SPD Chief Best: ‘There is going to be a reckoning’ in resolving CHOP
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best spoke to CNN Sunday, stating that in her opinion, it’s time for the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) to leave.
Best’s interview was prior to a Monday morning shooting, which marked the fourth such event in the CHOP area in the last week and a half. Over that period, two victims have died, while at least five others have been injured.
“The time has come for us to bring this to a close as soon as we reasonably can,” Chief Best said.
Last Friday, workers from the Seattle Department of Transportation showed up early in the morning in an attempt to remove barricades from the area. Several demonstrators stood in the way of construction vehicles, curtailing those efforts.
Shortly after that, Mayor Jenny Durkan met with a collection of hand-picked organizers to discuss the next steps for the protest. No agreements were reached between Durkan and the assembled demonstrators.
The hope from Best and others is to work with CHOP protesters to resolve the situation.
“We’re going to do as much as we can to work with the folks who are left, but we recognize that at some point there is going to be a reckoning for how we can get this resolved,” she said.
When asked what compromises she’d be willing to offer, though, Best did not provide specific details.
“I think part of it is that this is not a mutual difference here,” she answered. “We need to get back into our precinct, we need to open up the streets, we need to be able to provide public safety. Those who want to demonstrate and protest … we want to support them doing that, but not blocking our precinct and not blocking the public access-way.”
Mayor Durkan intimated Sunday that she plans to “meet with Chief Best to continue our work to move forward on many ideas, including how we reimagine policing.”
The main demands from protesters in the CHOP have been three-fold: To defund SPD by 50%, provide funding for black communities, and free all protesters arrested during demonstrations in recent weeks.
Addressing the media Monday morning, SPD Chief Carmen Best stated that “enough is enough.”
“This isn’t safe for anybody,” she said, emphasizing the need for CHOP protesters to leave. “We want people to move out of the area. Continue your peaceful demonstration in a place where you’re not affecting public safety.”