• Protesters occupied a 6-block area of downtown Seattle
  • A business owner near the area claimed Seattle police did not respond to his calls
  • Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said no part of the city was “cop-free”

After a local business owner complained about alleged police inaction on his 911 calls, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said Monday (June 15) that no area in the city was “cop-free.”

Protesters have occupied a 6-block area near downtown Seattle after the police station there was abandoned as tensions escalated with George Floyd protesters.

Best referred to what protesters now call the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) as she refuted alleged insinuations that the city of Seattle was in a siege.

“There is no cop-free zone in the city of Seattle,” Best said. “That is not the case.”

Best has said that multiple police reports have been filed over crimes reported in and around CHOP over 48 hours. She also said that Seattle police will enter the area if there is an urgent situation even as police coordinate and meet with victims on the edges of CHOP boundaries.

John McDermott, an auto shop owner whose business is located just near CHOP, told KIRO-TV that a protester broke into his store, stole cash from his register, and attempted to light his shop on fire.

McDermott’s son Mason also told the station that he chased the suspect down and pinned him to the ground. Mason also claimed the suspect attempted to injure him with a box cutter.

McDermott said he called the police 19 times and was told that they were sending someone over but was later told that police would not send anybody.

“I don’t know what to expect next. If you can’t call the police department, you can’t call the fire department to respond, what do you have?” McDermott said.

CHOP was previously known as CHAZ or the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, where protesters have painted the street with the words “Black Lives Matter” and colorful murals.

Police had set up barricades around the police station in the area and met protesters with tear gas and other crowd-control weapons. Backlash surrounding the response came from protesters and several public officials, and the Office of Police Accountability has decided to investigate.

Protesters occupied the area after officers of the East Precinct boarded up the building and allowed them to freely march in the area. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan ordered Best to abandon the building.

President Donald Trump has threatened to send in the United States military to evict the protesters in CHOP.

Trump also criticized Durkan and Washington Governor Jay Inslee and for their response to the protests and demanted that they “take back” Seattle in a tweet.

Both Durkan and Inslee have condemned Trump’s comments, saying that “the threat” of invasion and military violence was “unwelcome.”