Seattle Businesses, Residents Sue City for ‘Extensive Harm’ for Allowing ‘Autonomous Zone’

CHOP by Benjamin Morawek is licensed under Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
Over a dozen businesses and residents in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood have filed a lawsuit against the city for its “unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood” to allow for the creation of the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone/Organized Protest” (CHAZ/CHOP).

The suit, which is seeking damages as well as the restoration of full public access to Capitol Hill, emphasizes that, while it does not want to “undermine CHOP participants’ message or present a counter-message,” the city’s decision to abandon the East Precinct earlier this month allowed the rights of the plaintiffs to be “overrun.”

“The City’s policies have effectively authorized the actions of the CHOP participants. The City has communicated clearly to CHOP participants that they may indefinitely continue occupying the streets in the area, maintaining their barricades, and blocking traffic, all without interference from the City,” the lawsuit reads.

Seattle police chief Carmen Best has told reporters that her officers are unable to respond to emergency calls — including rapes, robberies, and “all sorts of violent acts that have been occurring in the area” — because they are not allowed inside the area.