Seattle police remove concrete barriers outside East Precinct
The Seattle Police Department says the concrete barriers around the East Precinct have been removed.
The concrete barriers had surrounded the precinct since last August, and the SPD had announced in early April that it would start removing them. According to a previous statement released by SPD, the decision to move the barriers was largely driven by concerns voiced by “Capitol Hill residents, business owners and community leaders.”
Due to previous damage at the East Precinct, including several attempted arsons, the SPD says that the windows will still be covered with plywood and the building will be fenced.
The department had said in April that it 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.”
The reduced security perimeter without the concrete barriers will allow foot and bike traffic to resume around the precinct.
“We know now is a pivotal moment for our department, and we know the barriers around the precinct have been a stark visual reminder of the rifts that exist in our city,” the SPD Blotter reads. “We know our department has more work to do, and we look forward to the challenge of strengthening our relationships in our communities.”
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 had remained in place since.