The reason Seattle now has a Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) is that police abandoned the 13th precinct, creating a vacuum of authority that others have now stepped in to fill. Today, police chief Carmen Best released a video in which she spoke directly to her officers saying the decision to abandon the precinct was not hers. And while she didn’t say whose decision it was, she seemed to suggest the decision came from the city under public pressure.
“Leaving the precinct was not my decision,” Chief Best said. She continued, “You fought for days to protect it. 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 severe public pressure. I’m angry about how this all came about.”
Later in this clip, Best talks about reports that armed people are “patrolling” the autonomous zone and even demanding people’s identification. She asked anyone who has experienced this to file a police report.