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by Thomas Catenacci

 

Seattle’s police chief was heckled while she ripped the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) following fourth shooting in the area at a press conference Monday.

Chief Carmen Best demanded that people still in the area, also known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), leave immediately for the sake of everyone’s safety.

A 16-year-old died and a 14-year-old is still being treated following a drive-by shooting that took place early Monday morning in the zone, Seattle police said in a press release Monday.

“It’s very unfortunate that we have yet another murder in this area identified as the CHOP,” Best said. “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.”

Best added: “We’ve had multiple other incidents. Assault, rape, robbery, and shootings. And so this is something that is going to need to change.”

People can be heard shouting “Black Lives Matter” later in the press conference while Best took questions from reporters. A loud siren-like sound went off at one point during the presser.

“That is so rude,” Best said as the sound interrupted her. “This is what I’m talking about. This kind of behavior is irrational and unacceptable.”

“Two African-American men are dead at a place where they claim to be working for Black Lives Matter.”

Seattle police chief @carmenbest is heckled by angry protesters at a press conference inside “CHAZ” addressing the homicide & injury of two black children by CHAZ security. pic.twitter.com/RvvLkFyYxc

— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) June 30, 2020

People living in CHOP are not cooperating with investigators’ requests for information, according to Best. She said this has been the case with other investigations in the zone.

“We’re asking that people remove themselves from this area for the safety of the people. If they care about people, they’re going to have to try to help us to make it safe,” Best continued. “Enough is enough.”

Demonstrators established CHAZ on June 8 to be a cop-free, six-block protest area in downtown Seattle. Protests have occurred across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody after an officer kneeled on his neck on May 25, video of the incident shows.

The city of Seattle began dismantling the area on Friday.

“I’m just concerned about making sure that I’m able to get my officers back into the precinct so that they can respond to calls for service,” Best told ABC News on June 12. “We need to have officers responding to calls in a timely fashion and with the occupation, we’re not able to do so in a timely way.”

However, Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan said the occupied zone was “more like a block party atmosphere” in a June 11 interview on CNN, the Daily Caller reported.

“This tragic killing underscores the urgency to Defund police by at least 50 percent,” Sawant tweeted Monday.

Best has said that she is open to police reform and has put forth guidelines for re-envisioning public safety in Seattle in response to the death of Floyd.

“SPD has embraced reform, and internal conversations confirm it is ready to push past the relative comfort of those efforts,” said Best in a June 22 letter to the Seattle community.

Monday’s shooting is just the latest in a series of shootings in the zone. Three shootings were reported last week in the area resulting in one death and multiple injuries, the Daily Caller reported.

– –  –

Thomas Catenacci is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Carmen Best” by King 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tags: carmen best chaz chop seattle police department

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Majority Of Seattle City Council Now Wants Police Funding Cut In Half

On Thursday, three more members of the Seattle City Council joined four others who want to defund the city’s Police Department by 50%, forming a majority on the council.

Lisa Herbold, Dan Strauss and Andrew Lewis joined Chair Teresa Mosqueda, Tammy Morales, Kshama Sawant, and M. Lorena González in supporting a plan propounded by Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now. That means seven of the nine council members favor the huge cuts to the police. Gonzalez said Thursday, “The status quo is no longer acceptable. We have to take away the things that no longer and should have never belonged to law enforcement in the first place,” KIRO 7 reported.

Mosqueda stated, “I look forward to implementing the proposals outlined by you all,” adding, “When millions of people took to the streets to protest excessive use of force and police violence, they were met with excessive use of force and police violence in Seattle and around the country, proving that it’s not just about a few bad actors. It is the institution of policing itself that must be dismantled.”

KIRO 7 asked Seattle police Chief Carmen Best about Mosqueda’s comments. Best replied:

I respect Councilmember Mosqueda. I think she is very passionate about what she’s doing, but she also needs to think about the fact that public safety and the budget are intertwined. And we need to make sure we’re doing what’s in the best interests of everybody. It’s really interesting — if anybody recognizes issues of system racism and institutional racism, it’s me.”

Noting that a loss of 50% of police funding would leave 1,000 fewer personnel, she added, “I think it’s rash and irrational to make that decision without having a thoughtful conversation with community members. And I’m hoping that the City Council will rethink the plan to do that — without having a plan for how we’re going to re-envision policing and how it will work.”

On Wednesday, Decriminalize Seattle and King County Equity Now made a presentation to the council’s budget committee. Angélica Cházaro, a representative from Decriminalize Seattle, stated, “We believe 911 dispatch should be removed from SPD control. 911 calls should be referred, whenever appropriate, to non-police responders.”

The two groups submitted a four-point proposal for defunding the Police Department. The Seattle Times listed them:

  • Remove Seattle’s 911 dispatchers from police control
  • Scale up community-based solutions to public safety
  • Fund a community-led process to “imagine life beyond policing.”
  • Invest in affordable housing

On Thursday, Decriminalize Seattle’s Jackie Vaughn asserted that the group’s goal is “defunding the Seattle Police Department and building a world where we trust and believe in community to provide the safety that we need.”

Sawant tweeted on June 24, “As part of Defunding Seattle Police by at least 50%, we need to purge all officers who’ve committed police violence & brutality as well as those who gave the orders. Seattle Police have a longstanding record of racist killings, violence against protests. We need to clean house.”

As part of Defunding Seattle Police by at least 50%, we need to purge all officers who've committed police violence & brutality as well as those who gave the orders.

Seattle Police have a longstanding record of racist killings, violence against protests.

We need to clean house.

— Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) June 24, 2020

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