Seattle facing lawsuit for its handling of CHOP

Somebody is finally looking to hold the city of Seattle, Washington, accountable for allowing, even at times helping, the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, or CHOP, to continue unhindered.

Fox News reports that a group of Seattle business owners on Wednesday sued the city for their complicity with CHOP. 

“A peaceful expression . . .”

The situation in Seattle has been going on for several weeks now. In the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody, protestors took over an area in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle using police barricades to outline their zone, which, although originally named CHAZ – the capitol hill autonomous zone – has since been known as CHOP.

How did they get police barricades you may ask? The city, of course, gave them to the protestors.

Early on, when protestors set up CHAZ/CHOP, the Seattle police department abandoned its East Precinct building, and this move about sums up city officials’ response to CHOP. Mayor Jenny Durkan (D), for example, saw CHOP as “a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world.”

The mayor recently, however, had to change her mind after shootings took place in the area. Now, Durkan is looking to put an end to CHOP, although, it ought to be pointed out that she was rather vague about how this will be done, not providing a timeline and only saying that the city would encourage the protestors to leave on their own.

Lawsuit filed

With the attention on CHOP over the past several weeks, what we sometimes forget about are the local, law-abiding citizens who are supposed to be being protected by the city and its law enforcement, but are not. Among these law-abiding citizens are business owners.

It is these business owners who are filing a lawsuit against the city on behalf of all law-abiding citizens in the area.

“(T)his lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of plaintiffs – businesses, employees and residents in and around CHOP – which have been overrun by the city of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services and inaccessible to the public at large,” the lawsuit reads.

The plaintiffs are being represented in this matter by the Calfo Eakes LLP law firm, which put out a statement, saying, “The result of the City’s actions has been lawlessness.” It continued:

There is no public safety presence. Police officers will not enter the area unless it is a life-or-death situation, and even in those situations, the response is delayed and muted, if it comes at all.

As of yet, the city attorney’s office has not released a statement on the matter.

But, it’s about time that someone is holding Seattle officials accountable. Let’s hope that the law-abiding Americans in Seattle come up with a big legal victory.

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