Seattle Business Owners Sue Over City’s Non-Response to Occupation
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
When protestors took over Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in June and mounted an “occupied protest” aimed at defunding local police, the city’s mayor, Jenny Durkin, said it was not a “lawless wasteland of anarchist insurrection,” but a “peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world.”
An in-depth report in the New York Times that includes interviews with residents and business owners who were caught inside the “autonomous zone” says it was something far more sinister.
And a group of local business owners is suing Seattle for refusing to deploy law enforcement to protect them and intentionally lending support to the occupiers:
The lawsuit by the small-business owners, filed by the firm Calfo Eakes on June 24, seizes on such language [as that in Mayor Durkin’s Twitter feed], pointing out that the city knew what was happening and provided material support for the occupation.
Matthew Ploszaj, a Capitol Hill resident, is one of the complainants. He said his apartment building, blocks from Mr. Khan’s shop, was broken into four times during the occupation. The Seattle Police were called each time and never came to his apartment, according to Mr. Ploszaj. When he and another resident called the police after one burglary, they told him to meet them outside the occupation zone, about eight blocks away. He and other residents spent nights at a friend’s house outside the area during the height of the protests.
The employees of Bergman’s Lock and Key say they were followed by demonstrators with baseball bats. Cure Cocktail, a local bar and charcuterie, said its workers were asked by protesters to pledge loyalty to the movement: “Are you for the CHOP or are you for the police?” they were asked, according to the lawsuit.
Durkin’s office sidestepped the lawsuit, and the incidents the Times documented:
A spokeswoman for Mayor Durkan did not comment on the lawsuit but acknowledged frustrations from small businesses.
“Many who live and work in Capitol Hill and other parts of the city continue to witness daily protests that are rightly demanding an end to systemic racism,” she wrote. “In some circumstances, businesses and residents have faced property destruction in the last two months.”
She encouraged the businesses to file claims.
Image Credit: By Daniel Schwen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons