OAN Roy Francis
10:09 AM PT – Saturday, February 25, 2023
The city of Seattle has agreed to settle a lawsuit with more than a dozen residents and business owners over how the city had handled the 2020 “autonomous zone.”
According to the Seattle Times, attorney Angelo Calfo said that the businesses and residents of the affected area will “now be compensated for the City’s mishandling of CHOP that resulted in a significant increase in crime and even loss of life.”
After nearly three years, the city is paying out a total of $3.65 million to various business owners and residents. This includes $600,000 in penalties over the mishandling and attempted cover up by city leaders.
During 2020 protestors had taken over the police department’s east precinct and resisted police officers, preventing them from entering the enclosed area.
The protest camp originally came to be known as “CHOP” or the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.” The encampment received national attention as fatal shootings started unfolding, one of the victims being a 16-year-old boy.
The rioters who occupied the area had released a list of demands towards city officials which included abolishing imprisonment and releasing inmate put in prison for incidents involving marijuana.
The police gathered and cleared the area on July 1st, 2020, ending the protesters’ occupation. After the events, and during the ensuing investigation, city officials like former Mayor Jenny Durkan and former Police Chief Carmen Best had been found to have deleted thousands of texts messages regarding the zone, as well as efforts of covering up certain aspects of it.
“As the federal court judge found, our clients’ lawsuit exposed the cover-up of its highest-ranking officials who destroyed their text communications with each other,” Calfo said.
Business owners and residents of the area who were affected by the incidents held the city responsible for the destruction and violence that the protesters had caused.
While the riots were happening in 2020, the mayor had declared that the protests were peaceful and that the city was experiencing a “summer of love.”
At the end of 2020, Seattle had seen a stark rise in homicide. In 2020, 50 homicides were recorded, almost double the amount from 2019 which was 31.
City attorney Anne Davison released a statement about the results of the lawsuit, she said that she is ” pleased that we were able to resolve this matter and turn a page from a difficult period in the city’s history.”