Business owners, residents sue city over formation of CHOP

Jun 25, 2020, 12:00 PM

Lawsuit CHOP, Seattle activists...

Barriers in front of the CHOP. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Local business owners and residents filed a class action lawsuit against the City of Seattle Wednesday, alleging the city created conditions that led to “extensive harm” done by the CHOP.

Future of CHOP ‘fluid’ as protesters mull next steps

The lawsuit claims that the city denied businesses and residents of their constitutional right to access their properties through policies that allowed CHOP protesters to move in and occupy the area.

That includes the decision to evacuate the neighborhood’s East Precinct, and then allegedly choosing “to actively endorse, enable, and participate in the occupation” through support in the form of barricades, medical equipment, portable sinks and other hygiene services.

Plaintiffs include Car Tender, Bergman’s Lock and Key, Sage Physical Therapy, Northwest Wine and Liquor, and others, as well as a handful of local residents.

The lawsuit also notes that while it objects to the fallout from the CHOP’s formation, it still “does not seek to undermine CHOP participants’ message or present a counter-message.”

“Rather, this lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of … 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 reads.

Ross: What Seattle’s CHOP protesters have ignored

The complaint relates more to what plaintiffs describe as “widespread destruction and vandalism of private property” they claim was enabled by the city.

While asking the city to pay out damages, the lawsuit stops short of requesting that officials compel CHOP protesters to disperse.

“The rights of free speech and to peaceably assemble are enshrined in our constitutional tradition,” it clarifies. “Plaintiffs support the free speech rights of many of those who have gathered on Capitol Hill to form (the CHOP).”

You can read the lawsuit in its entirety below:

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Business owners, residents sue city over formation of CHOP