Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan announced Monday that she is making plans to break up the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) after two Saturday night shootings left one protester dead.
Protesters set up “CHOP” about two weeks ago, when the police abandoned the East Precinct. The dissidants set up barricades and immediately began putting together infrastructure such as a garden, security, and creating lists of supplies needed to survive as an autonomous entity. But, the day time festival scene where many families and kids come to eat street food, listen to music, watch movies and create art, turns into a much more sinister space once the sun goes down.
Journalist Andy Ngo has been able to infiltrate the CHOP and has provided an inside look into the tensions that mounts in the CHOP after dark. He reported seeing open drug use, people openly carrying guns, and assaults on individuals inside the barricaded area.
At least one person has been arrested for assault. Robert James was taken into custody after he left the confines of CHOP. He is accused of sexually assaulting a deaf woman who was enticed into a tent.
Seattle’s mayor said the violence has hijacked the conversation and drawn attention away from the original intent of peaceful protesters seeking to dismantle racial inequity and police brutality.
No specific plans were reveal and it is unclear how the city will proceed to dismantle the settlement.
This situation is breaking and we will update as new information is released.