SEATTLE, WA—On Wednesday, July 1, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued an executive order to vacate the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park areas, which contains the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), days after protestors gathered outside her home.
Established on June 8 as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) but later renamed, the CHOP spans several blocks. It was created after police officers abandoned the East Precinct and protestors made the area a police-free zone. The executive order declares the CHOP as an “unlawful assembly” needing an immediate response from various agencies.
“As of 9:25 AM, officers have made a total of 31 arrests for failure to disperse, obstruction, assault, and unlawful weapon possession,” the Seattle Police Department (SPD) Tweeted on Wednesday.
Dozens of demonstrators marched to Durkan’s home on Sunday, June 28, demanding that she either leave the CHOP unbothered or comply with their requests. Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant accompanied the group.
“Mayor Durkan and her family are in the state program to keep their address confidential because of the death threats mostly related to her work as Seattle’s U.S. Attorney under President Obama,” read a Monday, June 29 announcement from the mayor’s office. “Instead of working to make true change, Councilmember Sawant continues to choose political stunts. Tonight she did so without regard for the safety of the Mayor and her family. The Mayor was not even home — she was working at City Hall. Seattle can and should peacefully demonstrate but should not put families and children at risk.”
Durkan previously called the CHOP a “summer of love” and said that it had a “block party atmosphere,” while SPD Chief Carmen Best claimed that there had been reports of rapes and robberies.
The SPD released data on Wednesday regarding reported offenses in the CHOP between June 8 and June 30. 25 assaults, 2 homicides, and 21 burglaries, robberies, and thefts had taken place. There was also 1 case of rape and another of arson.
“The CHOP has become lawless and brutal. Four shootings–-two fatal—robberies, assaults, violence and countless property crimes have occurred in this several block area,” said Best in a statement. “My job, and the job of our officers, is to protect and serve our community. This is not an end to our department’s engagement with demonstrators. We must continue our efforts to build trust and redefine our roles as guardians in our city.”