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Seattle Finally Breaks Up “CHOP” Zone



Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone Sign on a Barricade | Seattle Finally Breaks Up “CHOP” Zone | Featured

Seattle Police finally got the green light to break up the so-called “Capital Hill Organized Protest (CHOP)” on Wednesday.

Mayor Jenny Durkan finally gave police the order to clear the zone. This comes demonstrators had occupied the area for several weeks. Durkan, a Democrat, had previously taken a soft stance on the ‘CHOP’ interlopers. At one point, she even predicted that the area would turn into a “summer of love.”

It took four shootings, a murder, and rampant crime in the CHOP zone to get Durkan to change her tune. On Wednesday, the mayor issued an executive order labeling the protest an unlawful assembly and told demonstrators to clear the area. Durkan later sent in Seattle Police when it became clear that some inhabitants were refusing to abandon the area.

Local Police Moves

Police moved in on the area at about 5 AM local time. They told protesters they had eight minutes to leave, and the began arresting anyone who didn’t comply with the order. Police said they arrested at least 31 for refusing to disperse, resisting arrest, and assault. They found one man who possessed a kitchen knife and a metal pipe.

Once they retook the area, Seattle Police were able to reclaim their East Precinct stationhouse. The officers were ordered to abandon the precinct several weeks ago after a crowd of demonstrators surrounded the building during protests following the death of George Floyd. The order to abandon the precinct surrendered the neighborhood to mob rule. With this, the cop-free zone at Capitol Hill was born. The occupiers soon rebranded the area as the “Capital Hill Autonomous Zone” before finally settling on the “Capital Hill Organized Protest”.

Crime skyrocketed in the Capitol Hill neighborhood once the occupying force took control. According to a national crime database, the Capitol Hill neighborhood had 37 major crimes reported for all of last year. This year, the area has reported 65 major crimes and most of them have occurred in the last month. Police have been under orders not to enter the area, so crime has been allowed to propagate unchecked. Locals say they feel abandoned by the City Council and the governor of Washington. Several Capitol Hill residents and business owners have filed a class-action suit against the city over its response to the occupation.

The Aftermath

Police Chief Carmen Best – who has expressed disagreements with some of the city’s decisions relating to the protests – said clearing out the CHOP zone was the right move. “This order, and our police response, comes after weeks of violence in and around the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone, including four shootings, resulting in multiple injuries and the deaths of two teenagers,” Chief Best said in a statement.

Appearing at a press conference alongside the mayor, Best said she was “stunned” by the amount of property destruction, vandalism, and trash she saw when she walked through the area shortly after it was cleared. Best said the residents were happy to see order restored to the area. “People were coming out of their homes and apartments and thanking officers profusely,” she said.

The White House hasn’t commented on the CHOP dispersal just yet, but U.S. Attorney General William Barr said he was pleased to see order returned to the area. “The people of Seattle should be grateful to [Seattle Police] Chief Best and her department for their professional and steadfast defense of the rule of law.” He did not mention Mayor Durkan in his statement, but the Trump administration has expressed disapproval of the liberal mayor’s handling of the occupation in the past.

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