Say, wasn’t the point of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone to show how we could all live without police? If so, then the wan clucking of tongues from the CHAZ “leadership” over this assault seems to indicate that some responsible authority is needed to keep the peace in an urban setting. Seattle’s KOMO-TV reports on the manhandling received by Shawn Whiting when he attempted to live-stream life within CHAZ or CHOP in what had been a public park.
KOMO has not made the video embeddable, but Whiting has it up on his own YouTube channel:
“What do you mean ‘help’?” a man asks when Whiting starts getting grabbed. “Who’s gonna help you?” Precisely.
If this seems less than terrifying, remember that Whiting has seen some of the weapons in the CHAZ — and the unvetted people wielding them. He told KOMO later that the moment was “pure terror,” especially with the realization that there was no longer anyone to call for help:
“It was pure terror in the moment of I’m screaming for help and nobody’s coming over to help me they’re coming over to reinforce this guy,” Whiting told KOMO News. “He had a good hold of me from behind and wasn’t letting me leave.
I’ve seen people with weapons. I didn’t know if was going to put a knife in me or put a gun to my head, I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
KOMO asked Maurice Cola, whom they call a “protest leader” in CHAZ, to account for what happened in the video. Cola declared it “not ok,” but said that it’s tough to manage people in a six-block area:
“That’s not beneficial and trying to assault people just trying to document is not ok,” said Cola. “This is still a public place and we’re not going to violate anyone for doing and utilizing their rights properly.” …
He said protest leaders are trying to coordinate the protest leadership to set some rules for people who are not with the movement and might have another agenda, so their message is unified.
“People’s rights to film publicly, it’s their rights,” Cola said. “Walking around with the flag, it’s their right. If we become just like the police, we’re losing all of our focus. We can’t be hypocrites to our own cause, that’s ridiculous.”
Hmmmm. It seems CHAZ needs to protect people’s constitutional rights, along with keeping the peace and identifying those who violate to hold them accountable. What kind of an organization might that be? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Actually, though, this is not really a criticism of CHAZ and its hypocrisy, obvious as it is in Cola’s pretense that such protections are a priority to them. It’s a criticism of the officials that voters in Seattle and the state of Washington elected to provide those protections and responsible governance. Where are Mayor Jenny Durkan and Governor Jay Inslee? They have gone AWOL in the crisis and have abandoned citizens to mob rule and brute authoritarianism. They are the two people most responsible for the truth of “Who’s going to help you?” in this section of Seattle.