Seattle Police Chief Says Abandoning Precinct ‘Was Not My Decision’

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Phillip Nieto Contributor
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Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, in a Thursday address, told officers that it was not her decision to abandon the East Police Precinct located in what protesters are now calling the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.”

The “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” formed after the Seattle Police Department evacuated the East Precinct Monday giving way for protesters to set up barricades, and signs near the Zone’s entrance that read, “You are now leaving the USA.”

After days of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, Seattle police boarded up and left the East Precinct building Monday night – and then a crowd of protesters set up barricades in the surrounding area, declaring it an “autonomous” and “cop-free zone.”

Images of the barricades show hand-written messages including “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” and “You are now leaving the USA.”

“You should know, leaving the precinct was not my decision,” Best said in the address. “You fought for days to protect it. I asked you to stand on that line. Day in and day out, to be pelted with projectiles, to be screamed at, threatened and in some cases hurt. Then to have a change of course nearly two weeks in, it seems like an insult to you and our community.”

“Ultimately the city had other plans for the building and relented to public pressure. I’m angry about how this all came about.” (RELATED: No Police, Extortion Of Private Businesses: Inside The Latest On Seattle’s Downtown ‘Autonomous Zone’)


“We had solid information to believe anti-government groups would destroy the precinct when we left,” Best added. “The station is still standing. No officers were hurt, no force was used.”

She continued concluding, “We have heard there are armed people ‘patrolling’ the streets near 12th and Pine. Of course, this is very concerning, especially because we don’t know who these people are. “We’ve also received reports these armed people may be demanding payment from business owners in exchange for protection. We’ve also heard they may be demanding to see identification from people who live in the area.”