Now that someone has died from the lawlessness in the CHOP, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has decided enough was enough. Finally, the supposed grownups were going to take charge and the absolute stupidity of the CHOP was coming to an end.
The problem was, Durkan never gave a deadline.
Luckily for her, a lot are taking their cue anyway.
More changes are happening at the CHOP. People are packing up their tents and many say they’re not sure what’s next.
On Wednesday morning, it was clear fewer people were at the protest area and it was quiet. Traffic was flowing one-way on E. 12th Ave, as intended when SDOT moved in barricades last week.
One Twitter account that claims to be an official account for the protest said “The CHOP project is now concluded,” but others who have been recognized as CHOP leaders in the beginning of the movement say they aren’t sure who is behind the account.
The tweet claimed that “we have been briefed that full rehousing SPD East Precinct staff into the station will occur no later than early next week.”
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office said in a statement to KIRO7: “Since the CHOP was established, City leaders have been onsite and in constant communication with demonstrators. Discussions are ongoing concerning SPD’s return to East Precinct.” The city did not provide a timeline as of noon on Wednesday.
Some people, however, intend on remaining behind to continue protesting, which in and of itself is fine. Protesting is constitutionally protected, after all. What isn’t, however, is declaring an entire segment of a city as an autonomous zone and declaring U.S. law has no application there.
Of course, for all their bluster, the CHOP seems inclined to fold pretty quickly once it became clear that Durkan didn’t have their back anymore.
Not that this ends Durkan’s CHOP-related problems in the least.
It seems that a number of businesses are less than pleased by the CHOP and Durkan’s refusal to do anything about it until someone died. They’ve filed a lawsuit.
About a dozen businesses and residents located in and around Seattle’s autonomous protest zone sued the city Wednesday — arguing their constitutional rights to property are being violated.
The class-action suit claims the group have had their rights “overrun by the city of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood.”
The so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, which sprouted up on June 8, has been “unchecked by police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public at large,” the lawsuit said.
These businesses were careful to argue that they don’t want to undermine the supposed anti-police brutality message of the CHOP, but did go on to highlight some particularly serious issues.
The group said in the suit that on occasions they have been threatened by protesters for photographing them or cleaning graffiti from their property.
One of the businesses included the suit — auto shop Car Tender — said a protester broke into his shop on June 14, started a fire and attacked his son with a knife.
The father-son duo were able to detain the burglar, but police did not respond and other protesters forced them to release the attacker, the suit says.
And this is why I had a problem with the CHOP in the first place.
Police brutality is one of those things we should all hope never happens to anyone. However, the response has been to vilify the police and for many to act like there’s never a time or place for the police. The CHOP was made up almost entirely of those people. You had a burglar threaten an individual with a deadly weapon, and when the business owner and his son detained the criminal, these dipsticks forced them to let a dangerous individual go.
What if that guy with the knife turned out to be the shooter that later killed someone?
Of course, it’s also possible that there were just a number of violent predators taking advantage of the lawlessness inside the CHOP, but that doesn’t excuse making someone release a violent criminal.
So now, Durkan and her city have to worry about a lawsuit, and while the police have no duty to protect you as an individual, they do have a duty to protect society as a whole. This lawsuit appears to allege that the police were held back from performing that duty.
This should be an interesting case to watch going forward.