SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department confirmed Friday to the Daily Caller that there are plans to re-take its East Precinct currently at the center of the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) and that officers are currently in the building.
Some activists within CHAZ, a roughly six-block residential space that has been dubbed a cop free zone, said Thursday evening that officers had returned to the building and remained inside. A group of officers were allowed back to the area to assess the building Thursday.
“We do have officers in the precinct, “Mark Jamieson of the Seattle Police public affairs office confirmed to the Daily Caller. (RELATED: Seattle Mayor: CHAZ Is ‘More Like A Block Party’ Than An ‘Armed Takeover’)
Jamieson added that “there are plans to get [all] officers back into the precinct.” Currently, not all officers assigned to the East Precinct have returned. The police officers at the precinct “are assessing the building,” he said.
The East Precinct has been renamed “Seattle People Department” and “The Property of the People” by activists who have stressed that cops are not welcome at the now warded-off residential area.
Democratic Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan indicated Thursday that the Seattle Police Department was mapping out a plan to return to the precinct. Police Chief Carmen Best denied making the call for officers to abandon the precinct, saying Thursday that they are “still evaluating” how that decision was made.
“We were asked to do an operational plan in case we needed to leave,” Best said Thursday, ultimately saying that the city caved to protesters. “The decision was made. We’re still evaluating about how that change came about but it didn’t come from me.”
“You should know, leaving the precinct was not my decision,” Best added, according to Yahoo. “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.”
Best said that there have been increased calls and reports of “rapes, robberies, and all sorts of violent acts” in the area. Durkan called the situation an example of “patriotism,” adding that the people inside the zone are lawfully gathering and expressing free speech, USA Today reported.
Officers returning to the precinct Thursday were met with mixed reactions to members within the zone, Townhall’s Julio Rosas tweeted.
Tensions are high in the CHAZ after some officers came in to enter the East Precinct. Some in the crowd wanted to make sure nothing happened to the officers. Others wanted to prevent the officers from entering the zone. Arguments are breaking out amongst the crowd. pic.twitter.com/uKYLrUEycl
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 11, 2020
“Tensions are high in the CHAZ after some officers came in to enter the East Precinct,” according to Rosas. “Some in the crowd wanted to make sure nothing happened to the officers. Others wanted to prevent the officers from entering the zone.”