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Capitol Hill protest zone shifts out of Cal Anderson Park with remaining core of campers surrounding East Precinct — UPDATE

UPDATE: Daytime scenes from the camp’s return to 12th and Pine

Uncertainty gave way to a multiplicity of plans Tuesday night as the Capitol Hill protest zone camp cleared parts of its Cal Anderson Park core.

Some carried their tents across the turf Bobby Morris field to strengthen and continue the occupation around the emptied East Precinct and carry on with Black Lives Matter goals and calls for defunding the Seattle Police Department.

Some rallied around a reported plan to move to a new camp below the Space Needle for renewed energy — and attention.

Others broke camp and left the scene.

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The streets around the precinct remain protest-filled

If his Converge Media has become the CNN of CHOP, Omari Salisbury must be its… Anderson Cooper?

CHS found Capitol Hill community leaders touring the scene Wednesday. Chophouse Row developer Liz Dunn and Chris Persons of Community Roots Housing (formerly Capitol Hill Housing) were there and said they were supportive of the camp’s goals and not happy with Mayor Durkan and her police force’s handling of the situation around the precinct

Cal Anderson is not empty… yet

Community activist Andre Taylor has been encouraging campers to leave the scene. “You could take that idea around the country, and then around the world,” Taylor said Monday as a speaker in Mayor Durkan’s press conference. “Don’t minimize the idea of CHOP — don’t make it be a place.”

The scenes — broadcast live by Omari Salisbury and his Converge Media who have emerged as the grassroots CNN of the protest zone and in pictures and updates from the mix of apartment dwelling neighbors who have found themselves both part of the story and some of the key documentarians of the events in the camp — showed the first signs that the hopes of Mayor Jenny Durkan and SPD Chief Carmen Best that a “peaceful” approach emphasizing community groups and social service outreach could complete the winding down of the CHOP after the quick erosion that has followed a weekend of deadly gun violence and ongoing concerns about how Seattle Police and Seattle Fire are choosing to deploy resources in the zone.

Though general assembly meetings continue and the nightly march to the West Precinct happened again Tuesday night, many core elements cleared out in the midst of the shootings and safety worries with the dismantling of things like the sprawling No Cop Co-op and the exit of some of the camp’s key decision makers, and medical volunteers. The camp DJ was seen packing up Tuesday night.

Though individuals have emphasized the protest camp’s democratic, collective leadership, key organizers faced growing strain around the remaining campers including many without shelter who have chosen to join the occupation. Durkan said Monday night that homelessness and mental health outreach would be a key component of safely clearing the camp.

Chief Best has said SPD is preparing plans for reopening the East Precinct as quickly and as safely as possible but has provided no specific timeline. Durkan has said it would not be safe to reestablish the precinct by sending in police officers as a force to reclaim the headquarters. Community partners, she said, are being asked for help to reduce the camp and the number of protesters at the site while efforts at larger “systemic change” come in the 2020 budget. Wednesday, the Seattle City Council will take up the mayor’s proposed changes to the budget brought on by the COVID-19 crisis that includes belt-tightening across the board. She is proposing a $20 million cut to SPD — about a 5% slice. Protesters have been calling for cutting the budget in half. Meanwhile, Durkan has also promised increased social spending in Black and “marginalized communities” and at the state level where the mayor said she will push for legislative changes to address how the Seattle police union operates.

The city is also in talks with groups about creating a Black community space in Capitol Hill. First African Methodist Episcopal Church pastor Carey G. Anderson said he is offering up his 14th Ave church as a place for groups to meet to talk about the Black Lives Matter movement if needed.

With the protest camp as a center, weeks of Seattle protest effort has marked a handful of gains and promises from the city of ongoing talks with activists and community groups and a review of police crowd control tactics.

Since its formation in the exit of police from the East Precinct building and the barriers at 12th and Pine on June 8th, the camp was celebrated as a center of protest and also for its art and community even as there were reports open-carry enthusiasts joining the crowds and a regular presence of armed sentries posted around the area as part of camp security.

The city worked out a new layout plan with protesters to better open the area to traffic and emergency vehicles. The move shifted the camp’s focus into the park while the streets remained filled with barriers and arts. Meanwhile, there was growing unease about Seattle Police’s limited presence in the zone around 11th and Pine and Cal Anderson Park and growing criticism that the camp’s purpose of occupying the area and the “Seattle People’s Precinct” was overtaking greater Black Lives Matter goals.

There was also tragedy. Early Saturday, one man was killed in a shooting at 10th and Pine. 19-year-old Renton High student Lorenzo Anderson died in an incident that has become a flashpoint of controversy with police restricting their presence in the area following the emptying of the East Precinct headquarters and Seattle Fire’s limited abilities to respond without police presence.

Another victim from that deadly night was reportedly found shot at 11th and Pike. SPD reported the incidents Saturday as a single shooting and media outlets including CHS included that information in their reporting. KIRO’s Deborah Horne Tuesday reported new details of the second victim. The story details the victim’s account of a previously unreported second shooting perpetrated by group of men at 11th and Pike. “I’m not sure if they were Proud Boys or KKK,” DeJuan Young tells Horne:

SPD and Seattle Fire’s timeline of the night’s events accounts for Young as an unnamed second victim found at 11th and Pike but does not include details specifying a second shooting. In his interview with KIRO, Young says he was left unprotected because of SPD’s reluctance to enter the protest area. Video from Converge Media shows camp medics searching for and reportedly finding shell casings at 11th and Pike where Young says he was shot. Young also appears to have suffered injuries in a 2018 shooting.

The new revelation will add to concerns about the shootings and the death of the 19-year-old Anderson, an aspiring hip hop artist, who friends have said was targeted because of a personal beef.

Wednesday morning, a larger cluster of tents now has risen around the 12th and Pine precinct building that remains covered in plywood and graffiti amid the large cement barriers placed by the city to help maintain vehicle access through the area. Graffiti, tagging, and art covers everything including the park’s large Water Mountain feature and reservoir pumphouse. Area buildings and businesses will also face massive clean-up jobs ahead. The rainbow crosswalks are being cleaned and repaired by the city in preparation for Pride weekend — though most formal events have been moved online due to the pandemic. The camp’s night was full of rumors about the Space Needle move, a kidnapping, an imminent invasion by SPD forces, Proud Boys worries, and speculation about a visit from leaders of the Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County chapter that has been working closely with officials. There are fewer people but more worries at the camp as those who remain continue to try to win new gains by holding the space they occupy.

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55 thoughts on “Capitol Hill protest zone shifts out of Cal Anderson Park with remaining core of campers surrounding East Precinct — UPDATE” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Is anyone else sick of the irony?
    1) People want police defunded, but are demanding they clear the CHOP area. If their role is to enforce law and order, but the politicians aren’t wanting people arrested or charged why would we even send in the police. They should refuse.
    2) The CHOP protestors/occupiers surround, scream, throw things, follow, and threaten cops for even getting near the area. But now businesses, locals, and victims that are part of the CHOP area blame police and the city for its problems. Hmm how can they help if they aren’t allowed in.
    3) protesters across the US use hateful speech and violent actions against police, businesses, and press but it’s become completely acceptable and none of them seem to be summarily fires from their employees.
    4) CHOP camp leaders can’t seem to control the people and they are packing up and going home. So the people they blame for all the problems will have to come in clean up their mess.
    5) the community they are in is unable to effectively celebrate, provide learning opportunities, and advocate their needs during PRIDE month and it seems ok to either silence them or shame people for “not staying in the moment. We are a big country with lots of issues and no one should silenced.

    • There may be lawsuits from families of the dead and injured. Does CHOP have any idea of the devastating effect on these families?
      What do they intend to do for them?
      Who gets the bill for clean-up and repair/replacement/reconstruction etc after CHOP moves out. It seems fair that first $$$ from the proposed 20% pay cut of police dept should go to cover this massive project. Don’t forget destruction of police cars and equipment, the list goes on.

      • Didn’t Kshama Sawant release a statement saying, “Though we await confirmation of the details of the killing, there are indications that this may have been a right-wing attack” …

        But in this post “friends have said was targeted because of a personal beef.”

        So did the victim have beef with right-wingers? Or MAYBE Kshama Sawant should stop taking plays out of Trump’s book and wait for the facts before making statements to inflame her most ardent supporters.

      • Sawant did walk back her initial comments about the right-wing, but she did NOT apologize for her irresponsible claim. Typical.

  2. The remaining protesters/agitators surrounding the precinct will get cleared out. They have squandered any real goodwill of the community and its residents and small businesses. They have muddied any message they were ever trying to convey. But they will insist on making a scene and getting arrested. Occupy degenerated into a shit show and so has this. But they want their sympathetic media coverage as the rest of the area can’t get rid of them fast enough.

  3. So… not much has changed and now the park is destroyed. Thanks everybody. So many positive changes. Go destroy the Space Needle, not a park in a neighborhood where the community comes together.

    • I was hopeful after seeing this and recent news but went by today (Wed) around 5pm and it’s still packed and active. Whole area is high-traffic and there was group brawl centered around two angry shirtless junkies with many people screaming in front of 12th Ave Arts. Every surface of everything is covered in paint and garbage with people clearly not planning on going anywhere and entrenched installations. I’ve lived here 15 years and if you dropped me in the middle of the park I wouldn’t have recognized where I was.

      • TBH, I’m surprised this current influx of tents at Cal Anderson didn’t happen waaay earlier, what with Sawant’s stance against the Nav Team, homeless sweeps, etc. So will Sawant block any attempts to sweep the tents at CA? Will tiny houses arise in their place? Will CA be declared a “sanctuary park” for homeless-experiencers? Stay tuned…

    • It didn’t seem all that different to me at noon today. The north end seemed to have a few less tents, the rest seemed roughly the same.

      Yesterday evening I saw a couple of people packing up tents. Today at noon there were a couple of cars being loaded with camping gear, I assume to leave (at the north end of the play field).

      Seemed like fewer people walking around, but overall not too different from previous days. There was definitely more trash lying around, perhaps because there are fewer people to pick it up.

      • Looks like there’s been an effort, as of this evening, to spread the tents out across the park. The previously empty area in the middle now has tents placed at regular intervals.

  4. Everybody wants to de-fund the police and replace it with programs like “Restorative Justice.” CHOP should be the ones cleaning up Cal Anderson Park. Restore the memorial park back to its original condition as an example and an act of goodwill towards the community…vandalism and defacing public property is a crime.

    • Irresponsible young people are angry because they’re being told not to draw on the walls and to clean up after themselves. So they post their tantrums here because they can remain anonymous.

    • Can you blame them? You’re a degenerate. You don’t work and want free rent. You’re a net liability on society, which is why you lash out at people who are productive and create wealth.

    • Also some of us are renters who work crappy jobs that we can’t get enough sleep for due to the encampments and 24 hour festival.

      Good job pissing off working class liberal people who might otherwise be sympathetic to you.

    • Your comment is BS. No one, including homeowners, is concerned about “property values.” But we are concerned and angry about the extreme trashing of our neighborhood by those who have nothing better to do.

      • Money is a made up human concept that only has value because idiot humans put value on it.

        It’s like humans and god.

        Society can be different if enough people want change.

  5. Yes this is messy but police brutality is worse. Poverty and hunger is worse. No place to live is worse. Fascism is worse. So we can complain about the noise and inconvenience of uprisings.

    Do we want to tolerate austerity, inequality and racism?

    I can never tolerate it. The status quo is killing most of us.

    Who maintains it? The police, the mayor, the corporate rich.
    Ordinary people cannot trust them for a second thats one reason to rise up.

      • Actually, the message is quite loud and clear — that this disorganized, chaotic mess is exactly what a world without police would look like. But hey, at least it’s not the status quo. Enjoy.

      • “Actually, the message is quite loud and clear — that this disorganized, chaotic mess is exactly what a world without police would look like. But hey, at least it’s not the status quo. Enjoy.”

        — Totally.

      • The message is loud and clear.

        You have a big group of random people down there. So won’t be seamless.

        Just appreciate that we as a society are having a revolution on how we treat our fellow human beings and we are all be forced to pay attention.

      • I’d like to know how this “revolution” plans to bring last weekend’s shooter(s) and would-be rapist of fellow human beings to justice.

  6. The race riots of the 50’s and 60’s wasn’t easy for anyone.
    The women’s movement of the 70’s wasn’t easy for anyone.

    People protesting in Seattle is not easy for anyone. Its inconvenient but necessary.

    Those that want them to leave because it makes you uncomfortable? Well good. If it makes you uncomfortable, then you have to listen. Agree or disagree its not going away until change happens.

    I’m sorry your privilege gives you the space to be con comfortable about the protestors when the people they are protesting for have been uncomfortable for their whole lives!!!

    Self entitled a-holes wanting them to leave!

    • I’m not sure how a bunch of people throwing loud concerts at night in Cal Anderson Park is making change happen — other than alienating the voting community that needs to support the change?

      Speaking as a former & trained community organizer — this sounds like tactics without a strategy.

    • If anyone should be uncomfortable, it should be CHOP, as they ambivalently allow the mentally-ill, druggies, gang-bangers, and various uncontrollables to “represent” their disastrous cop-free “utopia” to the world on their behalf. What an embarrassment.

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