Hapless Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best gave a cordial speech to the anarchists in the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone (CHOP) on Monday, following two murders and multiple shootings, asking them very nicely to leave the area.
She smiled pleasantly, joking with reporters while batting long, fake eyelashes as she briefed them about the shootings of two African American teenagers earlier that morning. Behind her stood a chaotic backdrop of tents, barriers and wooden placards scrawled with graffiti as protesters continue to press their demand to defund the police.
She said “people who identified themselves as CHOP medics” transported the victims to the hospital. A fourteen-year-old male victim was transported to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center in a private vehicle, arriving at 3:15 a.m., according to a hospital spokesperson. Another sixteen year old male victim was driven in by the Fire Department’s medical team at 3:30 a.m. on Monday, but he later died. The 14-year-old boy is still fighting for his life in intensive care.
The shootings had been carried out by people whom Best described as “self-identified security officers.” The police found a bullet-riddled white Jeep Cherokee inside the zone after multiple 911 callers reported hearing gunfire. The car had several bullet holes, blood on the driver and passenger seats, shattered side and rear windows, and damaged tires. No one was in the car.
She also told reporters that by the time police arrived, critical evidence had already been removed from the vehicle by people in the area. She lectured the anarchists like they were eight-year-olds who were ignoring orders to tidy their room, urging them to leave the CHOP if they care about safety.
“Detectives are trying to get information from witnesses, but as has been the case in other crime scenes up in this area, people are not being cooperative with our request for help,” Best said. “[Activists] can’t hostilely take over a neighborhood and cause the crime levels to go up like this. Two men are dead … and a child, a 14-year-old, is hospitalized and we don’t know what is going to happen to that kid. Enough is enough, here.”
There have been four shootings in nine days inside the so-called autonomous zone, two fatal. The zone, formerly known as Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) was set up to protest police brutality after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer. It is Seattle’s experiment in self-policing, with the blessing of Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan. Seattle police abandoned the nearby East Precinct on June 9, leaving it empty and boarded up.
In the early hours of June 20, 19-year-old Horace Lorenzo Anderson was killed and a 33-year-old man was injured. A second shooting the next day left a 17-year-old boy injured, and another man was wounded in a third shooting two days later.
Left-wing activists and their media partners have normalized homicides and other violent activities occurring in protests zones that sprang up in the wake of Floyd’s killing, largely ignoring them in news reports.
“It is very unfortunate that we have yet another murder at this area identified as the CHOP,” Best said. “Two African American men, dead, at a place where they claim to be working for Black Lives Matter. But they are gone. They are dead now. And we have had multiple other incidents — assaults, rape, robbery, and shootings.”
“Absolutely we want people to move out of the area,” said Best. “Continue, you know, your peaceful demonstration in a place where you are not affecting public safety. “I can tell you from my perspective we absolutely believe in the cause, we absolutely support Black Lives Matter.” She scolded the protesters, calling the conditions in the area unacceptable and unsafe but “we are gonna have to work through this.”
She noted that it is taking officers about 3.5 times longer to respond to calls in the area around the CHOP, and that a fire station located two blocks away cannot get into the area. “This is something that’s going to need to change,” Best said, insisting it would be done “peacefully.”
“We’re asking that people remove themselves from this area for the safety of the people. If they care about people, they’re going to have to try to help us to make it safe.”
“I’m not going to let the detractors and the naysayers and the agitators be the ones with the voice here,” Best insisted as the protesters tried to drown her out with shouts and loud noisemakers.
“There are people who live here. There are multiple people who are being injured and hurt and we need to do something about it. It is absolutely irresponsible for this to continue. … This is not an acceptable situation.”
Businesses and property owners in the six-block area filed a federal lawsuit against the city last Wednesday. They blame officials for being too tolerant of the occupiers, depriving property owners of their rights by allowing the zone to exist, but emphasize they are not trying to undermine the protesters’ anti-police-brutality and Black Lives Matter messages.
“As an African American woman with uncles and brothers, I wouldn’t want them to be in this area,” said Best.
The mayor said last Monday that police officers wouldn’t force protesters to leave the area, but would instead ask them to voluntarily leave. She assured residents of the city that the police will be returning to the abandoned precinct “peacefully and in the near future.”