The CHOP appears to be on the chopping block.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced at a Monday news conference that officials have begun working to dismantle the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone after three people were shot in the area over the weekend. She explained that officers will soon reoccupy the abandoned precinct at the heart of the CHOP.
Durkan said that the Seattle Police Department “will be returning to the East Precinct. We will do it peacefully and in the near future.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, protesters took control of a six-block area in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, including an SPD precinct that was abandoned. On Saturday, two people were shot, one fatally, inside the CHOP, and on Sunday, a teenager was shot in the arm on the edge of the “autonomous” protest area.
“After days of peaceful demonstrations, two nights of shootings have clearly escalated the situation on Capitol Hill,” Durkan’s office said in a statement, according to Q13 Fox. “We have been meeting with residents and small business owners to address their safety and disorder concerns, including the ability of first responders to access emergencies in the area. … As many community groups are also urging, [the] Mayor believes individuals can and should peacefully demonstrate, but the message cannot be lost in the violence.”
Durkan’s move comes after Police Officers Guild President Michael Solan blasted the city’s response to demonstrators in the CHOP.
“We’re in a very, very troubling time in Seattle, and it’s deeply concerning that everybody across this country needs to be aware of what’s going on in Seattle,” he said on Saturday.
The CHOP has also faced derision from President Trump. During his Saturday return to the rally stage, the first since the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the United States, Trump said he offered to assist with the situation.
“So, they take over a big chunk of a city called Seattle. We are not talking about some little place. We’re talking about Seattle. Have you ever been to Seattle?” Trump said. “They took over a big chunk. And the governor who is radical left — all of these places I talk about are Democrat. You know that. Every one of them.”
“Any time you want, we’ll come in. We’ll straighten it out in one hour or less. Now I may be wrong, but it’s probably better for us to just to watch that disaster,” he added.
Protests calling attention to police brutality and systemic racism have been ongoing across the U.S. since Floyd’s death. Floyd, a black man, was filmed being pinned to the ground by a white police officer while begging for air. He ultimately died in police custody, prompting outrage and mass demonstrations.