CHOP has been running rampant in the city of Seattle for weeks. During that time, there have been reports of murders, rapes, fires, and more. It’s been out of control with the mayor hiding in fear.
Finally, Mayor Jenny Durkan has taken a stand. She’s had enough of the countless violations of the law. The best part of her finally leaping into action is that she’s going full force. She has issued an emergency executive order identifying CHOP as an unlawful assembly.
Durkan has made it clear as to why she’s doing what she’s doing: “The City’s obligations under the First Amendment do not require the City to provide limitless sanctuary to occupy City property, damage City and private property, obstruct the right of way, or foster dangerous conditions.”
For anyone who wants to question her, Durkan’s statement makes it pretty clear. The First Amendment rights don’t protect anyone who is going to damage property or foster dangerous conditions. Yes, you can have your freedom of speech. However, the moment you went from peaceful to violent, it became unlawful.
The mayor also identified that there were areas of CHOP doing what they said they were going to do. She made mention of the conversation garden, the art installments, and other peaceful demonstrations that helped to create community solidarity.
Once the Seattle police entered the CHOP zone, it was clear that there were problems. As of 7:45 AM on Wednesday, there were already 23 arrests. This included not only failure to disperse but also obstruction, assault, and resisting arrest.
Clearly, the protesters didn’t learn anything from the death of George Floyd. Resisting arrest is what will get you hurt. Admit that you broke the law and go peacefully.
Durkan has known that this executive order was going to be fought. She knows that the people within CHOP want to maintain their assembly, citing that it’s guaranteed by the Constitution. While she admits that they have the right to “lawfully assemble,” she also points out that the departments of the city have “more than reasonably accommodated” the many protesters.
Reasonably accommodated is putting it mildly. According to Carmen Best, the Police Chief, he said that the zone has become “lawless and brutal.” Considering that the Occupied Protest took up nearly six blocks and was getting ready to move into the abandoned East Precinct of the Seattle PD, it had to come to an end.
More arrests have continued through Wednesday and are likely to continue for the next few days. The Seattle police officers have had no choice but to go in with the need to use force. They entered the area with helmets on their heads and batons and rifles in their hands.
Warnings have been issued. Everyone who is still protesting in Seattle needs to shut it down and move on. They’re no longer welcome to pitch tents in the center of the city and call the shots. There will be no more shootings happening without the police showing up to investigate.
Plenty of protesters have tried to stay their grounds. It’s when the police made their announcement: “If you don’t get out, we will force you out or arrest you.”
With so many residents watching from their balconies, there was no way for the protesters to claim that they weren’t warned.
Some protesters and demonstrators sat to be handcuffed and detained.
Meanwhile, the police tore down fences, used batons to poke in bushes, and ensure that the entire city was cleared out. A sign with the demands of protesters was ripped down.
Now, the city needs to heal. Yellow caution tape lines the streets to warn protesters not to reenter. Heavy equipment is also being brought in to cart away tents, remove concrete barriers, and clear out the mess that was left behind.
Durkan is already letting herself get bullied again. While she recognizes the police intervention was necessary, she has also been quick to say that it shouldn’t “diminish the cause of racial justice.”