June 10, 2020
SEATTLE — Some are calling for swift action to take back the East Precinct that has been surrounded by protesters in the "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" or "Chaz" as Seattle Police say it's affecting the way police deal with public safety in the entire city.
As protesters continue their hold on the six-block area around the abandoned East Precinct after violent and chaotic clashes with police, the question is—how long will it last?
Jim Fuda, a 33-year law enforcement expert and the Director of Law Enforcement Services for Crime Stoppers-- which works with SPD -- said the department needs to take back the precinct sooner rather than later with negotiations and more.
Fuda did commend Chief Carmen Best for trying de-escalation and giving protesters concessions, like the 30-day ban on police officers using tear gas for crowd control.
"They're going to have to be dealt with, it can't continue like that," said Fuda. "Some action is going to have to be taken. Is there federal laws broken? Does the FBI need to come in? But at some point, arrests and these people are going to have to be removed, if they don't move."
SPD officials said it's a plan being developed with city officials.
But in the meantime, Seattle Police say right now they're only responding to priority 911 calls in the entire city. That means other emergencies like burglaries and car prowls will not get a police response.
"Where are the rest of the citizens and their need for service?" Fuda said.
"Right now, we are on priority calls only which means the people citywide need a police response are not receiving it and that to us is just not acceptable," said SPD Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette.
Seattle police said they would like to re-open the precinct and they're working to figure out who the leaders are to have negotiations, but that's not clear.