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‘It is absolutely irresponsible for this to continue’

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best gave a press conference saying it was time for the CHOP to end and directly pointing out that black men were being shot and killed in a zone supposedly devoted to showing that Black Lives Matter. As you’ll see, the protesters at the CHOP didn’t like that too much and repeatedly interrupted Chief Best.

This morning Ed wrote about the latest shooting at the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP). Police are still not exactly clear what happened but they do know that one man is dead a 14-year-old passenger in the same car was also shot in the same incident. Police Chief Carmen Best, who has been at odds with Mayor Jenny Durkan over CHOP from the beginning, is now saying “enough is enough.”

“It’s very unfortunate that we have yet another murder in this area identified as the CHOP,” Chief Best said. She continued, “Two African-American men dead at a place where they claim to be working for Black Lives Matter. But they’re gone. They’re dead now. And we’ve had multiple other incidents. Assaults. Rape. Robbery. Shootings. And so, you know this is something that’s going to need to change.”

A bit later Chief Best added that while people are free to protest, “they can’t hostilely take over a neighborhood and cause the crime levels to go up like this.”

“Two men are dead. Two men are dead and a child, a 14-year-old, is hospitalized and we don’t know what is going to happen to that kid. Enough is enough here,” she said.

Someone off-camera began shouting and Chief Best spoke up to be heard over the disruption: “I’m not going to let the detractors and the naysayers and the agitators be the ones with the voice here. There are people who live here. There are multiple people who are being injured and hurt and we need to do something about it. It is absolutely irresponsible for this to continue.”

Asked where the Mayor was, Chief Best suggested reporters should go to her directly. Meanwhile, protesters watching the press conference continued shouting and one of them used a siren sound from his bullhorn to try to drown out Chief Best. She described it as “rude” but kept talking. “Black Lives Matter has affirmatively stated that they are not involved in this movement. You’ll have to talk to them about it but we do know that black people are dying.”

The chaos around her actually helped the Chief make her point. Her final words to the media were, “As you can see, this is not an acceptable situation.”

For some reason the YouTube clip of this press conference won’t embed but here’s a version from Facebook:

So why is it continuing? Mayor Jenny Durkan has repeatedly handled CHAZ/CHOP with kid gloves, early on claiming it was just like a block party. Last Friday morning trucks showed up to remove barricades around the CHOP but protesters said they wanted the barriers to remain until their demands were met. So the trucks drove off and protest organizers were told they would be given another 72 hours.

Subsequent reports indicate there were plans to remove the barriers Sunday morning but that didn’t happen either. And then Sunday evening hundreds of protesters went to Mayor Durkan’s house. Among the group was socialist city councilwoman Kshama Sawant. As you can see in this clip, the Mayor is getting a lot of pressure to meet the protester’s demands. This is probably why she keeps backpedaling on shutting down CHOP even as her Police Chief says enough is enough.

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