Concerns are growing that the CHOP — also known as the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” (or “Capitol Hill Occupying Protest,” depending on which of the warring factions you speak to — is becoming dangerous for the group’s anarchist residents and local business owners alike — and a now-viral documentary clip from filmmaker Ami Horowitz will do little to dispel those claims.
Horowitz entered CHOP to do interviews with some of its residents and organizers and, in a video shared with Fox News, one prominent CHOP resident, Jaiden Grayson, tells Horowitz that CHOP is not intended as a “peaceful protest.”
Grayson even suggests that this is merely the first iteration of CHOP, and if the group’s demands, outlined in a Medium post distributed last week, are not met, that the “protest” could transform.
“Every day that I show up here, I’m not here to peacefully protest,” Grayson told Horowitz.
“I’m here to disrupt until my demands are met,” she added, per Fox. “You cannot rebuild until you break it all the way down.”
Grayson told Horowitz that the group plans to see their demands met “by any means necessary.”
“It’s not a slogan. It’s not even a warning. I’m letting people know what comes next,” she said. “If the Seattle Police Department turns in their badges, we’ll have made a move forward.”
“The unraveling of that system is also what will fuel the black minds in the black bodies that will recreate a new world,” she concluded.
— Ami Horowitz (@AmiHorowitz) June 17, 2020
The group’s demands include a full defunding and disbanding of the Seattle Police Department (as well as the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency), a socialized health care program for all residents of the city of Seattle, free college, that all prisoners are set free, that all drug laws are nullified, that Seattle “de-gentrify” and adopt rent control policies, and that all Confederate monuments be removed — not an easy list of tasks for Seattle city government.
The group has been reformatting in recent days, first changing their name to CHOP from CHAZ, after leaders suggested the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” left residents with no power to influence Seattle government, and negotiated with the city to reduce their footprint from six square blocks to three, protected by a handful of concrete barriers.
Concerns about policing CHOP arose over the weekend after business owners, who found themselves unwillingly included in the CHOP, could not get Seattle Police Department to respond to 911 calls. The business owners detained a CHOP resident they believed had committed burglary and was about to commit arson, and found themselves at the mercy of a mob of CHOP residents, who demanded the protester be freed. After six calls to 911, the business owners reportedly gave up.
Over the weekend, journalists embedded in the CHOP also claimed that vigilante justice, meted out by armed leaders and typically at night, had taken root in the “occupied zone.”
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