Seattle Residents Are Fed Up Over Autonomous Zone & Take Legal Action
A group of businesses, property owners, and residents in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle have had enough and are taking action against the city.
The group claims that the city’s tolerance of the “occupied” zone is depriving them of their rights to their property.
The plaintiffs – a tattoo parlor, auto repair shop and property management firm – are clear, this has nothing to do with undermining what the message of the protest is…”
“Rather, this lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of plaintiffs – businesses, employees, and residents in and around CHOP – which have been overrun by the city of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public at large,” the lawsuit said.
The occupation started on June 8th when the Seattle Police Department was ordered to abandon their East Precinct building after several clashes with violent demonstrators. Protesters then barricaded the area as others settled in a nearby park.
Mayor Jenny Durkan initially supported the protest calling it “a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world.” The city even donated bathrooms, sanitation stations, and barriers to help fortify the area.
However, the zone descended into chaos with multiple shootings occurring in the evening and late-night hours last weekend and into early this week.
Patty Eakes, who is representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit told Durkan in a letter that she requests the mayor provide a timeline for clearing out the protests and returning police to the area. If the mayor refuses the letter states that the plaintiffs will ask a court for an immediate order that full public access to the area is restored.
The lawsuit, filed in US District Court, gave instances of resident and property owners being threatened for taking pictures in public areas or for cleaning graffiti off their businesses.
A family-run manufacturing company Richmark Label, said that can’t send or receive packages because delivery companies won’t go anywhere near the protest zone and that their loading dock has been blocked by barricades.
Magdalena Sky, a tattoo parlor, said they are sympathetic to the cause but their business is almost nonexistent because people will not enter the zone.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages for lost business, property damage and deprivation of their property rights and want restoration of full public access.
Reports are coming out of the zone that most people are starting to leave. The protestors leaving are stating that the zone is becoming too dangerous however, a hardcore group has refused to leave the area.
This resident isn’t waiting for the lawsuit he just started tearing things down.
10/10 table flip https://t.co/chFMYW8jLa
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) June 25, 2020