NOTE: Bear in mind when you read this that this article is from the corporate media and gives the police’s perspective, which may or may not be accurate. During the Occupy movement, camps were infiltrated by people from the extreme right as well as law enforcement who caused disruption to discredit the protests and police lied to do the same. Occupying space can be a great tactic to change the dialogue and show alternative ways of doing things but they are resource-intensive actions that are also vulnerable. Hopefully, the organizers involed in CHOP will continue to build on what they started. – MF
At least 31 arrested by Seattle police.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued an executive order for protesters to vacate the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” (CHOP) zone.
Seattle, WA – The Seattle Police Department (SPD) moved into the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” (CHOP) zone and returned to the department’s East Precinct early Wednesday morning after abandoning the building three weeks ago.
Officers arrested at least 31 people by 9:25 a.m. for failure to disperse, obstruction, resisting arrest, and assault.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a 48-hour executive order for protesters to vacate the area due to the ongoing violence and public safety issues in the area of the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park. Mayor Durkan’s order declared the gathering as an “unlawful assembly” that required immediate action.
Two teenagers were killed and three other people were injured in shootings in or near the CHOP since the protest began on June 8. The precinct was evacuated on June 11.
Police moved into the CHOP just before 5 a.m. and issued a dispersal order to any protesters in the area.
“Anyone who remains in the area, or returns to the area, is subject to arrest,” SPD tweeted.
Officers were seen clearing tents and barriers in the CHOP. KING 5 crews saw officers using pepper spray on demonstrators who weren’t leaving the area after dispersal orders were given.
“Thank you to the individuals affiliated with the CHOP who have assisted officers in encouraging people to safely leave the area,” SPD tweeted.
KING 5’s Michael Crowe said a majority of the protesters had left the CHOP by 6:20 a.m. Around the same time, SPD tweeted that officers “continue to give dispersal orders and are moving remaining groups north through Cal Anderson Park.”
“The Seattle Police Department basically reclaimed the precinct in less than 30 minutes, 5 feet at a time with the bicycle officers out in front,” said Omari Salisbury, a reporter with Seattle’s Converge Media. Salisbury has been live streaming from the CHOP throughout the protest in Capitol Hill.
SPD said officers enforcing Mayor Durkan’s order were “wearing a higher-level of protective gear” because “numerous people in the area are in possession of firearms” and that suspects in recent shootings may still be in the area.
At 6:35 a.m., SPD said it was investigating “several vehicles” that were circling the area after officers moved into the CHOP. Police said the vehicles didn’t appear to have visible license plates, and the people inside were seen with “firearms/armor.”
Police said a 29-year-old man that was arrested Wednesday had a large metal pipe and kitchen knife when he was taken into custody.
Police tweeted city workers also recovered “improvised spike strips” from the area around the CHOP.
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said during a press conference Wednesday morning that officers searched the East Precinct to make sure there “weren’t any obstacles or any other concerns in the building.”
Chief Best said officers cleared the building, but haven’t moved into the precinct yet.
Chief Best said SPD would start operations at the precinct “as soon as we reasonably can.”
“This is not an end to our department’s engagement with demonstrators,” said Chief Best. “We must continue our efforts to build trust and redefine our roles as guardians in our city.”
The decision to dismantle the CHOP was sparked by an uptick in violence in addition to the deadly shootings.
“The CHOP has become lawless and brutal,” Chief Best said.
In a Blotter post, SPD said there were 65 reported offenses inside the CHOP between June 8-30, 2020. Police said the offenses include aggravated assault, larceny-theft, rape, and two homicides. There were a total of 37 offenses during that time in the same area in 2019, according to SPD.