Who is responsible for deaths inside the CHAZ/CHOP?

Who is responsible for deaths inside the CHAZ/CHOP?

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump has a story today with the headline “Almost none of the deaths linked to recent protests are known to have been committed by protesters.” The piece is really just a long list of people killed at or near protests. Here’s how he describes the death of Horace Lorenzo Anderson a 19–year-old shot in the CHAZ/CHOP zone.

Shot on June 20 in Seattle. Marcel Long allegedly shot and killed Anderson in the autonomous protest zone established in Seattle in June. Long has been charged with murder; the incident was apparently not connected to the protests.

And that’s it according to Bump. This had no connection to CHAZ/CHOP or any protest. Here’s how Fox News reported the alleged shooting of Anderson by Marcel Long:

“Extremely high quality” surveillance video of the scene near Cal Anderson Park, close to the Seattle Police Department’s temporarily abandoned East Precinct building, allegedly shows Long pull a handgun after a conversation with 19-year-old Horace Lorenzo Anderson.

Anderson then tries to leave, investigators said. Other people in the CHOP, the heart of the city’s protests, tried to intervene, but Long kept following Anderson.

The two may have been involved in a feud stretching back as far as last year, one witness told police.

The attacker caught up with the victim and they exchanged punches, according to a police affidavit. During the fight, Anderson moves out of camera range, and Long is accused of drawing a gun and firing at least twice at “a downward angle.”

So the two may have had a prior disagreement about something and it turned into a fight. But here’s the part Bump doesn’t mention:

Police said that responding officers could not reach the victim on the night of the crime. They encountered protesters throughout the CHOP who hindered their access, although other witnesses were credited with cooperating with police, even collecting shell casings and photographing the scene.

Could Anderson have survived if he’d received attention sooner? Remember there was an abandoned police precinct in the center of the CHOP zone. What if police had been there? Would the shooting have happened at all? We’ll never really know but it stands to reason that part of the problem was that the CHAZ/CHOP had become a free-for-all of armed people at night specifically because protesters had pushed police out.

One person who blames the absence of police for Anderson’s death is his father who just filed a $3 billion lawsuit against the city:

Lorenzo was shot multiple times and “laid bleeding to death in the Seattle streets with no one to respond,” allege papers filed with Horace’s separate $1 billion claims against the city, King County and the state of Washington…

“He didn’t have help. He needed help,” Horace told The Post. “He needed me and I wasn’t there for him.”

But before the botched emergency response, city officials had allowed, “politically charged armed, anarchist protesters to infiltrate, takeover, and govern a part of downtown Seattle,” and King County and the Governor, “did not intervene and stop this state of lawlessness,” the claim papers charge.

I don’t know if Marcel Long was a protester and part of the CHAZ/CHOP. But I do think it’s reasonable to conclude that Horace Lorenzo Anderson’s death might not have happened if there hadn’t been a cop-free zone in the middle of the city, one set up by protesters and winked at by the mayor. Bump’s other summaries leave a lot to be desired, like this one about the death of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner:

Shot on July 4 in Atlanta. Turner, an 8-year-old girl, was killed when a vehicle in which she was riding was fired upon by a group of people who’d set up a roadblock near the site of an earlier police shooting. Julian Conley was charged with murder but maintains his innocence.

I wrote about this case and it’s clear that once again the area had become a de facto cop-free zone. People had been setting up barriers in the street for more than a week and two people had been shot in the same area prior to her death. Neighbors complained but the police and city leaders didn’t want to confront the mob, at least not until after Turner’s death.

Again, I’m not suggesting protesters are responsible for all the deaths on Bump’s list but they certainly have some responsibility for setting the conditions that contributed to several of them.

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