Seattle mayor announces city will reclaim police-free CHOP autonomous zone taken over by demonstrators
Faced with growing pressure to crack down on an "occupied" protest zone following two weekend shootings, Seattle's mayor said Monday that officials will move to wind down the blocks-long span of city streets taken over two weeks ago. (June 22) AP Domestic
In the wake of two shootings last weekend -- one of them fatal -- Seattle officials announced Monday that they plan to dismantle a six-block “police-free zone” held by demonstrators in the heart of the city for more than two weeks.
"It's time for people to go 真人百家家乐官网网站home," said Mayor Jenny Durkan, referring to the so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone that has been occupied by activists since June 8.
Durkan, accompanied by police Chief Carmen Best at the public announcement, declined to say exactly how the area will be cleared if protesters resist, but stressed that the change will be “peaceful and in the near future.”
Amid nationwide protests against police abuses following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, hundreds of demonstrators occupied an area around Seattle's Anderson Park, and police abandoned a neighborhood precinct house.
The activists set up tents and created a carnival-like area with music, discussion groups and shared food. While the site was mostly peaceful, there has been crime and property damage and, over the weekend, deadly gunfire.
A 19-year-old man was killed and one wounded in a shooting incident Saturday, and another person was wounded Sunday. Seattle police said officers who responded to the former incident faced a "violent crowd" that denied them safe access to the crime scene.
The shootings remain under investigation, with no arrests.
Durkan put her foot down Monday, declaring, “The continued disorder, the violence, and the impacts on residents and businesses are not just at odds with a message of justice and equity, they cannot continue to occur. We are working with the community to bring this to an end. Capitol Hill belongs to everyone in the city.”
Some local activists also may have decided it may be time to disband. Station KUOW reported that Andre Taylor, head of a group pushing for police accountability, urged activists not to confuse their cause with a place.
Taylor said he asked leaders of the group, "Are you willing to die? And not only are you willing to die, are you willing to take the responsibility of someone who dies on your watch?"
In posts on Twitter, Durkan vowed to "re-imagine policing" in the city. She also wrote:
"On Capitol Hill and across Seattle, we need to have true community space — with connections to community-based organizations, health clinics, and restorative justice programs — that will help us move forward together to dismantle generations of systemic racism."