Over a dozen businesses, property owners and residents filed a class-action lawsuit against the city of Seattle on Wednesday over the decision to cede a roughly six-block area to BLM protesters, who then established the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) - now known as the Capitol Hill Occupying Protest (CHOP).
H/T: Zero Hedge
"This lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of Plaintiffs—businesses, employees, and residents in and around CHOP—which have been overrun by the City of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public at large. The City’s decision has subjected businesses, employees, and residents of that neighborhood to extensive property damage, public safety dangers, and an inability to use and access their properties," the lawsuit reads.
"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 complaint added.
DEVELOPING: More than a dozen businesses inside CHOP zone, on Seattle's Capitol Hill, file 56-page class action lawsuit against the City of Seattle. They're seeking unspecified damages, to be determined at trial. pic.twitter.com/RPlsW3DuNv— Preston Phillips (@PrestonTVNews) June 25, 2020
In response to recent violence within the autonomous zone, Mayor Jenny Durkan said that the city encourage demonstrators to leave voluntarily so that police could restore order in their precinct. According to the Washington Times:
Patty Eakes, an attorney for the plaintiffs, separately told Durkan in a letter Wednesday that she wanted the mayor’s office to provide a timeline by Friday for clearing out the protest and returning police, or the plaintiffs would ask the court for an immediate order that full public access be restored.
“City leadership have been on the ground daily having discussions with demonstrators, residents and businesses and trusted community-based, Black-led organizations to determine a path forward that protects the right to peacefully protest and keeps people safe,” the mayor’s office said in a written statement.
In the class-action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, about a dozen businesses, residents and property owners said they had sometimes been threatened for photographing protesters in public areas or for cleaning graffiti off their storefronts. The owner of the auto shop Car Tender said a burglar broke in the night of June 14, started a fire using hand sanitizer as an accelerant, and then attacked his son with a knife when confronted.
The owner and his son managed to put out the fire and detain the burglar, the complaint said, but police never responded to their 911 calls. A large crowd of “CHOP participants” then came to the scene and forced the owner to release the arsonist, it said.
Business owners in Seattle's #CHOP are fed up with the protesters, and they've filed a lawsuit over the city's lack of leadership. Caleb Heimlich, Chairman of #Washington state's #GOP says his party expects to win big in November. #Democrats #Republicans #Seattle #VarneyCo pic.twitter.com/yTqw6VwOv2— Varney & Co. (@Varneyco) June 25, 2020
IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME!👇🏼— Katie Daviscourt🇺🇸 (@KatieDaviscourt) June 25, 2020
Residents and businesses of Capitol Hill, currently known as #CHOP, are suing the city of Seattle in a new class action lawsuit.
They have cited loss of business, dangerous living conditions, fear of no police and EMT’s, etc. https://t.co/bWsFJekxA3
Read the full compaint below.