Seattle police say they are not responding to calls for assistance while reportedly armed protesters operate checkpoints and have declared a portion of the city as “cop-free” and an “autonomous zone.”
The area is called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) by the forces who have occupied it, KOMO News reported Thursday morning.
Antifa-affiliated groups seized control of the neighborhood, according to the City-Journal, which also reports that they set up barricades with a cardboard sign declaring “you are now leaving the USA.”
President Donald Trump has called the activists “domestic terrorists” and as urged Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to deal with the problem in her backyard, Durkan told Trump Thursday to “to go back to your bunker.” Trump urged both the Washington governor and mayor to “take back your city NOW.”
Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2020
The “liberated” area is situated around the precinct that police abandoned Monday night as rioting engulfed the city. A Minneapolis police precinct went up in flames when protests, rioting and looting rocked that city in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
The police are attempting to link up with the “leaders” of the autonomous zone in order to make some kind of accommodation and bring police back into the area, Seattle Assistant Police Chief Deanna Nolette told KOMO. (RELATED: Seattle Councilmember Says She Can’t Figure Out Why ‘Looting Bothers People’ When People Are ‘Dying Every Day)
Nolette reportedly said that police are not responding to calls for assistance.
“Right now, we are on priority calls only, which means the people, city wide who need a police response are not receiving it,” Nolette said. “That to us is just not acceptable”.
Nolette did not explain why police are refusing most calls when asked by KOMO.
She claimed the protesters are operating checkpoints with armed guards.
“While Washington is an open carry state, there is no legal right for those arms to be used to intimidate community members,” Nolette said. (RELATED: Activist Who Helped Create ‘Police No Go Zone‘ Complains When Food Is Stolen)
“We have heard anecdotally of citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area, this is crime of extortion,” Nolette told KOMO.
Activist spokesman Raz Simone told KOMO that the situation is serene.
“You look around its peaceful everyone is chill,” said Raz Simone, who also denied there was any intimidation and “definitely no extortion, definitely nothing of that. We’ve invited people to come in.”
Calls to abolish or defund the police have become a staple of protest across the nation and political dogma for Black Lives Matter who view the police as systemically racist.