SPD announces plans to remove concrete wall surrounding Capitol Hill’s East Precinct
The Seattle Police Department announced Friday that it will soon begin work to remove concrete barriers that have surrounded its East Precinct since last August.
According to a brief statement released by SPD, this decision was largely driven by concerns voiced by “Capitol Hill residents, business owners and community leaders.”
The wall will instead be replaced by less-intrusive temporary fencing “to reduce obstacles between officers and the people we serve.” SPD will also be replacing broken windows, covering them with plywood in the interim.
The department hopes the plywood and fencing “can also soon be removed” sometime in the near future, but “the timeline for that work will depend on whether the building again becomes a target for arson and property damage.”
“It is the Department’s hope to fully re-open the East Precinct to our neighbors as soon as possible,” SPD added.
Last summer, the East Precinct area became ground zero for protests in Seattle following the death of George Floyd. SPD temporarily abandoned the East Precinct in June, leading to the creation of the now-infamous Capitol Hill Occupied Protest. After four shootings over a 10-day period in or around the CHOP, police cleared demonstrators from the area in early July.
During a protest later on in the summer, demonstrators attempted to set fire to the precinct building, using what appeared to be quick-dry cement to seal one of the exits. Days later, SPD installed the six-foot-tall concrete barriers that have remained in place ever since.
In January, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced her office was “in conversation” with SPD to remove the East Precinct wall, although both the department and her office had remained quiet on their progress since then.