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Despite Violence, Seattle Mayor Durkan Praises CHOP Zone: ‘We Have Had Incredibly Peaceful Demonstrations’
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan speaks at a news conference about the coronavirus outbreak Monday, March 16, 2020, in Seattle.
Photo by Elaine Thompson, Pool/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the same day that Horace Lorenzo Anderson, whose son was killed in Seattle’s “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” (CHOP) zone, appeared on Fox News and stated bluntly that Seattle’s authorities should have “stopped this a long time ago,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted of the CHOP zone, “For weeks, we have had incredibly peaceful demonstrations on Capitol Hill.”

On Monday King 5 reported: “Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best is condemning the latest round of violence that claimed the life of a teenager near the ‘Capitol Hill Organized Protest’ (CHOP) zone early Monday. It was the fourth shooting in or near the CHOP zone in the past 10 days. A 16-year-old boy died from the shooting and a 14-year-old boy is in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center.”

As The Daily Wire reported on June 24: “Seattle’s Fire Department responded to a third shooting in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood late Tuesday, transporting two victims who engaged in gun violence on the edges of the CHOP ‘autonomous zone.’ … within the last week there have been three shootings, leaving at least one person dead, one in critical condition, and three others with injuries, according to reports.”

On June 20, The Seattle Times reported that one person was killed and another injured in an early morning shooting that followed a vocal disagreement among protesters: “Seattle police homicide and assault detectives are investigating an early morning shooting in the Capitol Hill protest zone known as CHOP that left one person dead and another in critical condition. Seattle police said a 19-year-old man was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center. A second man suffered life-threatening injuries. Police have not identified the victims.”

On June 11, during a joint press conference with Seattle Chief of Police Carmen Best, 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.”

On Wednesday, Durkan posted a thread on Twitter that began with this statement: “For weeks, we have had incredibly peaceful demonstrations on Capitol Hill. Thousands of individuals came together to call for change, and their message has been heard loud and clear: Black Lives Matter. We must continue to live up to this moment in our nation’s history.”

Durkan simultaneously stated there were “incredibly peaceful demonstrations” with this admission: “But the recent public safety threats have been well documented. These acts of gun violence resulted in the tragic deaths of two teenagers, with multiple others seriously wounded. Despite continued efforts to deescalate and bring community together, this violence demanded action.”

She followed that admission with another acknowledgment of reality: “Our conversations over the weekend made it clear that many individuals would not leave, and that we couldn’t address these critical public safety concerns until they did.”

She then pontificated, “I’ve said from the beginning that Capitol Hill has a rich history of being at the epicenter of protest and change. No city, including Seattle, will dismantle centuries of systemic racism overnight. But we must act now. We must answer to history.”

“Undoing centuries of systemic racism will not happen overnight, but I believe Seattle can lead the country in addressing injustices and ensuring everyone, regardless of their race, can achieve their full potential,” she added. “Racism is hard-wired into our institutions and permeates throughout our society. We can only bring to undo the trauma and injustice by centering the voices of to send who have been most affected, and that is what we will continue to do.”

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