The City of Seattle is being threatened with a class action lawsuit brought by a collection of Capitol Hill real estate companies and developers, and a small group of 12th Ave businesses over Mayor Jenny Durkan and the Seattle Police Department’s response to the Capitol Hill protest zone, calling the situation “a perpetual block party.”
“This is not a step our clients have taken lightly,” lawyers at the firm Calfo Eakes write in a press release on the lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court. “The rights of free speech and assembly are enshrined in our constitutional tradition, and our clients support protesters’ right to bring issues such as systemic racism and police brutality towards African Americans to the forefront of the national consciousness.”
The legal action comes as the size and scale of the protest zone has consolidated around 12th and Pine’s emptied East Precinct building after a weekend of deadly gun violence and a push from Durkan and SPD Chief Carmen Best to bring the occupied protest to an end “peacefully and in the near future” through community outreach and social services, not marching SPD officers into the zone in riot gear.
The firm says its clients “stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the thousands upon thousands of people in Seattle who have peacefully protested” but “the City should not allow the right to peacefully protest and demand systemic change to manifest itself in acts of violence, harassment, and property damage, which has caused residents and small businesses to incur tremendous economic loss and instilled in them a fear to live and work in a neighborhood many moved to because of its history of activism, diversity, inclusion, and community-led investment.”
The class action lawsuit includes a complainant list made up of many of the Capitol Hill-focused and local developers and real estate investment companies that hold properties on the edges of the protest zone that has been the center of demonstrations and an occupied protest camp for weeks. Continue reading