Seattle, WA – A fourth person was shot on the edge of Seattle’s occupied zone early on Tuesday morning, just hours after Mayor Jenny Durkan announced that the city would begin taking back the police department’s East Precinct and the area around it.
The shooting occurred at about 5 a.m. on June 23 at the edge of the cop-free zone of the Capital Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), formerly the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), at 11th Avenue East and East Denny Way in the northeast corner of Cal Anderson Park, KUOW reported.
The victim, a 33-year-old man, was transported to Harborview Medical Center by Seattle Medic One.
The medical center confirmed they had received a gunshot victim in non-life threatening condition, KUOW reported.
It was the third shooting incident in the CHOP in four days, and the wounded man was the cop-free zone’s fourth gunshot victim.
A 19 year old was killed on Saturday night and a 17 year old was seriously wounded on Sunday night.
For the first two shootings, the victims were transported to the hospital in private vehicles because armed protesters at the barricaded perimeter of the CHOP refused to allow Seattle police access to secure the scene for an ambulance, according to KUOW.
The mayor and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announced at a press conference on Monday that they would be dismantling the city’s “autonomous zone” after the bloody weekend in what Durkan had dubbed the city’s “summer of love.”
Durkan asked community leaders to spread the message that it was time to clear out to the people camping out in the six blocks surrounding the East Precinct, KOMO reported.
The mayor’s office has been swamped by a deluge of complaints from residents and business owners whose lives have been upended by the restricted access to the area barricaded off and guarded by armed protesters.
Durkan said she didn’t want to have to use police to tear down the CHOP, KOMO reported.
But video posted to social media showed that as of early Tuesday morning, protesters had begun moving concrete barriers place around the East Precinct by the Seattle Department of Transportation and used them to block additional streets, effectively annexing more territory for the cop-free, autonomous zone.
Neighbor just sent me this video showing #CHOP protestors using a truck to haul concrete barriers away from the front of the East Precinct where SDOT originally put them. They’re now blocking Pine Street @komonews #komonews pic.twitter.com/UaBRttWHc4
— Tammy Mutasa (@TammyKOMO) June 23, 2020
Actually shutting down the CHOP may be difficult to accomplish after the city banned police officers from possessing crowd-control weapons.
“The cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the nighttime atmosphere and violence has led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents,” the mayor announced, according to FOX News. “The impacts have increased and the safety has decreased.”
The city council ban prohibits police officer possession of blast balls, “foam-tipped projectiles,” flash-bang grenades or CS tear gas, regardless of the situation, the Seattle Patch reported.
Water cannons, various acoustic devices, and other weapons capable of causing discomfort or pain to a group of people are also included in the bill.
The ban also includes the use OC pepper spray on crowds, but officers would be permitted to use the spray if they catch someone in the middle of committing a crime or if a suspect is “presenting an imminent danger to others,” as long as no bystanders are exposed when it is deployed, the Seattle Patch reported.
Some of the people within CHOP are openly carrying firearms.
Socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who sponsored the bills, said that the measures are the “absolute bare minimum” actions the council could take as they work to defund the Seattle Police Department (SPD), according to the Seattle Patch.
Councilmember Lisa Herbold originally attempted to amend the bill by limiting the ban to crowd dispersal only, but the modification was shot down after Sawant and protesters denounced it.
“Passing legislation is not going to be enough, but yet it is crucially important for the movement to hold elected officials accountable,” Sawant told the Seattle Patch. “It is about not allowing police to have possession of these weapons, and that is related to the fact that we cannot trust them.”
Neighbors said that whatever it takes for the city to close down the CHOP, it’s time to do it, KOMO reported.
Kelly Forsythe, who lives by Cal Anderson Park, said he woke up to gunfire on Tuesday morning.
“I went to check the ground there was a lot of things crushed and there was basically three giant piles of really thick blood,” Forsythe told KOMO. “When there’s blood on the streets, there needs to be some respect. That’s the problem here, we’ve got blood on our streets now and it’s happening every day and it’s not stopping and I don’t see it stopping.”
“It’s just been a pressure cooker for 13 days. An endless pressure cooker – it needs to be cleaned up,” he added.