policing in cooperation with community leaders, and pushing for accountability measures and statewide reform of police unions.
The mayor did not give an immediate timeline for clearing out the occupation but said “additional steps” would be examined if people don’t leave voluntarily. With scores of people camping in a park in the protest zone, Durkan said peaceful demonstrations could continue, but nighttime disorder had to stop.
“The cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the nighttime atmosphere and violence has led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents,” Durkan said. “The impacts have increased and the safety has decreased.”
Maybe she didn’t see the interview with that one lady protester who was pretty clear about her intentions NOT to leave quietly until Seattle had complied to their demands, not with promises of cooperation, but the elimination of the police. SEATTLE: Activist Answers KEY Questions Other Reporters Were Too Gutless To Ask (VIDEO)
Or that she was willing to carry her demands forward ‘by any means necessary’.
In letting this fester as long as they have, the Mayor has been playing a dangerous game with actual would-be revolutionaries. If this leads to a stand-off, this could very well cost more lives than it already has.