A dozen-plus Seattle businesses are suing the city over its handling of the so-called 'CHOP' zone...
Earlier this month, the six-block section of the city's Capitol Hill area was taken over by protesters and dubbed the 'Capitol Hill Occupied Protest', or CHOP. The class-action lawsuit claims the city left businesses to face property damage, lost revenue, and dangerous conditions, while continuing to offer support to protesters.
“The result of the City’s actions has been lawlessness,” Calfo Eakes LLP, the law firm representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “There is no public safety presence. Police officers will not enter the area unless it is a life-or-death situation, and even in those situations, the response is delayed and muted, if it comes at all.”
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An attorney says the lawsuit isn't meant to interfere with the Black Lives Matter movement, or the message of the protests themselves.
“Rather, this lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of plaintiffs — businesses, employees, and residents in and around CHOP — which have been overrun by the city of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public at large,” the lawsuit said.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has already announced her plans to return police to the area and gradually end the protest.
“The cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the nighttime atmosphere and violence has led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents,” Durkan said. “The impacts have increased and the safety has decreased.”
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