Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has clashed with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and vows to retake the precinct “as soon as possible,” according to The Daily Mail.
On CNN, Durkan suggested CHAZ could turn into “a summer of love.” Meanwhile, Daily Mail adds, armed members of a left-wing gun club have been seen roaming the area and appearing to patrol the zone after these remarks by the mayor.
Best has accused the mayor of shirking her responsibilities as an elected official and allowing protesters to oust police officers from a precinct located inside the 6-block radius now deemed a “cop free zone.”
Demonstraters inside the perimeter of the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” – or “CHAZ” – have battened down for almost a week decrying police brutality after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and are demanding the city abolish the Seattle Police Department.
“These are responses to emergency calls — rapes, robberies, and all sorts of violent acts that have been occurring in the area that we’re not able to get to,” the police chief said.
“I asked you to stand on that line. Day in and day out. To be pelted with projectiles. To be screamed at. Threatened, and in some cases hurt. Then to have a change of course nearly two weeks in. It seems like an insult to you and our community,” Best said, adding “ultimately, the city had other plans for the building” and caved to public pressure:
The police chief is now working on a plan to reopen the percent, noting that calls for service “have more than tripled.”
Carmen, in a Thursday video address to East Precinct officers, emphasized it was not her decision to abandon the precinct. Rather, it was the city that “relinquished to severe public pressure,” resulting in protesters — including Antifa members and self-described anarchists — setting up a six-block perimeter, CHAZ, around the area and deeming it a police-free, “autonomous” zone.
She wrapped up her brief message to officers by recognizing that they likely feel “underappreciated” but said, despite the noise, she believes “most” people in Seattle support the police department and its officers “even though they may not be the ones posting on social media.”