Updates: Protests for racial justice in the Seattle area | #schoolshooting

Demonstrations and protests for racial justice continue in Western Washington. What to know:

  • Around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Seattle agencies descended on CHOP to clear the 10th Avenue barricade.
  • The back story: After weeks of protest, Seattle police retreated from the East Precinct at 11th and Pine on Capitol Hill, leaving it empty and boarded up. Protesters began blocking off an area around it on Capitol Hill, first naming it CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), and then renaming it CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized Protest).
  • The rallying cry has been to defund the police. Here’s what that means.
  • After a peaceful time, there have been four shootings, resulting in two deaths, that occurred in or near the CHOP. It is unclear whether the shooters have a connection to the protest.

TUESDAY, JUNE 30

Housing group writes letter asking city to close CHOP

11:30 a.m. — A low-income community housing group has written city officials arguing that “it is time for the CHOP to close.”

Community Roots Housing offers homes to low-income families in Capitol Hill. It operates 13 buildings located around the CHOP. In a letter to city officials, it argues that residents suffered under tear gas and flash bangs deployed by city police before they retreated from the East Precinct.

The letter continues to note that conditions around the neighborhood were peaceful after the police left. But that peace was short lived, according to them.

“But what’s happening in the area now has little to do with the movement for Black lives. Most of the activists have moved on. The park has become an encampment, our residents have been threatened and chased and businesses are being hurt. Families are afraid to go through the area or use the park. Graffiti covers every surface. There have been five shootings. And above all else two young Black men have been killed while one remains in critical condition.”

“…We are adamantly supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement and of all Black lives, we are adamantly supportive of deep police reform and leading with compassion instead of guns. But forcing us to choose between anarchy and police brutality is a false dichotomy. Compassion and law-enforcement should not be mutually exclusive. And what’s happening in our neighborhood now is not progressing the movement but impeding it.”

The letter was signed by Community Roots CEO Christopher Persons and Executive Director of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict Donna Moodie.

Read the full letter below.

Closing the CHOP community roots housing

A letter to the city of Seattle from Community Roots Housing, asking the city to close the CHOP.

–Dyer Oxley

Seattle closes Cal Anderson Park to assess damage, help memorialize protest art

11:20 a.m. — Seattle Parks and Recreation announced that it will close Cal Anderson Park at noon Tuesday. The park has been heavily utilized for activity around the CHOP.

Officials with the department have already been present at the park to assist with people experiencing homelessness. On Tuesday, they will focus on litter pickup and assessing the condition of the reservoir at the park. Also, according to the department, crews will “assess damage and clean up areas that have seen significant waste collection. At this time, no changes will be made to the community garden or art installed by demonstrators.

In the future: “SPR will begin to repair damage from newly created fires pits, graffiti, fencing, vehicles on the reservoir, impacts to the lawns and the play field, and other infrastructure.”

Parks and Rec also notes that it is working with protesters in an effort to preserve various works of art that have emerged in the CHOP. Officials say that demonstrators began cataloging and removing plywood to preserve art for installations in the future. Parks and Rec, along with the Office of Arts & Culture will be involved with memorializing these parts of the community protest. This work includes the garden that has been planted in the park, as well as a speakers corner at the park.

–Dyer Oxley

Protesters rebuild barricade at edge of CHOP

10:15 a.m. — After SDOT removed barriers at 10th Avenue and Pine Street early Tuesday morning, protesters quickly brought in couches, trash cans, and other items to replace it.

Lawsuit filed against Seattle

10 a.m. — Two men have filed a lawsuit against Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee for “abdicating” city property to the protesters of CHOP.

Jacob Bozeman, 57, is an attorney based in Lynnwood, and Austin Bozeman, 26, lives in north Seattle, according to records. They say Seattle provided barricades and barriers for the protesters to hold down the six-block area known as CHOP, or Capitol Hill Occupied Protest. It was previously known as CHAZ.

The Bozemans’ suit says they represent 100 people, although those people are not named in this suit, nor are they listed as residents of CHOP, or Seattle.

They are asking for damages and relief, although neither Bozeman is listed as living in or around CHOP.

Social media posts provide some insight into the plaintiffs and potential motivations. Jacob Bozeman’s Facebook page includes opinions opposing the protesters, Nancy Pelosi, Democrats, and Colin Kapaernik for his choice to kneel. He wrote that he drove to the protest one day and saw barricades “guarded” by “what looks like smkling [sic] white college girls and the occasional black man.”

He also wrote on Facebook that the Black Lives Matter movement’s “membership is based solely on skin color or the culture of victimization.”

–Isolde Raftery

SDOT removes some CHOP barriers

9 a.m. — Seattle police and Seattle Department of Transportation came to the CHOP Tuesday morning and removed barricades at 10th Avenue and Pine Street.

Teen now in “serious” condition

7:30 a.m. — The 14-year-old boy who suffered bullet wounds in the CHOP Monday morning has moved from “critical condition” to “serious” and remains in the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center.

MONDAY, JUNE 29

Gonzalez and Sawant: Blame gun violence in general for this shooting

1:15 p.m. — Don’t blame the CHOP for the recent string of shootings in the protest zone on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

That was the message from Seattle City Council members Lorena Gonzalez and Kshama Sawant at a council briefing Monday.

A shooting early in the morning left a 16-year-old male dead and a 14-year-old male hospitalized.

Gonzalez said gun violence is a public health epidemic across the country and Seattle is no exception.

“And this is not being caused by … a specific zone within our city,” she said. “This is, frankly, being caused by unscrupulous gun dealers who allow far too easy access to weapons that are then utilized by people in this way.”

— Kate Walters

Updated ages for Monday morning’s shooting victims

12:06 p.m. — Seattle police updated information about Monday morning’s shooting at the CHOP. A 16-year-old boy died after the shooting, and a 14-year-old boy remains at Harborview Medical Center and is being treated for gunshot wounds.

It was previously reported that an adult male had died after the incident.

SPD Chief Best responds to violence around the CHOP

9 a.m. — Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best argued Monday morning that people should leave the CHOP if they care about safety.

“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.”

Best appeared frustrated by the ongoing situation around the CHOP, including the violence and the absence of police at the abandoned East Precinct where the protest zone is focused. She would like police to return to the precinct.

She further commented 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.

“We are asking that people remove themselves from this area, for the safety of the people,” she said. “…they certainly can demonstrate peacefully any place. But they can’t hostilely take over a neighborhood and cause crime levels to go up like this. Two men are dead, and a child, a 14-year-old, is hospitalized … enough is enough here.”

READ MORE DETAILS HERE

–Dyer Oxley

Shooting leaves one dead, one injured in CHOP

6:25 p.m. — One man is dead and another in critical condition after a shooting early Monday morning in Capitol Hill Organized Protest Zone.

READ MORE DETAILS HERE

This is at least the fourth shooting in or near CHOP since Saturday, June 20.

A spokesperson for Harborview Medical Center’s Emergency Department said a private vehicle brought in the first person at about 3:15 a.m. Seattle Fire Department medics brought the second about 3:30 p.m.

Video streamed by Omari Salisbury on Twitter and Facebook showed a Jeep SUV smashed into a cement barrier. The vehicle reportedly drove through thenearby park before it was fired upon. Bullet holes were visible in the windshield, and the passenger side window was smashed out.

Bystanders told Salisbury that two people inside had been shot.

It was unclear how the shooting unfolded. Police said the shooting was reported near 12th Avenue and Pike Street.

— Angela King and Gil Aegerter

SUNDAY, JUNE 28

Protesters rally in Magnuson Park, march to confront Mayor Durkan

7:50 p.m. — Hundreds of protesters gathered for a rally in Magnuson Park ahead of a march planned to culminate at the residence of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. Organizers say they intend to confront the mayor and reiterate three key demands driving local demonstrations:

  • Cut funding for the Seattle Police Department by 50%
  • Redirect that funding toward support services for Black and brown communities
  • Release all protesters taken into custody without filing charges

Sunday’s demonstration comes less than a week after Durkan unveiled a proposed budget that would reduce the Seattle Police’s funding by $20 million — or 5% of the department’s $409 million budget — through the rest of 2020. Durkan last week also directed city staff to produce models illustrating what 20%, 30%, and 50% cuts to the department could look like.

Activist and former City Council candidate Shaun Scott pointed to the killing of Charleena Lyles by Seattle Police officers in 2017, despite the department being under federal oversight since 2012.

“So people have to understand that everything that we’re seeing from the police department is them on their best behavior,” Scott said, adding that the department “is long past the point of being reformed.”

Scott went on to call for the abolishment of the department.

“Seattle Police Department is at this stage a radically unaccountable institution as it has been since its inception,” he said. “So we don’t want to be in a position where they’re going to be able to exact revenge on protesters and continue on with this reign of terror that they’ve been propagating for the last 150 years in the city of Seattle.”

At the time demonstrators descended on the mayor’s home, a spokesperson said Durkan was meeting with Police Chief Carmen Best at City Hall.

—Liz Brazile




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