Maybe Jenny Durkan’s NIMBY response to the protest in front of her house finally embarrassed her into action. Starting early this morning, Seattle police began executing an order from the mayor in the “autonomous zone,” ordering protesters to disperse. As of 5 am PT, police had fortified their positions outside the East Precinct, nearly a month after Durkan had ordered police to abandon it:
By 6:20 PT, police had apparently secured the precinct with its SWAT officers. They began focusing on rest of the CHAZ/CHOP in a big show of force:
— Denise Whitaker🏃♀️ (@deniseonKOMO) July 1, 2020
By that time, police reported at least thirteen arrests for resisting the orders to disperse. So far, though, the large-scale response — and a drain from CHAZ/CHOP as it spiraled from anarchy to Marxist authoritarianism — seems to have made this less kinetic than it otherwise might have been. It might be smellier, though:
After giving several warnings to disperse, police have arrested at least 13 protestors who refused to leave, Seattle Police said. “Anyone who remains in the area, or returns to the area, is subject to arrest,” Seattle Police said.
Police report that some had tipped over portable toilets in the area, but overall the scene has been calm as officers cleared the area.
Officers gave the order to disperse the area at 5 a.m. and gave protestors eight minutes to comply, informing them they could safely exit the reason to the south.
“A lot of chaos, you hear many many voices,” said Debora Killman, who was sleeping in a tent in the zone. “But then I heard on the megaphone it’s either going to be the police or National Guard so that’s when I started saying OK, it’s time to get up.”
That seems like a surprising assumption, and a telling one as well. Protesters had successfully turned back police twice in the last five days before today without the National Guard showing up. And if they truly supported defunding the Seattle police, why not wait for the National Guard instead? Isn’t the point that local law enforcement can’t be trusted? Looks like when push comes to shove, they’d rather get shoved back than shot.
KING5 has a live feed covering the operation, with anchors lamenting that the “message has been lost” from its first few days. Er, suuuure, but it’s been at least three weeks and four murders since — that we know about. Police chief Carmen Best said that robberies and assaults had also occurred, and hopefully we will find out more about those incidents too. If Seattle’s media is more interested in lamenting “messages” over the rule of law, though, don’t bet on the media reporting those facts.
Update: Our Townhall colleague Julio Rosas, who reported from CHAZ, notes that Durkan’s position seems to have changed:
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) July 1, 2020
Update: In a throwback to the Minneapolis riots, police say they are investigating reports of “several vehicles” circling the area after the dispersal operation:
At 6:35 a.m., SPD said it was investigating “several vehicles” that were circling the area after officers moved into the CHOP. Police said the vehicle didn’t appear to have visible license plates, and the people inside were seen with “firearms/armor.”
They should start looking for caches of rocks and tires, too. We saw some of that in the Twin Cities.