Bulldozers crush camp at CHOP, Seattle’s cop-free zone


The clean up operation began at Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone on Wednesday after police in the city reclaimed their precinct following the mayor’s early morning executive order to vacate the area.

Bulldozers moved in and crushed the camp where protesters occupied several blocks around a park and the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct. Officers had abandoned the building on June 8 following clashes with protesters calling for an end to police brutality. 

But Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, say the move to shut down the zone ‘is several deaths too late’ after two black men were shot dead. 

At least 31 people were arrested at the CHOP zone Wednesday which has seen the two deadly shootings and crime rise by more than 500 per cent in just over three weeks. 

Senate Majority Leader McConnell tweeted: ‘Finally. Twenty-some days and several deaths too late. The rule of law must not fade in and out with the fashions of the radical left.’

Rep Doug Collins added: ‘It’s sad that it took two deaths for the Seattle mayor to finally realize what we’ve known all along. WE NEED OUR POLICE!’ 

Pictures show trash and debris being collected by city workers with tents and protest signs taken down. Police said they found ‘recovered improvised spike strips—designed to puncture vehicle tires—in the area of the CHOP’.

The 31 arrests were for failure to disperse, obstruction, assault, and unlawful weapon possession, they added. 

 

The clean up operation began at Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone on Wednesday

Seattle Department of Transportation begins removing plywood outside the closed Seattle Police East Precinct

Seattle Department of Transportation begins removing plywood outside the closed Seattle Police East Precinct

Pictures show trash and debris being collected by city workers with tents and protest signs taken down

Pictures show trash and debris being collected by city workers with tents and protest signs taken down

Bulldozers moved in and crushed the camp where protesters occupied several blocks around a park and the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct. Officers had abandoned the building on June 8 following clashes with protesters

Bulldozers moved in and crushed the camp where protesters occupied several blocks around a park and the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct. Officers had abandoned the building on June 8 following clashes with protesters

Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, say the move to shut down the zone 'is several deaths too late' after two black men were shot dead

Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, say the move to shut down the zone ‘is several deaths too late’ after two black men were shot dead

People had occupied several blocks around a park and the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct

People had occupied several blocks around a park and the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct

Calling the gathering at the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park an ‘unlawful assembly’ Mayor Jenny Durkan demanded all barriers be removed in an order issued in the early hours of Wednesday. 

Seattle police confirmed in a tweet early Wednesday that they would be ‘in the area this morning enforcing the Mayor’s order’. 

Officers in riot gear issued a dispersal order at 5am leading to the 31 arrests within just 30 minutes amid fears the protesters could now move to West Precinct. 

Police tweeted: ‘Because suspects in recent shootings may still be in the area, and because numerous people in the area are in possession of firearms, Seattle Police officers involved in this morning’s response will be equipped with additional protective gear.’

Eyewitness Omari Salisbury said: ‘The Seattle Police Department basically reclaimed the precinct in less than 30 minutes, five feet at a time with the bicycle officers out in front.’ 

Speaking outside the precinct Wednesday morning police chief Carmen Best confirmed her officers had reclaimed the precinct, with the help of Bellevue police and the FBI, but could not offer a time frame on when they would move back in. 

She said: ‘Our job is to support peaceful demonstration but what has happened on these streets over the last two weeks is lawless and it’s brutal and bottom line it is simply unacceptable.’

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the Seattle protest area, as well as city and state leaders. He tweeted Monday morning that the protesters ‘have ZERO respect for Government.’  

Calling the gathering at the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park an 'unlawful assembly' Mayor Jenny Durkan demanded all barriers be removed in an order issued in the early hours of Wednesday

Calling the gathering at the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park an ‘unlawful assembly’ Mayor Jenny Durkan demanded all barriers be removed in an order issued in the early hours of Wednesday

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the Seattle protest area, as well as city and state leaders

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the Seattle protest area, as well as city and state leaders

Trash and debris can be seen being collected by city workers outside of the SPD East Precinct

Trash and debris can be seen being collected by city workers outside of the SPD East Precinct

Seattle police showed up in force early Wednesday at the city¿s ¿occupied¿ protest zone, tore down demonstrators¿ tents and used bicycles to herd the protesters after the mayor ordered the area cleared following two fatal shootings

Seattle police showed up in force early Wednesday at the city’s ‘occupied’ protest zone, tore down demonstrators’ tents and used bicycles to herd the protesters after the mayor ordered the area cleared following two fatal shootings

Police swarmed the zone known as CHOP at about 5am; at least 31 people were arrested, said Police Chief Carmen Best

Police swarmed the zone known as CHOP at about 5am; at least 31 people were arrested, said Police Chief Carmen Best

Clearing out: City crews dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) area outside of the Seattle Police Department's vacated East Precinct

Clearing out: City crews dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) area outside of the Seattle Police Department’s vacated East Precinct

Police clear campers from Cal Anderson park as city crews dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) area

Police clear campers from Cal Anderson park as city crews dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) area

Police detain a person as city crews dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) area. Thirty-one people were arrested this morning

Police detain a person as city crews dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) area. Thirty-one people were arrested this morning

Police detain a man as city crews dismantle CHOP which protesters have occupied since June 8

Police detain a man as city crews dismantle CHOP which protesters have occupied since June 8

Wearing helmets and wielding batons and rifles, officers converged on the area at dawn

Wearing helmets and wielding batons and rifles, officers converged on the area at dawn

Officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder on several streets while others created a makeshift fence with their bicycles, using it to push protesters back away from the center of the zone

Officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder on several streets while others created a makeshift fence with their bicycles, using it to push protesters back away from the center of the zone

Seattle police on Wednesday moved in to reclaim their precinct in the city's 'occupied' protest zone

Seattle police on Wednesday moved in to reclaim their precinct in the city’s ‘occupied’ protest zone

Eyewitness Omari Salisbury said: 'The Seattle Police Department basically reclaimed the precinct in less than 30 minutes, five feet at a time with the bicycle officers out in front'

Eyewitness Omari Salisbury said: ‘The Seattle Police Department basically reclaimed the precinct in less than 30 minutes, five feet at a time with the bicycle officers out in front’

TIMELINE OF VIOLENCE IN SEATTLE’S CHOP ZONE

June 8: Protesters occupy the area; police abandoned the precinct

June 20: A 19-year-old man is shot dead and a 33-year-old man was wounded 

June 24: Nearby businesses and property owners filed a federal lawsuit against the city 

June 29: Two teens shot – one fatally – in Jeep at zone’s concrete barriers 

June 30: Barricades at Seattle’s cop-free zone are torn down as protesters replace concrete barriers with trash cans and couches 

July 1:

Early hours : Mayor Jenny Durkan demand all barriers are removed after a 525 per cent spike in violent crimes in the area

5am: Police swarm the zone 

5:30am: Eyewitnesses say officers have cleared the area

7am: Chief Carmen Best confirms police have taken back precinct

Police said: ‘Since demonstrations at the East Precinct area began on June 8th, two teenagers have been killed and three people have been seriously wounded in late-night shootings. Police have also documented robberies, assaults, and other violent crimes.

‘Because suspects in recent shootings may still be in the area, and because numerous people in the area are in possession of firearms, Seattle Police officers involved in this morning’s response will be equipped with additional protective gear.’ 

At least 100 police officers swarmed the zone known as CHOP at about 5am and a loud bang was heard at about 6:15am followed by a cloud of smoke. 

Officers tore down demonstrators’ tents and used bicycles to herd the protesters.  

Police tore down fences that protesters had erected around their tents and used batons to poke inside bushes, apparently looking for people who might be hiding inside.

Most protesters appeared to have dispersed several hours after the operations started and armed officers looked on from rooftops as clean-up crews of workers arrived to break down tables and tarps that protesters had set up in the zone. 

Protester Rick Hearns used his megaphone to tell demonstrators: ‘We’ve made history. Everybody out. We’ll get another place. Don’t taunt the officers.’

Officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder on several streets while others created a makeshift fence with their bicycles, using it to push protesters back away from the center of the zone. 

Chief Best said: ‘The CHOP has become lawless and brutal. Four shootings, two fatal, robberies, assaults, violence and countless property crimes have occurred in this several block area.’  

Tweeting their moves to dismantle the area police said: ‘Police have observed individuals in the vehicles with firearms/armor. The vehicles also appear to be operating without visible license plates.

‘Anyone who remains in the area, or returns to the area, is subject to arrest.’ 

Confirming the 31 people arrested police said one man, 29, was in possession of a large metal pipe and kitchen knife when he was taken into custody. 

Police also released a video documenting the acts of violence inside CHOP over the last few weeks.  

Crews had already used heavy equipment Tuesday in an attempt to remove makeshift barriers around the CHOP zone following the two fatal shootings.

But demonstrators dragged couches and other items to replace the structures. Those were largely gone later Tuesday.

Volunteer medic Marty Jackson had described the area as an 'active war zone'. The clean-up Wednesday is seen above

Volunteer medic Marty Jackson had described the area as an ‘active war zone’. The clean-up Wednesday is seen above 

The move to dismantle the area follows the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy, named as Antonio Mays Jr, in the early hours of Monday morning. A 14-year-old was also critically injured when eyewitnesses say armed security inside the zone fired 300 rounds.     

Lorenzo Anderson, 19, was shot on the protest area on June 20.

His father, Horace Lorenzo Anderson, said: ‘This doesn’t look like a protest to me no more. That just looks like they just took over and said we can take over whenever we want to.’

Volunteer medic Marty Jackson had described the area as an ‘active war zone’ and said: ‘I don’t think we’re gonna stop here.’ 

He told KUOW it was CHOP’s own armed security who fired at the car driven by the teen after it crashed into a barrier, killing him and critically wounding the 14-year-old. 

Warning people not to come to the CHOP zone, Jackson added: ‘Because now it’s like pretty much an active war zone. Now you have security and medical always looking around waiting to see the next.’ 

City crews dismantle the CHOP area outside of the Seattle Police Department's vacated East Precinct on Wednesday

City crews dismantle the CHOP area outside of the Seattle Police Department’s vacated East Precinct on Wednesday 

People kneel in front of a line of Police officers on bicycles as Seattle Police retake the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) area, including their East Precinct, in Seattle

People kneel in front of a line of Police officers on bicycles as Seattle Police retake the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) area, including their East Precinct, in Seattle

Mayor Jenny Durkan called the city's 'occupied' protest zone an 'unlawful assembly' in an order Wednesday. Seattle police confirmed Wednesday they would be 'in the area this morning enforcing the Mayor's order'

Mayor Jenny Durkan called the city’s ‘occupied’ protest zone an ‘unlawful assembly’ in an order Wednesday. Seattle police confirmed Wednesday they would be ‘in the area this morning enforcing the Mayor’s order’

People have occupied several blocks around a park and the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct for about two weeks. Police abandoned the building following clashes with protesters calling for an end to police brutality

People have occupied several blocks around a park and the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct for about two weeks. Police abandoned the building following clashes with protesters calling for an end to police brutality

Seattle police block a street with their bicycles in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone early Wednesday

Seattle police block a street with their bicycles in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone early Wednesday

A protester stands with her hand up in front of a road blocked by Seattle police in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone early Wednesday,

A protester stands with her hand up in front of a road blocked by Seattle police in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone early Wednesday,

Police tore down fences that protesters had erected around their tents and used batons to poke inside bushes, apparently looking for people who might be hiding inside

Police tore down fences that protesters had erected around their tents and used batons to poke inside bushes, apparently looking for people who might be hiding inside

Most protesters appeared to have dispersed several hours after the operations started and armed officers looked on from rooftops as clean-up crews of workers arrived to break down tables and tarps that protesters had set up in the zone

Most protesters appeared to have dispersed several hours after the operations started and armed officers looked on from rooftops as clean-up crews of workers arrived to break down tables and tarps that protesters had set up in the zone

Footage from inside the zone had shown the chaotic scenes and the bullet ridden vehicle in the immediate aftermath of the shoot out Monday. 

City workers on Friday tried to remove makeshift barriers erected around the area but stopped their work after demonstrators objected. 

Seattle police Assistant Chief Adrian Diaz said Tuesday the large, makeshift barriers would be removed in incremental steps to allow traffic to move through portions of a road that had been closed off.

‘So far, you know, everything is peaceful this morning, so that’s a good sign,’ Diaz told The Seattle Times.

Police said one man, 29, was in possession of a large metal pipe and kitchen knife when he was taken into custody

Police said one man, 29, was in possession of a large metal pipe and kitchen knife when he was taken into custody

Police said one man, 29, was in possession of a large metal pipe and kitchen knife when he was taken into custody

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the Seattle protest area, as well as city and state leaders

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the Seattle protest area, as well as city and state leaders

Calling the gathering at the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park an 'unlawful assembly' Mayor Jenny Durkan had demanded all barriers be removed after a 525 per cent spike in violent crimes in the area

Calling the gathering at the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park an ‘unlawful assembly’ Mayor Jenny Durkan had demanded all barriers be removed after a 525 per cent spike in violent crimes in the area

There had been increasing calls by critics, including President Trump, to remove protesters from the ‘Capitol Hill Occupied Protest’ area east of downtown.

Protesters say they should not be blamed for the violence in the area. People continued to add artwork, flowers and candles at a memorial for the 16-year-old on Tuesday.

Chief Best said the shootings are obscuring the message of racial justice promoted by protesters.

Nearby businesses and property owners also filed a federal lawsuit against the city last week, saying officials have been too tolerant of those who created the zone and that officials have deprived property owners of their property rights by allowing the zone to continue existing.

Also Tuesday, Mayor Durkan asked the City Council to investigate council member Kshama Sawant, accusing her of opening City Hall to protesters on June 9 and participating in a protest march to Durkan’s home on Sunday.

‘She and organizers knew that my address was protected under the state confidentiality program because of threats against me due largely to my work as U.S. attorney,’ Durkan wrote.

Sawant said she had not organized the march and wasn’t taking Durkan’s words personally, The Seattle Times reported.

‘In reality, this is an attack on working people’s movements, and everything we are fighting for, by a corporate politician desperately looking to distract from her failures of leadership and politically bankrupt administration,’ Sawant said in a statement.

Earlier this month Sawant and other council members called on the mayor to resign over what they called the Police Department’s militaristic response to protests. Durkan has said she will not resign. 

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said: 'The CHOP has become lawless and brutal. Four shootings¿-two fatal¿robberies, assaults, violence and countless property crimes have occurred in this several block area.'

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan had demanded all barriers be removed from the city's 'occupied' protest zone after a 525 per cent spike in violent crimes in the area

Mayor Jenny Durkan, right, had demanded all barriers be removed from the city’s ‘occupied’ protest zone after a 525 per cent spike in violent crimes in the area. Chief Carmen Best, right, said: ‘The CHOP has become lawless and brutal. Four shootings–-two fatal—robberies, assaults, violence and countless property crimes have occurred in this several block area’

Police also released a video documenting the acts of violence inside CHOP over the last few weeks.

Police also released a video documenting the acts of violence inside CHOP over the last few weeks.

The clips, taken in the early hours of a Monday morning, show the bullet ridden vehicle in the moments after gunfire broke out

The clips, taken in the early hours of a Monday morning, show the bullet ridden vehicle in the moments after gunfire broke out

Protesters stand on barricades a block away as Seattle Department of Transportation workers remove other barricades at the intersection of 10th Ave. and Pine St., Tuesday

Protesters stand on barricades a block away as Seattle Department of Transportation workers remove other barricades at the intersection of 10th Ave. and Pine St., Tuesday

Nearby businesses and property owners filed a federal lawsuit against the city last Wednesday, claiming officials have been too tolerant of those who created the zone and that officials have deprived property owners of their property rights by allowing the zone to continue existing.

The business owners said they were not trying to undermine the protesters’ anti-police-brutality and Black Lives Matter messages.

But the owners said they have suffered because the creation of the zone has limited their access to their businesses and that some owners trying clean graffiti from their storefronts or attempting to photograph protesters have been threatened.

A second lawsuit was filed by attorney Jacob Bozeman Monday. He said: ‘To abdicate the authority to an unelected, unauthorized and armed group of people to decide who can come and go, who can be searched and seized, and under what portions of the city you can come and go from, for fear of physical retaliation against you, is unconstitutional.’ 

PICTURED: 16-year-old boy shot dead inside CHOP as cops release footage of gunmen prowling streets inside the zone on the night he died

The 16-year-old boy shot dead inside Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone has been named as Antonio Mays Jr. 

Mays Jr was killed in the early hours of Monday morning after eyewitnesses say the area’s armed security fired at the Jeep his was driving. A 14-year-old boy was also critically wounded in the shooting. 

Seattle police on Wednesday reclaimed their precinct in the city’s ‘occupied’ protest zone after the mayor finally issued an early morning executive order to vacate the area.

Law enforcement also released a video documenting the acts of violence inside CHOP over the last few weeks. Gunmen are seen prowling through the area on the night of Mays Jr’s death. 

One eyewitness said 300 rounds were fired on the night of his killing. 

Antonio Mays Jr was killed in the early hours of Monday morning inside CHOP

Antonio Mays Jr was killed in the early hours of Monday morning inside CHOP

A second teen, Lorenzo Anderson, 19, was shot dead in the area on June 20

A second teen, Lorenzo Anderson, 19, was shot dead in the area on June 20

DailyMail.com has contacted police for the latest on their investigation into the fatal shooting to determine where any of those in the video are suspects

DailyMail.com has contacted police for the latest on their investigation into the fatal shooting to determine where any of those in the video are suspects

Police have released a video documenting the acts of violence inside CHOP over the last few weeks; gunmen are seen prowling on the night of Mays Jr's death

Police have released a video documenting the acts of violence inside CHOP over the last few weeks; gunmen are seen prowling on the night of Mays Jr’s death

DailyMail.com has contacted police for the latest on their investigation into the fatal shooting to determine where any of those in the video are suspects. 

His death marked the second fatal shooting in the area after a 19-year-old was killed on June 20.  

A second teen, Lorenzo Anderson, 19, was shot dead on the protest area on June 20.

His father, Horace Lorenzo Anderson, said: ‘This doesn’t look like a protest to me no more. That just looks like they just took over and said we can take over whenever we want to.’  

PICTURED: Fox News reporter is back at Seattle’s CHOP zone two days after he was trapped inside his car by dozens of Black Lives Matter protesters ‘after he shoved woman’  

Fox News reporter Dan Springer was pictured back at Seattle’s CHOP zone Wednesday – two days after he was trapped inside his car by Black Lives Matter protesters.

An angry mob trapped the correspondent in his vehicle after a BLM member claimed she was shoved by King, DailyMail.com disclosed Monday.  

River, a BLM protester at CHOP, claimed to DailyMail.com that Springer had pushed a woman at the event, telling her to get back, prompting the woman to throw her coffee at him.  

Springer then retreated into an SUV with private armed security guards protecting the car, as a group of 50 barricaded the vehicle and demanded for him to apologize.

After 20 minutes the angry crowd died down and another vehicle pulled up, with Springer jumping inside and speeding away, according to onlookers.

Fox News' Dan Springer was pictured back at Seattle's CHOP zone Wednesday

Fox News’ Dan Springer was pictured back at Seattle’s CHOP zone Wednesday

River explained the group was protesting Fox News and Springer over the network's alleged fake news stories aired about CHOP when the incident occurred

River explained the group was protesting Fox News and Springer over the network’s alleged fake news stories aired about CHOP when the incident occurred

At one point, the protesters jumped on the hood of the SUV and placed a barricade in front of it so Springer couldn¿t leave the area

 At one point, the protesters jumped on the hood of the SUV and placed a barricade in front of it so Springer couldn’t leave the area

Fox News Correspondent Dan Springer was trapped in his car in Seattle after he allegedly shoved a protester, DailyMail.com can disclose

Fox News Correspondent Dan Springer was trapped in his car in Seattle after he allegedly shoved a protester, DailyMail.com can disclose

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk