PHOTOS, VIDEOS: Seattle police clear CHOP zone after mayor’s executive order

Per Michael Crowe:

Police have cleared #CHOP to Pike

Per Joseph Suttner:

This is what’s left of the #CHOP as of 7:18 am…

A look at the East Precinct of the Seattle Police Department. Police have taken control of this precinct again. A lot of cleanup will need to happen before police can move into the building once again.

GMA reports following “ongoing violence and public safety issues,” Seattle’s mayor has issued an executive order to clear the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone — a several block, autonomous police-free zone — and Seattle police enforced the order Wednesday morning.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said in a statement, “This order, and our police response, comes after weeks of violence in and around the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone, including four shootings, resulting in multiple injuries and the deaths of two teenagers.”

“I support peaceful demonstrations,” Best said, adding, “the CHOP has become lawless and brutal. Four shootings — two fatal — robberies, assaults, violence and countless property crimes have occurred in this several block area.”

Seattle Parks and Recreations issued the following statement Tuesday:

Today, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is temporarily closing Cal Anderson Park to the public at 12 pm to allow City crews to assess damage and clean up areas that have seen significant waste collection. At this time, no changes will be made to the community garden or art installed by demonstrators.

The City’s goal remains to create safe spaces for residents to express their first amendment rights, while also preserving the public safety and public health of the area. The aim is for Cal Anderson to be restored and repaired for future demonstrations and other park uses. SPR will begin to repair damage from newly created fires pits, graffiti, fencing, vehicles on the reservoir, impacts to the lawns and the play field, and other infrastructure.

Today staff will focus on removing litter, assessing the park and critical reservoir infrastructure to see what larger cleaning or repair efforts will need to take place in the coming days. Since last Tuesday, City departments including SPU, SPR, the Human Services Department, along with service providers have been on site to provide a wide range of social services to help individuals with needs move out of Capitol Hill area, and if experiencing homelessness, provide access to shelter or temporary housing (services have included: health care, food resources, access to COVID-19 testing, and mental and behavioral supports).

Over the weekend, artists and demonstrators began cataloging and removing plywood to preserve art for future installations. Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Office of Arts & Culture will be working with a range of stakeholders to memorialize aspects of the community protests, such as a garden, art and speaker’s corner at Cal Anderson Park.

Unless there are any incidents, SPD is not expected to be at Cal Anderson Park.