Former Seattle Police Chief Blasts Media For Warping CHOP Perception

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

One of the most inane things we saw last year was the CHAZ/CHOP. That was the area of Seattle where no government entity was allowed to go. Police had to stay away and there were problems even getting ambulances into the area.


However, the media kept portraying them as peaceful protestors. Sure, they wouldn’t let the police in to catch actual criminals who would run into the zone, but hey, the cops were wrong about everything last summer, right?

Yet the former police chief of Seattle has some harsh words about the media’s portrayal of the “autonomous zone.”

Former Seattle police chief Carmen Best said on a podcast this week that the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone during Seattle’s Black Lives Matter uprising was more violent than the media depicted.

Best told Jerry Ratcliffe on his podcast “Reducing Crime” that “destructive behavior” in CHOP was not adequately documented by the media, which resulted in people thinking it was “peaceful.” She continued:

And the other thing that I found very curious during that time frame was that the destructive behavior, for whatever reason, I’m not sure if there’s a political reason or otherwise, did not get the level of publicity or media attention as … I would read stories about the peaceful protests. I go, ‘Well, part of it was peaceful.’ But I was standing 20 feet away from a hail of rocks. I was looking right at them hail down, feet from me.

CHOP, which later became known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), was six blocks long. BLM protestors established the area after the police retreated from its East Precinct. Two people were killed in the area and there were several shootings. Businesses and residents sued the city over the summer for not taking action on the lawless protest ground.

The former chief said there was a great deal of “gaslighting” by the media. National outlets often attempted to conceal the madness inside the autonomous zone. The New York Times defined it as a “homeland for racial justice” in an article with the headline “Free Food, Free Speech, and Free Police.” CNN said conservative media “grossly exaggerated” the violence in Seattle.


In reality, there really were a lot of stories by the mainstream media supportive–I will point out that The Federalist seems to have gotten their timeline backward, though. It was CHAZ first, then CHOP–while most of the conservative media took issue with it.

Yet unless we were there, there was little we could report except what the media was churning out. We could blast the idea, but it was difficult to know what was taking place since the media there was outright lying.

Best was just a matter of a handful of feet away from where rocks were being thrown while the media was talking about how it was this beautiful, peaceful movement.

The American people need a news media that will report the facts. Yeah, I don’t care that they mention the free food inside the zone so long as they also mention the deadly weapons being tossed at police. They didn’t do that, and as such, the American people really didn’t understand what was going on there.

Best resigned from the Seattle Police Department, and I don’t blame her. The city downsized her department during a tense time. Further, while the city spouted about the importance of diversity, they put Best in a losing proposition. She’d hired 110 officers, with many being minorities, but under union rules, those officers would be the first to be fired. We know she’d have gotten blasted for that.


I don’t blame her for walking, just like I don’t blame her for setting the record straight with how the media manipulated the public with their “reporting.”

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