Several people were arrested last Wednesday as Seattle Police dispersed protesters in Seattle's Capitol Hill Occupation Protest, known as the CHOP area after an emergency order by Mayor Jenny Durkan to have it removed. It was reopened Friday at 12:30 pm. According to police, 44 were arrested Wednesday and 25 more on Thursday for failure to disperse, obstruction, assault and unlawful weapon possession.
Durkan issued an executive order June 30 in response to "reported life safety, public health and property issues" in and around the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park area, which protesters occupied since early June and has been marred by a series of shootings.
According to Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, the damage there is "absolutely devastating" and was "just stunned by the number of the amount of graffiti, garbage and property destruction." Hundreds of police officers worked afterward to clean up the damage and mess.
Thousands of protesters have occupied the six-block area (originally called CHAZ) in an effort to demand police reform following the police murder of George Floyd. However, there were five shootings (two fatal) in the area during the past two weeks. What started out with good intentions quickly turned ugly with violence, vandalism, noise, and lewd conduct in the tenant area.
A 35-to-40 person crew from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) removed traffic control, concrete barriers and changed the traffic pattern back to the original version. The SDOT is also working with CHOP artists to secure artwork and take it off site. The city is not taking ownership of the artwork, but trying to find a way to preserve, protect and repurpose it.
Five of CHOP's 30 demands to Seattle were the abolishment of the police department, free college, socialized health care, desegregation, and retrials for all people of color in prison for a violent crime.