SEATTLE, WA—On Monday, June 8, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (known widely as “CHAZ”) was declared in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, spanning around 6 blocks.
It was established after the Seattle Police Department (SPD) abandoned the area’s East Precinct building.
“The decision to board up the precinct – our precinct, our home, the first precinct I worked in – was something I have been holding off. You should know leaving the precinct was not my decision,” said SPD Chief Carmen Best in a video address to officers.
The video was originally only released within the SPD, but after it was leaked, the department made the statement publicly viewable.
Inside CHAZ, there are reportedly no police officers at all. Instead, some “residents” have armed themselves and are patrolling the area. A “Seattle Police Department” sign on the precinct has been partially sprayed over, with the word “People” replacing “Police.”
A “No Cop Co-Op” shop has also been opened on the corner of 11th St. and Pine St., giving out goods for free. Donations are not accepted, and “kindness is our currency,” according to several signs on the makeshift shelter.
There have also been several movie and documentary screenings, including one of Ava DuVernay’s “13th.” Relaxation spaces, community stages, vegetable gardens, and other such facilities have also been set up.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan expressed her support for CHAZ.
U.S. President Donald Trump condemned the Mayor for her stance, as well as the zone in general.