24 images Created 25 Sep 2022
CHOP- Seattle - June 2020
On June of 2020 I travelled to Seattle to cover an area taken over by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and ANTIFA. The Capitol Hill Occupied Protest or the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), originally Free Capitol Hill and later the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), was an occupation protest and self-declared autonomous zone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The zone, originally covering two intersections at the corners of Cal Anderson Park and the roads leading up to them, was established on June 8, 2020, by George Floyd protesters after the Seattle Police Department (SPD) abandoned its East Precinct building. On June 7, the SPD reported that the crowd was throwing rocks, bottles, and fireworks, and were shining green lasers into officers' eyes. The next day, SPD boarded up its building and moved out of the East Precinct in an effort to de-escalate the situation. Seattle police Chief Carmen Best reiterated that it wasn’t her decision to abandon the precinct. The zone was a self-organized space, without official leadership. Protesters asserted three main demands: 1.) Cut Seattle's $409-million police budget by 50%. 2.) Shift funding to community programs and services in historically black communities. 3.) Ensure that protesters would not be charged with crimes. The CHOP became a focus of national attention when President Donald Trump tweeted his disapproval calling the occupants "ugly Anarchists" and demanding that Governor Jay Inslee and Mayor Jenny Durkan "take back" the zone. Protesters accepted open carry of firearms as a provision of safety. Members of the self-described anti-fascist Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club (PSJBGC) were reported on June 9 as carrying rifles in the zone. The fifth shooting near the zone occurred in the early morning of June 29 when I was scheduled to leave back to Albuquerque. A 16-year-old black male was killed and a 14-year-old male was in critical condition with gunshot wounds. The zone was cleared of occupants by police on July 1, 2020. Best viewed on destop computer. More photos in the menu.