Police Retake Seattle's CHOP Zone, Arrest Multiple Protesters: 'Enough is Enough'
Police Chief Carmen Best clears leftist-held area following Mayor Durkan's orders
Police in Seattle have finally moved into the leftist activist-held Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone and reclaimed the area, according to reports.
SPD Chief Carmen Best sent armed forces into the zone, arresting multiple protesters, telling the public that "enough is enough."
The department has now retaken control of their East Precinct after it was seized by far-left activists last month.
After clearing out the protest area known as CHOP, police made more than a dozen arrests.
Mayor Jenny Durkan eventually gave the order to clear the area and declared the gathering an unlawful assembly.
Ironically, after previously cheering on the activists when they occupied the downtown neighborhood of the city, away from her mansion, Durkan appeared to change her tune when protesters turned up outside her own home, at which point the mayor said they "put families and children at risk."
Police issued the order to disperse around 5 a.m. local time Wednesday, telling protesters to leave within eight minutes.
At least 13 protesters were arrested for failing to clear the area after multiple warnings, police said.
The East Precinct, which police abandoned last month following standoffs and clashes with demonstrators, was cleared of protesters, Police Chief Carmen Best told reporters from inside CHOP.
Best said police were not moving into the building yet but would clean the area and precinct before beginning operations as soon as reasonably possible.
As officers in riot gear performed the predawn sweep to clear holdouts from the streets, police said a woman apparently went into labor on the east side of Cal Anderson Park inside the CHOP.
Seattle Fire said it was responding to the scene.
Police also investigated several vehicles circling the CHOP zone after officers saw people inside them carrying firearms and wearing body armor.
The vehicles had no visible license plates, police said.
Durkan’s executive order comes after a series of late-night shootings in the area killed two teenagers and seriously wounded three other people.
Police said other violent crimes have also been documented in the area since demonstrators took over several blocks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood last month.
Officers enforcing today's order are wearing a higher-level of protective gear. Police are utilizing this equipment because individuals associated w/the CHOP are known to be armed and dangerous/may be associated with shootings, homicides, robberies, assaults &other violent crimes— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) July 1, 2020
“Officers enforcing today's order are wearing a higher-level of protective gear,” police said.
“Police are utilizing this equipment because individuals associated w/the CHOP are known to be armed and dangerous/may be associated with shootings, homicides, robberies, assaults & other violent crimes.”
Best said that while she supports peaceful demonstrations, “enough is enough.”
“The CHOP has become lawless and brutal,” Best said in a statement.
“Four shootings – two fatal – robberies, assaults, violence, and countless property crimes have occurred in this several block area.”
Chief Best's statement on enforcement of Mayor Durkan's executive order: pic.twitter.com/PqNLTyAx4Q— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) July 1, 2020
She said that it was the job of police officers to protect and serve the community, adding that the clearing of the protest would not mark an end to the department’s engagement with protesters.
“We must continue our efforts to build trust and redefine our roles as guardians in our city,” Best said.
Some protesters have erected A small trash barricade while others stand between it and police. A protester with a megaphone—Rick Hearns, a private security guard in normal life—is standing firm, but urging everyone to stay calm. pic.twitter.com/iCVupDnc7q— brendankiley (@brendankiley) July 1, 2020
Demonstrators have occupied several blocks around a park and the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct for about two weeks.
Police abandoned the building following standoffs and clashes with protesters who demanded racial justice and an end to police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in May.
Protesters have said they should not be blamed for the violence in the area.
There have been increasing calls by critics, including President Trump, to remove protesters from the CHOP zone following the fatal shootings.
The action comes a day after the Seattle Department of Transportation crews used heavy machinery to remove concrete barriers marking the entrance to the protest area.