WASHINGTON D.C. – Brian Moran, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, issued a statement early Thursday, September 17th.
After tons of media rumors… he had no choice.
In his release, he completely denied the claim that Attorney General William Barr asked federal prosecutors to explore whether they could bring criminal charges against Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan for allowing the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) police-free protest zone.
William Barr wanted DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to explore bringing charges against Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin, a former top federal prosecutor, for allowing residents to set up a police-free zone. @ktbenner: https://t.co/COydCTtBuk
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) September 17, 2020
Moran, who claims he has had multiple conversations with leadership within the Department of Justice, said:
“at no time has anyone at the Department communicated to me that Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is, was, or should be charged with any federal crime [related to CHOP].”
“As U.S. Attorney I would be aware of such an investigation,”
According to FoxNews, on Wednesday, September 16th, the New York Times reported that Barr directed the Justice Department’s civil rights division to consider criminal charges against the Democratic mayor.
She’s the mayor who publicly sparred with President Trump and repeatedly denied federal help to quell the unrest in her city. A department spokesman told the paper that Barr did not direct the civil rights division to explore this idea.
It is also reported that in a call with the U.S. attorney last week, Barr suggested that federal prosecutors consider charging rioters and other violent actors with federal charges, including sedition.
Breaking News: Attorney General William Barr is said to have suggested sedition charges over violence at protests, as well as possible charges for the Seattle mayor. https://t.co/qLofTr9BQo
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 17, 2020
Federal sedition charges apply to two or more people who “conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force” the U.S. government, and carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Durkan issued her own statement in light of the Times’ report. She said the report was:
“chilling and the latest abuse of power from the Trump administration.”
“Ultimately, this is not a story about me. It is about how this President and his Attorney General are willing to subvert the law and use the Department of Justice for political purposes.
It is particularly egregious to try to use the civil rights laws to investigate, intimidate, or deter those that are fighting for civil rights in our country,”
This report is chilling and the latest abuse of power from the Trump administration. This is not a story about me. It’s about the how this President and his Attorney General are willing to subvert the law and use the DOJ for political purposes.https://t.co/vPJJwuB5az
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) September 17, 2020
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Lawsuits have begun piling up against Durkan, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee for what transpired at CHOP.
SEATTLE, WA – The lawsuits are starting to pile up for both Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee over their handling of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone in downtown Seattle, the site of two recent fatal shootings.
Washington attorney Jacob Bozeman recently filed a suit against Durkan and Inslee, both Democrats, over CHOP, part of a Seattle neighborhood where protesters calling for racial justice have tried to create a police-free zone, according to Fox Business.
Not only does Bozeman say the city allowed it, he claims they helped create it by installing barricades and bathrooms. He told KIRO 7:
“To abdicate the authority to an unelected, unauthorized and armed group of people to decide who can come and go, who can be searched and seized, and under what portions of the city you can come and go from, for fear of physical retaliation against you, is unconstitutional.”
Bozeman, who has practiced law for 29 years and visited CHOP twice, told Fox Business:
“Allowing a group of people to say who comes, who goes, that’s a violation of the 1st, 4th and 14th Amendments.
“Damage has been done to all the citizens who wanted to exercise their free rights.”
Bozeman, who said several additional people are interested in joining the lawsuit against the mayor and governor, asked:
“What if every special interest group wanted to take over a portion of the city?
“I can’t understand how anybody could say the mayor and the governor of the state should abdicate their enforcement authority … to just give that up to an armed group of people who aren’t elected.”
Bozeman told Fox Business:
“I certainly felt danger, a very well-founded danger of physical violence against me if I were to do anything that wasn’t down with the program.”
King 5 reported that the Seattle City Attorney would “review this complaint and respond accordingly.”
The mayor also faces an additional class-action lawsuit filed on June 24 by several area businesses, property owners and residents, who claim that she and other leaders allowed lawlessness to fester and take over a portion of the city, thus depriving them of their rights to their property and making them feel unsafe.
The plaintiffs include a tattoo parlor, auto repair shop and property management firm, and the lawsuit stated:
“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.”
In the class-action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, about a dozen businesses, residents and property owners claimed they were threatened for photographing protesters in public areas or for cleaning graffiti off their storefronts, according to AP News.
The owner of the auto shop Car Tender said a burglar broke in the night of June 14, started a fire using hand sanitizer as an accelerant and then attacked his son with a knife when confronted.
The owner and his son extinguished the fire and detained the burglar, the lawsuit said, but police never responded to their 911 calls. A large crowd of “CHOP participants” visited the business and forced the owner to release the arsonist.
Other businesses, including the family-run label manufacturing company Richmark Label, said they were unable to send or receive packages because delivery companies would not go near the protest zone or because access to their loading dock had been blocked by barricades, according to AP News.
In the lawsuit, Magdalena Sky, the proprietor of Tattoos and Fortune, said she is a supporter of Black Lives Matter, but that her business lost a lot of money due to the protest. A physical therapist and wine shop also complained clients or customers had been afraid to enter the area, reported AP News:
“The complaint said that the city’s decision to turn over the blocks and a nearby park to the demonstrators deprived them of their property rights without due process and amounted to an illegal gift of public property to the protesters.”
The plaintiffs are seeking damages for lost business, property damage and deprivation of their property rights as well as the restoration of full public access, according to AP News.
Bozeman wants a federal court order to prevent another protest zone and told KIRO 7:
“Seattle has, for some time perpetuated a culture where people come in and basically do what they want, destroy property, riot, if you will, and now they’ve got this idea it is part of their civil right to take over a portion of the city.”
Father of teen murdered in ‘autonomous zone’ receives condolences from President Trump, yet no word from Seattle’s mayor
Seattle, Washington – In the weeks following the murder of 19-year-old Horace Lorenzo Anderson Jr., a grieving father was left with more questions than answers – and he’s not even received a single word or condolence from the very city’s mayor that allowed CHOP to run amok which led to a young man being killed.
The father of Horace Lorenzo Anderson Jr., a 19-year-old shot and killed in Seattle in a police-free zone formed amid protests over police killing of George Floyd, says he got a condolence call from Trump yesterday.https://t.co/d7UUef23df
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) July 3, 2020
Yet, President Donald Trump personally reached out to this grieving father on July 2nd – on the day that father buried his son.
The 50-year-old father, Horace Lorenzo Anderson Sr., stated the following about the interaction with the president:
“Incredibly, Donald Trump called me. The President of the United States called me today. He gave his condolences, and me, I’m not a political guy. I told him, ‘Nobody like you.’ I’m real. Donald Trump called me and he didn’t have to call me.”
Hundreds were said to have gathered during the services held in Kent, Washington on July 2nd. The father of the slain young man described the pain he’s be experiencing while coping with the loss of his son:
“I haven’t been able to sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night. I go look for him. He ain’t there.”
Horace Lorenzo Anderson, Jr. left behind his father, Horace Lorenzo Anderson, Sr. Remember his sleepless face, his tears, and his pleas that PEACE replace anger, division, and violence. No father should have to bury his son. 🙏Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images pic.twitter.com/EJ0d6FwYnA
— Kyrie Remark (@KyrieRemark) July 1, 2020
Anderson Jr. was shot dead on June 20th, yet the CHOP area in Seattle where he was killed was virtually left undisturbed for weeks after. When the shooting occurred, neither police nor paramedics responded to the area, citing concerns over the occupants present at the time.
Young Anderson’s father was deeply troubled at how his son was simply hauled off by those present at CHOP, who delivered him to a hospital where he was pronounced dead:
“My son, he needed help. And they shouldn’t be picking kids up and throwing them in their trunk and taking them to the hospital. The paramedics should have been there. The police should have been there.”
During an appearance on Fox New’s show Hannity on July 1st, Anderson Sr. commented on how there wasn’t any communication from officials about his son’s murder in the weeks that followed:
“It’s like they didn’t care, it didn’t matter. I haven’t heard from the mayor from the police department. No city. Nobody.”
This is absolutely heartbreaking and one of the most powerful interviews I’ve seen. I’ll not forget Horace Lorenzo Anderson Sr. and his son, Jr. This man didn’t get a briefing. He has to bury his son who died in the streets of America as a civilian in Seattle. Life is treasure.🙏 pic.twitter.com/BrHLULXS9M
— Bonnie Chambers (@BonnieC919) July 2, 2020
The victim’s cousin, 19-year-old Abrionna Anderson, said the following about her cousin during the services held on July 2nd:
“I have no other friends like that, honestly. Every day we were together. My home was his second home and it’s so heartbreaking to me.”
To date, there have been no arrests made with regard to the murder of Anderson Jr., with no indication if there are any suspects or persons of interest with the case.
While the CHOP area has been cleared out since the murder last month, it’s unclear how much evidence was gathered or preserved following the young man’s death.
The existence of the CHOP/CHAZ zone should have never gone on as long as it did, while Mayor Durkan described it as the “summer of love” on June 11th, a father had to watch a situation go unchecked for nearly two weeks after his son was murdered.
We at Law Enforcement Today would like to extend our prayers to this father. No father should have to lose their son like this, but to be kept in the dark without so much as a call from officials for nearly weeks is simply abhorrent.
It took 11 days after the murder of Anderson Jr. for Mayor Durkan to finally do something about the CHOP zone – Law Enforcement Today reported on the clearing of the area that took place on July 1st.
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