Seattle’s KOMO News—the local ABC affiliate—is reporting that as protesters have continued gathering outside the abandoned Police Department’s East Precinct building “there’s concern among some who have visited that the message behind Black Lives Matter has been hijacked.”
The story noted that the African American Community Advisory Council came to the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) to support Police Chief Carmen Best. However, they were reportedly met with boos and other people grabbed microphones and talked over them.
This could represent some discord between groups of protesters who began demonstrating against police across the country nearly two weeks ago following the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, while under restraint by police there. Protests turned violent in Seattle and other cities early in the process that led to the occupation of six blocks of mixed residential and small business property on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.
Fox News reported that a woman from the advisory council told a crowd Thursday, “The thing is, you have hijacked this! You have taken the meaning away!”
There were boos in response, according to reports.
Black Lives Matter is hosting a silent march Friday afternoon, and a group called Seattle Indivisible set down some guidelines that included this: “WHITE PEOPLE, you are following today, in support, so make sure you’re at the back of the march.”
In a story at MyNorthwest.com aimed at “debunking myths” about the CHAZ, it is being reported that Chief Best is “walking back” earlier reports that there had been armed protesters checking IDs and trying to assess fees from local businesses. She is now saying the department did not have “any formal reports of this occurring,” even though that’s what was stated during a Wednesday press event with Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette.
“We’ve heard, anecdotally, reports of citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area,” Nollette said Wednesday. “This is the crime of extortion. If anyone has been subjected to this, we need them to call 911.”
“Businesses contacted in the area have also roundly denied it,” MyNorthwest is now reporting, “with one saying that ‘for the police chief to engage in this fear mongering is bad for our city.’”
In a tweet, Optimism Brewing Company, said this: “That is absurd. Perpetuating rumors like this is only going to make guests not want to visit and hurt our businesses. For the police chief to engage in this fear mongering is bad for our city. We hadn’t felt safe to reopen UNTIL the police stood down.”
At this point, it is becoming difficult to tell truth from fiction.
The Washington Examiner published an editorial Friday that predicted the CHAZ “experiment in lawless self-governance will end in tears.” Noting that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan have reacted negatively to threats from President Donald Trump to “fix” the problem in Seattle if they don’t, the Examiner summed it up:
“If threats are what it takes for Inslee to take back the city from armed insurrectionists — insurrectionists, by the way, whom nobody would tolerate were they members of a right-wing cause — then perhaps the president should continue leveling threats of federal intervention. The peaceful, law-abiding citizens of Seattle deserve at least that much. They deserve to have back the territories that make up the autonomous zone, which is firmly in the control of protesters, none of whom were elected to any office by any voter.”
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