Residents living what’s become the Seattle “autonomous zone” scared because “cops won’t come” (Op-ed)


SEATTLE, WA – The world’s newest country, er territory, er…autonomous zone formerly known as CHAZ, now known as CHOP, is not off to a great start .

Residents in the area are expressing concern over their safety, which has led some to leave the area, while others live in constant fear. 

We’ve actually given some thought to the ever-evolving encampment of anarchists, potheads, homeless people, and general miscreants and have come up with some possible new name changes.

These two came to mind: Seattle Hippie Insurrection Training, otherwise known as SHIT or Dumbass Occupied Protest Encampment of Seattle, or DOPES.

One resident said, “I’m mainly scared because I know cops won’t come, I know fire trucks can’t come in. No government has contacted any residents,” according to one neighbor to the area, speaking to KIRO-7.

He explained that he and others have relocated to other areas–including friends’ homes and hotels–due to increasing concerns.

Call it the law of unintended consequences. If you swim with the sharks, expect to get bit. The neighbor said, “I was protesting prior to the opening of CHOP or CHAZ but now I don’t know what I’m really supporting if I were to go to CHAZ or linger around, because it’s a different movement,” he said, requesting anonymity.

Well, let’s spell it out for you- I  N  S  U  R  R  E  C  T  I  O  N.

“Even if I want to move out, I can’t move out because I can’t even bring a moving truck there,” he told the station. “Hence why I moved to a hotel yesterday; I’ll be staying there for at least a week, but I have no idea what’s next.”

Mr. Anonymous was not alone in expressing his concerns. In one case, the owner of a business, John McDermott said this week that he had called 911 several times in order to report a burglary, and claimed that none showed up.

McDermott, who co-owns Car Tender on Capitol Hill said:

“There were no police officers on scene ever. And I was here all night long,” he said.

He noted that he did temporarily detain the suspect with his son, according to King 5:

McDermott and his son detained the burglar and were able to put out the fire themselves, but eventually, let the man go. A video, live-streamed online, shows a mob of protesters from the CHOP taking custody of the man and searching him—they also let him go.

When asked about the situation directly Monday afternoon, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said her officers didn’t have a good contact number for the business owner. In an email, an SPD spokesperson said a police report was taken of the incident.

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Chief Best added that the police will only respond inside the boundaries of the CHOP if there is a direct threat to life and safety.

“We’re just trying to run a small business, make a living, be good members of society, and try to be good neighbors to the neighborhood and I think we’ve really been let down by the mayor’s office, the Seattle Police Department and the fire department,” McDermott added.

This is what you get when you have a clueless mayor, Jenny Durkan, an even more clueless governor in Jay Inslee, and a police chief who is apparently afraid to do her job in Chief Carmen Best.

Best acknowledged last week that Seattle officers hadn’t been responding to “rapes, robberies, and all sorts of violent acts” occurring in Seattle’s East Precinct due to the police evacuating the precinct in the autonomous zone.

“These are responses to emergency calls—rapes, robberies, and all sorts of violent acts that have been occurring in the area that we’re not able to get to,” she said.

Well Chief, since you ABANDONED the police precinct in that zone, what exactly were you expecting to happen?

Best walked back her comments last Monday on CNN telling Chris Cuomo that there is not a “police free” zone in Seattle and saying that the police were “still responding to every single call in every area of the city.”

She did acknowledge that the barriers, which incidentally were put in place BY the city at the behest of Mayor Jenny Durkan, did serve as an obstacle and were preventing the department from “going in as quickly and as efficiently as we’d like to.”

“And certainly, because we’re not in the precinct, response times across the entire east precinct area have increased,” she said.

KIRO-7 in Seattle said that barriers were now being removed by both the Seattle Department of Transportation and the Seattle Fire Department.

The news outlet noted that, “the changes will partially open up some roads around the access zone for residents, delivery drivers, and emergency vehicles.”

Still, according to Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, 18 residents of the Packard Building Apartments have formed a list of joint safety and security concerns, which they plan on forwarding to Durkan, the Seattle City Council, as well as other city department officials. They noted that at least five residents have moved out of the building just in the past 48 hours.

The resident, who chose to remain anonymous, told the blog:

“People that are coming out here and participating, whether it was during the protests or during the occupation now, they have the option of opting out. They can choose when to come here and when to leave, and if they want to go home to their other neighborhood and have a good night’s rest, they get to choose that,” the resident said.

“We don’t get to choose how we participate in this and we have no say of what’s gong on or any of the outcomes, and so I think there’s a growing frustration or uncertainty of what’s going to happen and how it’s directly impacting the permanent residents.”

The resident also said there appears to be somewhat of a power struggle going on amongst those within the occupied area and said that there are “arguments amongst different groups of occupiers down there that have escalated to the point where I’m afraid that it’s going to become violent.”

Still, for all the whining this particular resident seems to emanate, he/she seems to still think it’s better than having police in the area.

“What we have now is a million times better than being occupied by the police and the National Guard,” the resident said. “That was an absolutely terrifying experience that we’re still experiencing trauma and anxiety from.”

We have no words.

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