Seattle, WA – Seattle leaders announced Monday that they would be dismantling the city’s “autonomous zone” after at least three people were shot in the area over the weekend.
However, actually accomplishing this may be difficult 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,” Mayor Jenny Durkan announced, according to Fox News. “The impacts have increased and the safety has decreased.”
At 17 year old was the lasted shooting victim in the area Sunday night.
Seattle Fire Department Spokesman David Cuerpo said medics responded to the scene near Olive and 12th Avenue at about 11 p.m., KOMO reported.
But when medics arrived at a pickup point just outside the perimeter of the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), recently renamed the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), Seattle police advised them that the gunshot victim had been transported to Harborview Medical Center by car.
Harborview Medical Center Spokesperson Susan Gregg confirmed the hospital had received a 17-year-old male gunshot victim in serious condition, but on Monday morning said he had been treated and released, KOMO reported.
Seattle police told the Seattle Times they had heard reports of a second shooting on Sunday night but had not been able to confirm it with the conflicting information provided.
One person was fatally shot and another was critically wounded on Saturday night inside the CHAZ/CHOP.
Seattle Police Department released bodycam video that showed a mob of people blocking officers who responded to that shooting early on Saturday morning.
The incident occurred in the area of 10th Avenue and East Pine Street at around 2:30 a.m. on June 20, according to Seattle Police Department.
East precinct officers responded to a report of shots fired at Cal Anderson Park.
Once officers arrived, they were met by a “violent” mob who prevented officers from accessing the victims, according to police.
The officers later learned that the shooting victims have been transported to the hospital by CHOP community “medics.”
There are no qualifications required to declare yourself a medic in the CHOP.
When police arrived at Harborview Medical Center, they discovered a 19-year-old male shooting victim was deceased, according to police.
A second male shooting victim was in critical condition.
The suspect or suspects escaped after the shooting.
There is no description of the shooter(s) and people in the CHOP are not cooperating with authorities.
Raz Simone, who has stood out as a leader in the CHOP, posted a video to Facebook after the incident.
“Medics refused to help even after my people in the CHOP begged. They let a man bleed out for 30 minutes till he died. [F–k] politics. [F–k] your corrupt system,” Simone captioned with the video.
Simone made his video as officers were actively being blocked by the people in the CHOP.
The Seattle Fire Department said that medics and officers arrived to enter the CHOP within eight minutes, but medics were prevented from responding due to the hostile mob.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has repeatedly defended the CHOP as a peaceful protest and said that it could continue indefinitely and be the “summer of love.”
But Durkan walked back those comments in an interview on Thursday, before the gun violence began in the police-free zone, KCPQ reported.
“I clearly said that in jest, it probably was not the smart thing to do,” the mayor said. “It was not the best choice of words, but immediately after that, I clarified and qualified it.”
She has complained that her remarks were taken out of context, KCPQ reported.
Seattle Police Officers Guild Michael Solan told FOX News that it appeared to be more like the “summer of chaos.
“Early this morning, that violence was raw and real where one of our community members lost their life and police are still not allowed into that area and were prevented to providing that police service to the area to locate victors and/or render aid. [It’s] very troubling what’s going on,” Solan told FOX News.
“It can’t stand in America, and this is a direct result of city leadership, elected officials failing the reasonable community of Seattle to enforce the rule of law. And, this just isn’t the area occupied in a six-block zone where police are still forbidden and still don’t have their East precinct. This is now impacting our entire city,” Solan said.
If the city ever gets the will to clear out the CHOP, doing so will be especially difficult after city leaders voted to ban Seattle police officers from possessing crowd control weapons.
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 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.”