by WorldTribune Staff, June 26, 2020
More than a dozen businesses in Seattle’s so-called “autonomous zone” of CHAZ/CHOP are suing the city.
Workers and residents in the Capitol Hill neighborhood have also joined a class action lawsuit which charges city officials were complicit in allowing the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone/Organized Protest that has made them feel unsafe in their own neighborhood, according to reports.
“This lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of plaintiffs – businesses, employees and residents in and around CHOP – which have been overrun by the city of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services and inaccessible to the public at large,” the lawsuit says, Q13 FOX reported.
The lawsuit details how anarchists in CHAZ/CHOP “threatened business owners with retaliation if they paint over graffiti” and threatened to steal the phones of local residents who tried to take pictures near Cal Anderson Park. “CHOP participants have been observed carrying guns in the public streets and parks in broad daylight,”
The suit seeks monetary damages as well as the restoration of full public access to the area.
“The City’s policies have effectively authorized the actions of the CHOP participants. The City has communicated clearly to CHOP participants that they may indefinitely continue occupying the streets in the area, maintaining their barricades, and blocking traffic, all without interference from the City,” the lawsuit reads.
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has said that officers are not allowed inside CHOP and are unable to respond to emergency calls — including rapes, robberies, and “all sorts of violent acts that have been occurring in the area.”
“The City’s decision has subjected businesses, employees, and residents of that neighborhood to extensive property damage, public safety dangers, and an inability to use and access their properties,” the lawsuit reads.
Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, who has been heavily criticized by President Donald Trump for her response to the situation, said this week that the city would move to dismantle the area after multiple shootings.
“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. There should be no place in Seattle that the Seattle Fire Department and the Seattle Police Department can’t go,” said Durkan, who had earlier said CHOP could turn into a “summer of love.”