AG Barr congratulates police on expelling Seattle protesters
Attorney General William Barr had nothing but praise for Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best and her department after they expelled anarchists from Seattle’s downtown area known as Capitol Hill (CHOP). The protesters, who took over the area in early June, were often violent, seeking to create an “autonomous zone” that did not include police.
“I commend Police Chief Carmen Best for her courage and leadership in restoring the rule of law in Seattle,” said Barr in statement.
“For the past several weeks,” Barr said, “the Capitol Hill area of Seattle was occupied by protesters who denied access to police and other law enforcement personnel. Unsurprisingly, the area became a haven for violent crime, including shootings that claimed the lives of two young people, assaults, and robberies.”
Police report that there were 65 crimes inside the zone since the June 8 occupation of the area by anarchist groups and BLM protesters. Police were forced to abandon the area as progressive politicians, including Seattle’s mayor, tried to curry favor with protesters. Since then, the criminal offenses occurring in the zone include aggravated assault, larceny-theft, rape and two homicides, according to KING 5 news.
Officers, led by bicycle cops, slowly pushed forward through the downtown area yesterday until they had reclaimed the downtown area for the city.
“The Seattle Police Department basically reclaimed the precinct in less than 30 minutes, 5 feet at a time with the bicycle officers out in front,” said Omari Salisbury, a reporter with Seattle’s Converge Media, says KING 5 news, the local NBC affiliate.
Protesters who failed to decamp were arrested for failure to disperse, obstruction, resisting arrest and assault.
“One of the arrestees, was a 29-year-old man, was in possession of a large metal pipe and kitchen knife when he was taken into custody,” says a Seattle police chief.
Previously, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan had called the establishment of the zone a potential “Summer of Love,” harkening back to 1967 and Haight-Ashbury when thousands of teenagers converged in San Francisco to take drugs and make love.
This summer in Seattle didn’t end as happily.
“The CHOP has become lawless and brutal,” Seattle Chief of Police Carmen Best said as the officers cleared the area, wearing tactical gear.
Barr pointedly did not mention Mayor Jenny Durkan in his statement. The Trump administration, including Barr, has been highly critical of her handling of the protests.
“The message of today’s action is simple but significant: the Constitution protects the right to speak and assemble freely, but it provides no right to commit violence or defy the law, and such conduct has no place in a free society governed by law,” concluded Barr.
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