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Carmen Best, CHOP
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With CHOP dismantled, Capitol Hill resident ‘feeling relieved’

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best addressing the media, after officers took back the East Precinct. (Getty Images)

As Seattle police officers dismantled the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) early Wednesday morning and dispersed protesters, Seattle’s Morning News spoke to resident and KING 5 producer Joseph Suttner to get his perspective as it happened and what it was like living there. How did it feel watching it transpire?

“I am feeling relieved. We kind of, through social media, had caught wind that we thought police would be rolling in this morning. … When the police finally showed up they had their bicycles and all the riot gear on, and they were just kind of slowly walking through the CHOP, pushing people south bound, telling them to move on, disperse or be arrested,” he said.

“It didn’t seem to get too violent. The whole thing happened probably within 15 minutes.”

With recent shootings and businesses noting that they’ve been having trouble operating, did Suttner feel unsafe in the area?

“I did feel unsafe. So the one that happened just like two nights ago, I think, I woke up at 3 a.m. to all that gunfire, which was right in front of my apartment when that 16 year-old boy was shot and killed,” he said.

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“I wasn’t afraid of the CHOP protesters, and they did not make me feel unsafe, it was the fear of escalation of conflict when people that don’t get along with them come in. That’s what made everyone nervous.”

Did anybody ever ask how he felt about the occupation? And did he get a sense of what the neighborhood thought about this?

“The sentiment in the neighborhood is really mixed because a lot of people here want to end police brutality, … it’s tough when this movement started with something that had a clear mission, and then on the surface kind of seemed to devolve a little bit into something different,” Suttner said. “That’s when people really got concerned about public safety.”

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But he’s a bit concerned with the police coming back as well.

“I don’t really feel safe with them here either,” he said. “I mean, before all this went down, there was the tear gas and everything coming into our apartments. You don’t have to either be for the CHOP or for police, you could be somewhere in the middle, and that’s where I am.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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