‘They’re kids’ — 19-year-old remembered in the aftermath of Capitol Hill protest zone shooting

A memorial to AndersonThe 19-year-old shot and killed at the corner of 10th and Pine early Saturday morning has been identified by friends and loved ones as Lorenzo Anderson.

While his killing became an international story amid Seattle’s ongoing Black Lives Matter demonstrations and the protest camp that has grown on Capitol Hill, those that knew Anderson saw a different sort of tragedy than the versions being spun for political ends Saturday.

“They’re kids,” Renton High School dean of students and head basketball coach Rashaad Powell tells CHS. “This is my tenth year as an educator. Over the course of 10 years, there have been double digits of young people we lost.” Continue reading

Police and crowd control tactics left the scene, but residents near Capitol Hill protest zone contend with ongoing occupancy

Residents living in apartment buildings in and around the Capitol Hill protest zone are voicing ongoing concerns about demonstrators staging in the area, and increasingly drawing a distinction between current occupancy and the protesting against police brutality and inequality that has take place in Seattle since the end of May.

In the midst of the standoff between protestors and police guarding the East Precinct that let up June 8, residents of buildings like 11th and Pine’s Sunset Electric Apartments expressed concern about the harmful effects of police crowd control tactics being used. Although the weeklong standoff dissipated and “Free Capitol Hill” formed, residents in apartment complexes near the zone — like 12th Avenue Arts and 12th and Pine’s Packard Building Apartments — remain concerned.

One Packard resident, who has chosen to remain anonymous out of safety concerns, is leading efforts among 18 residents in the building to formulate a list of joint safety and security concerns to be sent to Mayor Durkan, Seattle City Council and other city department officials. According to the resident, residents in five of the other apartments in the building moved out in the past 48 hours because of these concerns.

A full letter from the group can be found at the end of this post. Continue reading

As more get the go-ahead to reopen, businesses in the Capitol Hill protest zone seek city support

Small businesses on the edges of the Capitol Hill protest zone — many of which have been using their facilities to help the communities and activists at work there — are in the midst of figuring out how to safely and economically sustain their businesses as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifted and in the middle of a rapidly changing demonstration and camp right outside their doors.

“The decision to reopen was literally a survival mode decision — our staff cannot live off unemployment, they have to go back to work to feed their families. We have to go back to work to pay rent,” BANG owner Casey Nickole tells CHS.

Nickole reopened her four hair salons at 25% capacity on Monday after three months of closure. BANG’s E Pine location is situated less than half a block away from the East Precinct where protestors have established and maintained a camp and demonstration area for more than a week.

This week, King County applied to move into Phase 2 to gradually lift COVID-19 restrictions. Local businesses after an interim step this month which allows restaurants, retailers and personal services like hair salons to open to the public at limited capacities. By Friday, things could open up a little bit more.

For a little over a week, BANG turned its Capitol Hill locations into spaces to aid protestors at the Pine and 11th standoff. The business offered bathrooms, food, phone chargers, wifi and medical support to protestors.

“We treated a rubber bullet wound, tear gas — we were like putting people in the shampoo bowls and rinsing their faces off,” Nickole recalled. Continue reading

With no Seattle protest spike apparent, King County applies for Phase 2 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions

With no sign so far of a potential spike from weeks of large crowds and protests, Seattle and the state’s largest county are ready to advance to Washington’s next phase of COVID-19 restrictions.

ALERT: Results are in from UW Medicine and out of 3,000 tests fewer than 1% were positive.  To our knowledge and based on volunteered information, there is no evidence so far of people testing positive for COVID-19 from attending protests in Seattle — a message added last week to the city’s new testing registration site

“Early data showed that there were no positive tests from the high number of asymptomatic people who came in for a test after participating in a demonstration,” a statement reads from the city’s Emergency Operations Center to CHS about Seattle officials relaxing their stance on protest concerns. “After Seattle urged all protesters to get tested for the coronavirus at expanded facilities, fewer than 1% are coming back positive,” Crosscut reported Tuesday.

King County has continued to add about 43 new positive cases per day in June — about 70% of its daily totals in May — even as testing has jumped to near 2,000 per day thanks to increased options and new clinics in Seattle. About one person still dies of COVID-19 every day in the county. To date, officials say 574 people have died here during the outbreak. Washington, meanwhile, reports 1,221 deaths across the state through Sunday.

So far, so good. But keep wearing your masks. The positive case trend has helped King County pull the trigger on applying for Phase 2 and the further lifting of restrictions that will add long-awaited components including small group sports practices and open the way for a few friends of family members to get together without feeling like scofflaws.

“The state is expected to process the application this week, and King County could move to Phase 2 as early as Friday,” the announcement reads.

Continue reading

Seattle City Council responds to protest violence with restrictions on police use of tear gas, chokeholds, and badge coverings

Responding to the violence from three weeks of protest, the Seattle City Council voted Monday to ban the Seattle Police Department from using crowd control devices including chemical agents, dangerous chokeholds, and mourning badges that cover an officer’s badge number.

The three measures, two of which were sponsored by council member Kshama Sawant representing Capitol Hill and the Central District, passed the council unanimously. The legislative changes join a roster of progress for the protests against police violence — though many of the larger goals around equity and Black Lives Matter have yet to be achieved.

Within the legislative victories, one prohibits the SPD from owning, purchasing, renting, or using crowd control weapons, such as tear gas and pepper spray. Such devices have been used several times in the past few weeks in Seattle to break up protests of police brutality.

“Here in Seattle and around the country, demonstrators have been grievously injured by these weapons,” Sawant said. “The police and the political establishment simply cannot be trusted with them.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Counting victories after an 18-day battle and a week holding valuable territory on Capitol Hill

It is not Capitol Hill Block Party but it is OK if sometimes the sights and sounds coming out of the protest zone and camp growing around Cal Anderson Park look like nothing more than a big crowd of people having a good time in the middle of Capitol Hill.

There are big problems to solve in the operations and safety around the camp and major protests efforts will continue.

But organizers and the community that has formed seem to know the energy is part of the draw. Even as 12th and Pine has been converted into a speaker’s square for teach-ins and learning, there has also been time for live music and DJs. Efforts to keep neighbors informed about the goings on around the camp also feel a little like the canceled annual musical festival with the inclusion of a “noise forecast” and planned DJ set times.

Tents have, indeed, sprouted in Cal Anderson along with the gardens. People already living homeless have joined protesters and occupiers keeping the space. Continue reading

Employees call it retaliation for protest, Trader Joe’s says closed for Capitol Hill remodel

Trader Joe’s isn’t big on public relations and social media but its Monrovia, California corporate office has responded to CHS’s inquiry about the strange and sudden shuttering of the Capitol Hill store that employees say is retaliation for employee actions in support of Black Lives Matter protests and labor issues at the E Madison grocery.

A company spokesperson confirmed the employee group’s assertion that the location was closed Friday because “we did not have enough Crew Members available to run the store.” But Trader Joe’s says its “temporary” closure is about construction work, not protests.

“During this temporary closure, we are taking the time to execute a remodel plan to address safety and security concerns that have developed over the last year,” the spokesperson said via email. “We will reopen the store as soon as these construction projects are completed, and it is our hope that we can welcome back our customers in the next week or two.” Continue reading

With Seattle Police staying out of the Capitol Hill protest zone, the camp, neighbors, and businesses struggling to solve public safety issues

Why are you here?, painted on the street at the protest zoneSeattle’s third week of protest against police brutality and racial bias started with tens of thousands of marchers and a Capitol Hill protest zone celebrating its growing days of speeches and learning, donation and garden projects, volunteer squads including clean-up crews, medics, and security teams, and a Culture Day that filled the area with visits from Indigenous leaders from across the region.

There is a growing roster of met demands and political wins. Monday will bring a day of debate at the Seattle City Council over increased regulation and restriction of police over tactics including chokeholds and tear gas. Continue reading

Third week of protests begins with thousands marching and a CHAZ CHOP rally targeting the ‘affluent white communities of Seattle’

Massive crowds marched down E Madison for a rally at the beach

Massive crowds marched down E Madison for a rally at the beach

Protesters against police brutality and inequity were marching east on Madison Friday afternoon when they passed tall fencing and finely pruned bushes.

It was the gated Broadmoor community and the main goal of the march, which started inside the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone and ended about three miles away at Madison Park Beach, was to engage rich, white neighborhoods in Seattle’s ongoing protests.

UPDATE: You can still call it CHAZ if you like but the name that the community has chosen is CHOP — the Capitol Hill Organized Protest. “We are not trying to secede from the United States,” speaker Maurice Cola said Saturday afternoon.

Broadmoor served as a perfect foil for what these protesters said they wanted to do Friday; mobilize affluent white people with power to spur change that would benefit Black people. While passing, they chanted “Out of your homes and into the streets” to the couple dozen people standing on the sidewalk outside the community’s entrance.

Organizer and Seattle Peoples Party leader Nikkita Oliver highlighted the female organizers of the protest and repeated demands that the Seattle Police Department be defunded by 50%, spending increased on community-based organizations, and the protesters not be prosecuted.

She said that city leaders would try to offer some piecemeal changes to protesters, but urged demonstrators to stay in the streets until the system is overhauled.

“[Mayor Jenny Durkan] is going to try to find $100 million somewhere in the budget for 10 years to give to community, but it’s not going to be $100 million from the police,” Oliver said. “That means we have not won yet. Let’s be committed; let’s make this more than a moment. People have sacrificed things in the last 10 days; people have sacrificed things in the last 10 years; people have sacrificed things in the last 100, 200, 300 years and are tired of our powerful moments not making into a movement. It’s because we give into accepting reform.”

“Reform feels easy, but it’s not. Reform is bullshit.”

The crowd of thousands was one of two huge marches across Seattle Friday. As this group headed for Madison Park and the beach, an even larger “silent” march stretched out for blocks and blocks from the Central District to Beacon Hill. Continue reading

At center of Capitol Hill protest zone and on the edge of Seattle movement’s goals, debate begins on future of the East Precinct

There are many leaders at work inside the camp and protest zone that has formed around the emptied East Precinct on Capitol Hill. One, District 3 representatives on the city council Kshama Sawant, says she has a plan for the two-story building’s 62,000 square feet of space including some 20,000 square feet of parking.

In a message to her social media followers Thursday night, the senior member of the Seattle City Council said her office is preparing legislation that would remove the building from Seattle Police Department control and turn the 94-year-old structure into a community center for restorative justice.

“The process for deciding East Precinct conversion must include those involved in CHAZ, black community organizations, restorative justice, faith, anti-racist, renter (organizations), land trusts, groups, (and) labor unions that have a proven record of fighting racism,” Sawant writes.

But in the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, no political path is certain.

Protestors have gathered in the CHAZ at the intersection of Pine and 12th since Monday night, when police boarded up the precinct, cleared out of the area and re-opened surrounding streets after a week of standoffs and violent police crowd control. Protestors are now trying to figure out what next steps to take, especially after reports that some officers came back inside the building and Chief Best announced that the SPD is making plans to return.

Thursday afternoon the protestors surrounding the precinct, self-described as a “decentralized movement,” broke off into three groups with pens and paper out to discuss organizing tactics going forward, long term goals and a “vibe check.” Continue reading