Mayor Jenny Durkan has been doing her best to downplay the danger of having an autonomous zone in the middle of Seattle, suggesting it wasn’t much different from a summer block party. Then, over the weekend, three people were shot in two separate incidents and one 19-year-old died from his injuries. Now Mayor Durkan is singing a different tune. She announced today that it was “time for people to go home.”
Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a news conference that the violence was distracting from changes sought by thousands of peaceful protesters seeking to address racial inequity and police brutality. She said the city is working with the community to bring the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone to an end.
“The cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the nighttime atmosphere and violence has led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents,” Durkan said. “The impacts have increased and the safety has decreased.”…
“After days of peaceful demonstrations, two nights of shootings have clearly escalated the situation on Capitol Hill,” Durkan’s office said in a statement. “We have been meeting with residents and small business owners to address their safety and disorder concerns, including the ability of first responders to access emergencies in the area. … As many community groups are also urging, (the) Mayor believes individuals can and should peacefully demonstrate, but the message cannot be lost in the violence.”
The plan now is to have police return to the precinct they abandoned two weeks ago but there’s still no definite timeline on when that will happen. Police Chief Best also spoke at the press conference pointing out that other crimes have happened since police abandoned the Capitol Hill precinct.