On Thursday, during a joint press conference with Seattle Chief of Police Carmen Best and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Durkan compared the takeover by protesters of a six-block area they named the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” to a “block party.” Despite reports that some of the protesters were armed and extorting residents of the area, Durkan stated, “We’ve had blocks of Seattle and Capitol Hill shut down every summer for everything from block party to Pride; this is really not that much of an operational challenge.”
Durkan also took a shot at President Trump for threatening to get involved in the situation. She began by stating:
It is unconstitutional and illegal to send military to Seattle. If you don’t believe me, you can take the word of a line of highly decorated generals who have said so and have rebuked him. I have spoken to Governor Inslee, and together we will assure the people t this will not be happening; many people actually are afraid that it would happen because the President of the United States said it.
We would like to be able to trust what the President of the United States says, but I want people to know there is no imminent threat of an invasion in Seattle. But just as we did at the beginning of this pandemic, and as we have done many times before, we will not wait for a change in Washington for Seattle to act …
Durkan then segued to repeating the mantra that the American system has promoted racism for “hundreds of years,” saying, “Peoples’ voices have been drowned out during this time, and for several hundred years we have allowed a system to build and promote racism to continue to benefit us.”
Asked what the plan was regarding the Capitol Hill area, Durkan answered, “It has been described by the president and others as what it is not; it is not a armed Antifa militia no-go zone. It is a number of people there, we’ve had ongoing communications with them, with the business, with the residents, and we will make sure we find some way for people to continue to protest peacefully while also getting ingress and egress. We’ve had blocks of Seattle and Capitol Hill shut down every summer for everything from block party to Pride; this is really not that much of an operational challenge.”
She continued, “But we want to make sure that the businesses and residents feel safe. And we’ll continue to move that forward.”
Asked if the Seattle Police were going to try to move back into the East Precinct that had been abandoned, Durkan answered, “We’ve talked about SPD moving in; they did the assessment today, and whether there’s going to be an ongoing assessment about when it would be safe and appropriate for them to move in there, including response times and the like.”
Asked about reports that the people who had taken over the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” had arms and were extorting residents, Durkan answered, “My understanding is there have been some occasions of some property damage, vandalism, a fight but there’s not been any serious incidents that have been documented.”
On Thursday, in an address to police officers, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best acknowledged:
This week there have been demonstrations and what I understand were threats against a news reporter on Capitol Hill. There was vandalism to our city streets and to our building, but today the precinct remains standing. No officers were hurt, no forces used. We have heard that there are armed people “patrolling” the streets near 12th and Pine. Of course this is very concerning, especially because we don’t know who these people are. We’ve also heard reports that these armed people may be demanding payment from business owners in exchange for some of that protection. We’ve also heard that they may be demanding to see identification from people who live in the area.
The Daily Wire reported on Tuesday:
The protest situation in Seattle has reached a new level of chaos after the Seattle Police, seeking “deescalation,” retreated from a now-boarded up East Precinct building, allowing radical protesters to set up what they’ve declared “The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” that encompasses several blocks of the city.
After a showdown between left-wing rioters and police on Sunday, Democratic Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced late Monday an effort to “de-escalate” the situation by ordering the police to pull out of the East Precinct.
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