In the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of Officer Derek Chauvin, Black Lives Matter protestors across the US are calling for the defunding and abolition of police. But while some are still having trouble imagining what a nation without police could look like, Seattle residents have already decided to give it a go.
On Monday, June 8, Seattle police gathered their belongings, boarded up the east precinct and abandoned their post. The former precinct, which now reads "Seattle People Department," is the backdrop for the newly formed "CHAZ," or, "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone." CHAZ, which is aptly situated in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood, is occupied by protestors, activists and artists alike aiming to demonstrate a peaceful, police-free society.
Stopped by the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone and took a few photos. Hard to believe just a few nights ago the cops w… https://t.co/ZoNE1wYYpU
When Police Chief Carmen Best opened up Pine Street for protesters to march through, she wasn't expecting them to stay put. Seattle residents, however, chose to set up camp across six blocks in the surrounding area, providing food and shelter for supporters looking to charge up after their respective demonstrations have ended. The Black Lives Matter chant "We ain't goin' 'til we get it" ringing true.
In bold letters, #BlackLivesMatter, is currently being painted on E Pine beginning at 10th Ave #KOMONews https://t.co/ekRhO3SwYs
Since Monday, the "police-free" zone has been bustling with activity. Late-night screenings of documentaries and films centering black experiences, like Ava DuVernay's 13th and the 1990 classic Paris Is Burning, are being projected on the streets; makeshift markets called "No Cop Co-ops" are offering free food, coffee and books; smoking and non-smoking sections are being erected.
#CHAZ movie night #2: the documentary "Paris Is Burning" (1990). People getting snacks and settling in. https://t.co/gKefmF4UgM
Images and videos on Twitter also show writers and poets reading their heart-felt works for the crowds, musicians playing sets and artists painting alleyway murals commemorating lives lost to police brutality.
The back alley wall of the SPD East Precinct has become an art mural. Streets, sidewalks, and boarded up windows ar… https://t.co/7MIPZcgFKI
Unsurprisingly, President Trump expressed his qualms with the zone in a tweet on Wednesday night, writing that "radical left" Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Jenny Durkan, mayor of Seattle, are "being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before."
"Take back your city NOW," he continued in the threatening message. "If you don't do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!"
Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course. LAW & ORDER!
Gov. Inslee responded to the initial tweet, pointing out Trump's spelling error, among other things. "A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state's business," Inslee wrote. "'Stoop' tweeting."
A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state’s business. “Stoop” tweeting. https://t.co/O6i04qmZ9v