Seattle’s hot mess is boiling over as the city’s top leaders rear up to duke it out verbally. One wants to take back the police precinct and the city blocks hijacked by protesters; the other wants to leave things alone so that it could turn into a “summer of love.”
When Antifa and Black Lives Matter took over an area of Seattle and renamed it the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), national leaders were either dumbstruck or nodding their bobbleheads in agreement. President Donald Trump was appalled enough to tweet out a strong message to Washington state’s leaders:
“Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stopped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”
Terrorism v. First Amendment Rights?
The CHAZ area is known for its LGBTQ neighborhoods and atmosphere. Mayor Jenny Durkan, a Democrat and member of the LGBTQ community herself, gave the word to ease police presence, which resulted in a precinct being abandoned and the activists gaining control of six city blocks. On a side note: It seems ironic that a group claiming to protest the oppression of another group ends up taking over the neighborhood of a third oppressed group? But, I digress. Back on topic.
As protesting escalated and the “peaceful” turned violent, Durkan released a statement on how to defuse the situation by reducing police presence: “After long consultations with Chief [Carmen] Best and SPD, on how to do so in a safe manner, the Mayor directed free access to Pine Street for peaceful demonstrations … ”
Chief Best, however, had released a video just hours before the mayor’s order to stand down, expressing her anger at the way officials were bowing down and surrendering the East Precinct. She told her officers:
“You fought for days to protect [the East Precinct]. I asked you to stand on that line. Day in and day out, to be pelted with projectiles, to be screamed at, threatened and in some cases hurt. Then to have a change of course nearly two weeks in, it seems like an insult to you and our community. Ultimately the city had other plans for the building and relented to public pressure. I’m angry about how this all came about.”
Best became the first black woman police chief for Seattle, ironically appointed to the position by Durkan, on Aug. 13, 2018. Adamantly against the surrender, the chief opposed the mayor’s placid attitude and wanted to see her officers back in the “no-police zone” and abandoned precinct “as soon as possible.”
Peace and Love, Man
From CHAZ to CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized Protest), the usurpers refuse to leave until their list of demands, ranging from the ridiculous to the dangerous call for segregation, are met. Law enforcement is forced to sit by idly while a “block party” continues on their turf, and the mayor suggests letting the embarrassing fiasco continue. When CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Durkan how long she expected the siege to last and the protesters to remain in the area, she responded: “I don’t know. We could have a summer of love.”
“The mayor of Seattle is the mom in the store who coddles the screeching child, giving in to the object of said tyrant’s desire while other shoppers in proximity roll eyes and mutter unkind words.”
However, the situation is far from humorous. The city’s refusal to take back control of the “new nation” sets an unseemly precedent, exhibiting weakness to the world. CHOP has no resources to provide for its population, posting signs listing needed donations, trying not-so-green thumbs at farming, and calling the fire department – outside help – to rescue them from a dumpster fire. Best said the response times for 911 emergency calls have increased threefold since police officers were forced to give up the precinct.
Where will it end? The police chief and mayor are at odds, one touting 1960s’ peace and love rhetoric while the other wants to reclaim a neighborhood and police station snatched from the public. Will President Trump make good on his word to send in the National Guard, or will he try some other tactic to force Seattle’s progressive Democrats to stand up and show some leadership?
Read more from Kelli Ballard.