Best said on Friday that the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” is creating danger in the neighborhood by slowing police response time to urgent calls. The chief also declined to condemn Trump for his description of the protesters as domestic terrorists.
“I am very angry about the situation that we have and at this point we just want to make sure that it gets resolved,” Best told “Good Morning America” host Amy Robach. “While I really support First Amendment free speech, this is not that.”
Yesterday, Durkan struck the opposite tone.
“Lawfully gathering and expressing First Amendment rights, demanding we do better as a society, and providing true equity for communities of color is not terrorism. It’s patriotism,” Durkan said at a press conference.
Although Durkan is supporting the rights of the demonstrators, some city leaders are demanding the mayor resign.
“This violence against the peaceful protest movement on Capitol Hill was carried out by Mayor Jenny Durkan and that’s why it’s no surprise that tens of thousands of people in Seattle are calling for her resignation,” Kshama Sawant, a Seattle city council member whose district encompasses the autonomous zone, said on CNN. “Because they reject police violence, they reject police brutality and we want a society that’s based on equality and cooperation.”
The autonomous zone developed in Seattle after demonstrators protesting police brutality and racism declared control over the area and forced police to leave the East Precinct on Monday.
The police boarded up the doors and windows of the precinct before evacuating the area. Protesters have now spray painted signs that read “Seattle People Department and “The Property of the People,” according to local reports.
“We’re currently working to get our officers back into the facility,” Best told “Good Morning America.” “We think it’s really important that we have police presence there and that we are able to continue to do our work.”
The zone has been declared cop-free and The New York Times reported that it is “part street festival, part commune,” with protesters demanding a disparate range of reforms — from police defunding to more investment in community health.
The protests started as part of a nationwide outcry after a former Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd by pinning his knee on his neck for more than eight minutes.
As the autonomous zone drew more media attention, the president began to direct his anger at Seattle’s mayor and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
“These Liberal Dems don’t have a clue,” Trump tweeted on Friday morning. “The terrorists burn and pillage our cities, and they think it is just wonderful, even the death. Must end this Seattle takeover now!”
Trump continued his criticism of Seattle in an interview that aired Friday afternoon with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner.
“You can look at a couple of places that are in such great shape, but then you look at Seattle,” Trump said. “What’s that all about? How did they allow that to happen? That’s just a bad philosophy.”
Michael Solan, the president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, also told Faulkner that the situation in the city was out of control.
“This is the closest I’ve ever seen our country, let alone the city here, to becoming a lawless state when public safety issues are deeply, deeply concerning,” Solan said. “If unreasonable activists have taken over an East Precinct, voluntarily given up by elected officials’ decisions, what’s to stop them from taking another precinct?”