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‘Failures to act’ — City of Seattle sued over death of teen gunned down at CHOP

A tribute being left to Lorenzo Anderson — Lil Mob — last June

A federal lawsuit has been filed against the City of Seattle on behalf of the mother of Lorenzo Anderson, the 19-year-old shot and killed last June at 10th and Pine on the edge of the CHOP protest area.

“The City had no effective plan for providing police protection, fire protection, or other emergency services into the surrendered area,” the federal civil rights suit alleges, accusing the city and Seattle Police of “failures to act, including abandoning the SPD East Precinct and CHOP.”

Prosecutors say 18-year-old Marcel Long shot and killed Anderson at 10th and Pine in a fracas after what witnesses said was a night of gambling and fireworks around CHOP which had been formed for just over a week. Long has been charged but remains at large.

In the federal lawsuit brought by the Herrmann Law Group on behalf of Anderson’s mother Donnitta Sinclair, the appellants allege the city violated 14th Amendment due process rights and is negligent in Anderson’s death.

“By abandoning CHOP and approving a ‘no-cop’ zone where police only entered CHOP in the event of ‘life-threatening’ crimes, and sometimes not even then, the City created a danger,” the legal team writes. “Violence was foreseeable, but no working response was prepared.”

Sinclair talked with Converge Media about his death and her call for justice in the weeks following his murder.

Weeks earlier, on Friday, May 29thprotests began in Seattle after the police killing of George Floyd as thousands marched and demonstrated. Windows were smashed at Capitol Hill’s Amazon grocery and Ferrari dealership and seven arrests were reported. As the protests grew through the city, on Wednesday, June 3rd a “Defund Seattle Police” rally began in Cal Anderson after a battle of tear gas and blast balls as police moved on demonstrators and National Guard troops joined the lines with police outside the East Precinct. The next day, the city began bowing to protest demands, lifting its curfew as demonstrations continued.

Cal Anderson continued to grow as a center of the ongoing protests and a battle line emerged at 11th and Pine. Clashes continued and on Saturday, June 6th Seattle City Council members joined the protestSunday, after the mayor’s speech on deescalation of the ongoing protest clashes between demonstrators and police, SPD responded with its strongest show of force yet in the “standoff” at 11th and Pine. That Sunday night, a man drives into the crowd at 11th and Pine and shoots a demonstrator. Nikolas Fernandez, the brother of an East Precinct cop, was arrested and charged with one count of first degree assault.

On Monday, June 8thmoving trucks arrived at the East Precinct as city officials said there were credible threats of arson targeting the building identified by the FBI.

On Tuesday, June 9ththe Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone formed around an emptied East Precinct. In the beginning, days of protest, rallies, marches, and art followed.

It is still unknown who, exactly, ordered the precinct emptied starting the cascade of actions that resulted in police standing down in responses in the CHOP area through June.

Young people like Anderson, remembered as a student at Renton High with hopes of a hip hop career, were drawn to the protest area after “Mayor Jenny Durkan spun CHOP as a ‘block party’ and ‘summer of love,’ suggesting a visit would be fun and safe,” the lawsuit alleges.

District 3 representative Kshama Sawant is also called out as the Seattle City Councilmember “continually framed CHOP as a ‘peaceful occupation’ even after known violence.”

But, worse, the lawyers say, City of Seattle first responders weren’t there to help save Anderson’s life after he was shot:

With no assistance in sight from SPD or SFD, CHOP participants carried Anderson to the nearby Rancho Bravo “medical tent” on East Pine Street. He had a pulse when they laid him down on a table. An SFD Medic One ambulance was standing by about a block and a half away from where Anderson lay bleeding. Video circulating on social media shows a man imploring the medics to help Anderson. “You could be saving his life. You could be saving his life right now. Sir, please, explain to me what’s going on. He’s dying. He needs your help….” One of the medical responders says into his radio, “We have a number of citizens who want us into the location. I just want to make sure we’re not cleared to move into the location.”

KUOW reported here on the miscommunication and mistakes that delayed Seattle Police and Seattle Fire the night of the deadly shooting.

In the lawsuit, even Mayor Durkan’s efforts to eventually sweep the area and clear the zone on July 1st are used against her and the city.

“On July 1, the Mayor issued an executive order to retake the SPD precinct and CHOP,” the lawsuit reads. “In the process, there was no significant violence or serious resistance This confirms what common sense suggests: the City could have and should have retaken the area and restored public safety before the murder of Anderson.

The newly filed lawsuit provides a dark summation of the protest zone. “In the course of nine days in CHOP, there were two homicides and several shootings, as well as other crimes such as robbery and sexual assault,” it reads.

In addition to Anderson’s June 20th slaying, a second night of fatal gun violence followed nine days later in a deadly shooting that left 16-year-old Antonio Mays, Jr. dead in a bullet-riddled jeep and sent a 14-year-old boy riding with him to the hospital. CHS is not aware of any litigation currently underway regarding the June 29th homicide.

The new lawsuit filed Thursday joins another major federal case proceeding against the city that alleges Seattle leaders also violated the rights of a collection of Capitol Hill property owners and businesses in the area of the CHOP camp. It includes developers Hunters CapitalRedside Partners and Madrona Real Estate, businesses Cafe ArgentoNorthwest LiquorBergman’s Lock and Key, Car Tender, Richmark Label, Sway and Cake, Rancho Bravo, and Cure, and property owners including Onyx Homeowners Association as well as a handful of individual residents.

The lawsuit over Lorenzo Anderson’s death also seeks compensatory and punitive damages.


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Dumbledore
Dumbledore
7 days ago

They DON’T want cops around them but then accuse the cops & city of negligence when they get what they wanted and something bad happens as a result. So, which is it? You hate the cops? You don’t want them anywhere around you or in your hood? You want them to leave you alone to do whatever you want, whenever you want? You want to accuse them of racism and an over abundance of violence?
Or do you want & need their protection & assistance, but ONLY in the EXACT WAY & MANNER in which you deem fit, even though they’re not mind readers and have no clue of how picky, snide, sarcastic & vengeful of a person you are when they’re around? Do you treat everyone in your life the way you treat the people you expect to save you in emergencies or felonious altercations & events? Or just cops?
Or do you just want their money now because your little plan to take a section of the city hostage backfired on you & people died & that’s not how it was supposed to go? I’m so sick of demanding, hypocritical, entitled, snobby ass crybabies that are so selfish they can’t see past the end of the nose on their face because that’s where their world stops. Inside that little bubble is all these people see & know. Only what affects them, or what they perceive to believe affects them. And most of the time it’s either fake news or gossip & rumors that get all this hood rat noise started, but none of that matters because it’s not about the truth anymore. It’s about what you can get out of the situation that it creates. And there’s plenty of things to grab once the elite, powerful, & upper middle class get nervous, scared & start to bow to pressure. There’s all kinds of stuff to grab & run with like an animal with roadkill.
Lucky you, huh? You’ll probly end up with millions from this. And it only cost the rest of us days on end of worry, fear, our local police dept, the inability to walk safely in our neighborhood or go to the store, countless nights laying awake listening to gunfire, riots, arson, looting, fighting, and all because you felt you were being unjustly targeted by the very people you now want to hold accountable for not saving just ONE of the people who helped to start & perpetuate this insane criminal activity that ended up costing him his life? What did you think would happen in all of this? That you’d walk away a millionaire with everything you ever wanted? I hope they find you negligible for allowing him to go there in the first place. YOUR HIS PARENT! YOUR RESPONSIBLE FOR HIM! NOT THE CITY!

Kona
Kona
7 days ago
Reply to  Dumbledore

Yeah, no one believes karma is real, that ultimately you do have control over your actions and they ultimately do control the outcomes.

Moving On
Moving On
6 days ago
Reply to  Dumbledore

Show some respect, this family’s child died.

And here’s the thing – he was 19 years old. Maybe he didn’t use the best judgement, I have no idea. I certainly don’t think the organizers of CHOP or the responsible adults who run our City used their good judgment, but was this kid even a part of any of that? Was his family even a part of that? Or was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time, surrounded by a lot of negligent adults who knew (or should know) better?

I feel your anger, but I think it’s being misdirected here.

Lola
Lola
6 days ago
Reply to  Dumbledore

The way you use “you” in this comment is confusing. Clearly the plaintiffs were not doing the things you mention. I don’t know if the person shot was doing them, either. He was just present. Who is this amorphous entity you call “you”?

CHOP accountability
CHOP accountability
7 days ago

The families of the victims of the CHOP debacle should be compensated for the city’s negligent in creating a power vacuum. Our elected officials lit a match then walked away and let our neighborhood burn for political theatre. They should personally be held liable.

Derek
Derek
6 days ago

What’s funny is the cops continued allowing murders and crimes all over the city before, during, and after but yes, let’s focus on something that wasn’t “CHOP’s” fault but just some individuals. Like anything.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
5 days ago
Reply to  Derek

Bull pucky – there was nowhere else in the city that there were 6 people shot over the course of 10 days in a several block area…

Derek
Derek
5 days ago
Reply to  CD Neighbor

Bull back at you. Goal post moving!

Right wing counter-CHOP violence and already-in-place gang violence is not CHOP’s fault or proof of anything related to CHOP. Gang violence is a regular occurrence in CD, Atlantic, and RB holds but you ain’t about that.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
4 days ago
Reply to  Derek

Need I remind you that two of those shootings were done by CHOP “security”….

And yes the rest were directly related to, if nothing else, the perception that it was a free for all, whether or not they had other causes. They may possibly have had to do with longer standing arguments, but happened then and there because the people who carried them out felt they could and get away with it. Of course shootings weren’t the only problems. There were assaults, sexual assaults, theft, neighboring residents were intimidated/threatened and plenty of property damage.

RWK
RWK
6 days ago

I’m not so sure this lawsuit is justifiable……it strikes me as a money grab on the part of Lorenzo’s family. There was a legitimate safety risk at that point for medics to enter the CHOP zone, with all of its hate and hostility. However, I agree that the City (Mayor Durkan) should have acted much sooner to end CHOP, as this would have prevented this murder and also the other consequences of the CHOP occupation.

Derek
Derek
6 days ago
Reply to  RWK

CHOP wasn’t full of hate. It was the exact opposite. I never felt unsafe there…

Nope
Nope
6 days ago
Reply to  Derek

The multiple shootings and murders in the short period of time would say otherwise.

Derek
Derek
6 days ago
Reply to  Nope

That’s not hate. That’s just someone dumb being dumb and they should fully be prosecuted. But acting like CHOP should be whittled down to one moment is silly beyond repair.

Derek
Derek
6 days ago
Reply to  Nope

Multiple shootings, including killings by cops via gun or their vehicle have happened before, during, and since CHOP. So this logic doesn’t really work.

Edward
Edward
6 days ago
Reply to  Derek

Derek are you really saying CHOP was no different than the rest of the city (or that specific area pre-CHOP) in regards to violent crime?

Opinions like that are why no one can take you seriously.

Tom
Tom
6 days ago
Reply to  Nope

Then no big cities are “safe.” A town with 100 people is very safe.

Moving On
Moving On
6 days ago
Reply to  Derek

That’s pretty weird Derek, because several people died and more were injured.

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
6 days ago
Reply to  Derek

And this is why utopian societies always fail…. it took about a few hours for it to turn into Lord of the Flies while the true believers sat back and deluded themselves into only seeing the parts they wanted to see. To some it was all free food, community gardening, and poetry slams and the murders, assaults, robberies and sexual assaults never happened.

Mimi
Mimi
6 days ago
Reply to  Derek

You’re pro-CHOP by anti-dog? GTFO.

Derek
Derek
6 days ago
Reply to  Mimi

Anti Cal Anderson dog park is not “anti-dog,” what’s up with the bad faith stuff on the comments section lately?

Moving On
Moving On
6 days ago
Reply to  RWK

Disagree. The City was clearly negligent. This family lost their child, the money won’t bring him back, but perhaps the lawsuit will encourage more responsible behavior from the City in the future.

RWK
RWK
5 days ago
Reply to  Moving On

When a family loses a relative to gun violence, and decides to sue, they almost always say it’s because “we don’t want this to happen to anyone else.” At the same time they often say that no amount of money will make up for their loss. Sorry, I don’t buy it. As usual, it’s all about the money.

Long Time Resident
Long Time Resident
6 days ago

Our neighborhood was destroyed so communities of color would have less police. Flyers still claim there should be no police at all. Chief Diaz stated this week that every section of the city had slower 911 response time, except the south district. These southern areas are highly populated by communities of color and police should be staying out of them. Otherwise, we aren’t supporting the demands of BLM that have cost so many of us so much. Victims should be suing BLM not the City if they don’t like their demands.

Derek
Derek
6 days ago

lol so now it’s black people’s fault you can’t call 911 because you saw a widdle needle in the park? GTFO. How many more children have to die in the hands of police for you guys to start to get it?

Nope
Nope
6 days ago
Reply to  Derek

Which kids are you talking about?

Kai
Kai
6 days ago
Reply to  Derek

Well, that exactly what happened, not sure how that can be disputed.

Mimi
Mimi
6 days ago

Was this killing gang related?

chaz.neighbor
chaz.neighbor
6 days ago
Reply to  Mimi

Seems that way. For a few days after the shooting, a mini van was parked at the intersection of Pine and Nagle guarding the shrine with guys swinging around an AK-47.

The CHOP apologists seem to overlook this kind of stuff.

Derek
Derek
5 days ago
Reply to  chaz.neighbor

Newsflash: gangs exist in non-CHAZ world with shootings daily in Seattle. Also cops and gangs carry those kinds of weapons before and after CHAZ. You’re reaching.

csy
csy
4 days ago
Reply to  Derek

Reminds me of the words from that song by “The Who”:

“Meet the new boss…..same as the old boss….”

Chaz Neighbor
Chaz Neighbor
4 days ago
Reply to  Derek

Hardly. And when I say intersection, I’m mean in broad daylight, middle of Pine Street, in front of HR Block.

The only reaching here D., is your attempts at normalizing.

Whichever
Whichever
6 days ago

The ‘demand for jury trial’ should tell you everything you need to know. It’s a hunt for some cash.

Jack
Jack
5 days ago
Reply to  Whichever

That’s what all of these movements are about at the end of the day, money.

Derek
Derek
5 days ago
Reply to  Jack

You’re tone deaf. I’m pretty sure the thousands who march in protest to police violence aren’t all expecting a payout. Might be that they’re tired of cops killing people over their skin color. This is an awful comment.

csy
csy
6 days ago

Is this in addition to the <a href=”https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/father-of-man-killed-inside-seattles-chop-zone-files-3-billion-in-claims-against-city-county-state/281-54f55ebf-49d9-4691-b559-907213a95696″>$3 billion lawsuit</a> filed in Aug 2020?

csy
csy
6 days ago
Reply to  csy
not-gni-ffub
not-gni-ffub
5 days ago

Hello,

So, being how there is no shortage of hyperbole around CHOP, maybe we should look at actual statistics in the East Precinct / Capitol Hill area (see: https://www.seattle.gov/police/information-and-data/crime-dashboard).

My quick tabulations for East Precinct / Capitol Hill (hopefully, no egregious errors):

  • 2020 listed 4 Homicides (Murder & Nonnegligent Manslaughter)
  • 2019 (well before CHOP) listed 3
  • The average homicide rate/year (including years w/o homicide) in the same area from 2008-2020 is 1.2
  • From 2008-2019 is 1
  • The average homicide rate/year (excluding years w/o homicide) in the same area from 2008-2020 is 1.6
  • From 2008-2019 is 1.3

If you measure for the entire East Precinct:

  • 2020 listed 12 Homicides
  • 2019 listed 5
  • The average homicide rate/year (no year w/o homicide) from 2008-2020 is 4.9
  • The average homicide rate/year (no year w/o homicide) from 2008-2019 is 4.2

To be sure, one homicide is one too many…and the jump from 5 in 2019 to 12 in 2020 for the entire E Precinct is horrible.

But can this be blamed on CHOP? The Pandemic?

For another comparison, we can look at the homicide rates for just 2008 and 2009 (the last really bad economic recession). Both years posted 7 homicides each across the entire E Precinct.

I am not trying to paint CHOP (as opposed to the BLM movement) one-way-or-the-other, but we need to put things in a more accurate context. 

Whichever
Whichever
4 days ago
Reply to  not-gni-ffub

The effects of the whole eliminate the SPD movement are felt far beyond CHOP’s former borders.

csy
csy
4 days ago
Reply to  not-gni-ffub

Can’t help but wonder what the numbers might’ve been had CHOP been allowed to exist cop-free for *rest of 2020*, instead of just 3 weeks in June. I suspect a lot more Antonio Mays Jr’s at the hands of CHOP “security”….

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/everybody-down-what-happened-at-the-chop-shooting-that-killed-a-teenager-and-led-to-the-areas-shutdown/

Chaz Neighbor
Chaz Neighbor
4 days ago
Reply to  not-gni-ffub

Well, living directly across the street from Cal Anderson, living with and watching the CHOP from my living every day, the Anderson and Mays murders are directly tied to CHOP.

I had excellent vantage of the events on Juneteenth right up to the Mays murder.

And CHOP “security” murdered Anderson. Now that’s a fact.

Derek
Derek
3 days ago
Reply to  Chaz Neighbor

Oh booohoo. Sorry houseless and community coming together over the trauma of police brutality got in the way of your precious $4000 a month condo lifestyle. Cry me a river.

chaz.neighbor
chaz.neighbor
3 days ago
Reply to  Derek

And now you’re moving the goal posts to the houseless and “community.”

You lecturing me on community is absurd considering how casual your words are regarding the lives lost, and those hurt, during CHOP.