Earlier this morning, the Seattle police department, with the full backing of Mayor Jenny Durkan, took back the anarchist controlled territory of “CHAZ”. Initially branded as “CHAZ” or “Capital Hill Autonomous Zone”, the zone was re-branded as “Capital Hill Occupied Protest”(CHOP), a backtracking maneuver aimed at better optics. In the end the result was the same, however, as CHAZ was cleared out this morning. Dozens of arrests were made and police have set up a “no trespassing” zone spanning the four block territory, which centered around Seattle PD’s abandoned East Precinct building. Mayor Durkan ordered the precinct abandoned on June 9, 2020.
The fall of CHAZ comes just two days after a deadly shooting left one teenager dead and another critically wounded near the edge of the zone. The two teens were shot multiple times in the early morning hours of June 29th, their white jeep riddled with bullets. A 16 year-old male was pronounced dead at the hospital while another teen – a 14 year-old male – remains in critical condition. Police have described witnesses as uncooperative and no suspects have been sought at this time.
An anonymous 4chan poster claimed to have witnessed the shooting, though the validity of this claim can obviously not be verified at this time. The supposed witness claims that the teens stole the jeep and were doing donuts on the field, only to come under fire from the “armed security” of CHAZ. Once disabled, the CHAZ “security forces” allegedly converged on the vehicle and pistol-whipped the deceased victim.
Again, while this cannot be verified, video evidence appears to confirm the latter half of the story. The vehicle can be seen here, clearly disabled. An unidentified man can be heard saying “wanna get pistol whipped?” in the background. The windows of the vehicle appear clearly shot out, contradicting the CHAZ claim that there was a “drive by shooting.”
The June 29th homicide was the second in CHAZ within ten days and the fourth shooting in or around the area in three weeks. Both murder victims were unarmed black men, I might add.
The clearing of CHAZ also comes days after protesters converged on the home of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. Protester’s marched on Durkan’s home following a June 22nd statement in which she announced that the zone would no longer have her support, and that the territory would be re-taken by Seattle police shortly. Durkan condemned the protester’s for showing up at her house, citing safety concerns for her family. Mayor Durkan specifically condemned city councilwoman Kshama Sawant, who joined the protesters.
The change of heart from Jenny Durkan is quite the reversal from her earlier statements on CHAZ. On June 11, days before the first murder, Durkan tweeted that “Cal Anderson and Capitol Hill has for decades been a place for free speech, community, and self expression” in response to a tweet from President Trump that was critical of the situation. “The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone #CHAZ is not a lawless wasteland of anarchist insurrection – it is a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world” she continued.
Needless to say, Mayor Durkan’s tweets have not aged particularly well. Who knew that replacing cops with armed, unemployed anarchists who have 0 training would end in a Fallout raider camp and murder? Certainly not Jenny Durkan.