Seattle police may have cleared the troubled Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone last week, but the damages from the siege are sure to be long lasting.
Businesses, residents and property owners suffered through four shooting incidents, two of which were fatal, and reports of rape, assault, theft and robbery since early June when protestors took over the streets in the neighborhood surrounding East Pine Street and 11th Avenue East. Police also abandoned their station in the zone until they moved in to retake the streets.
Police records show 65 incidents occurred in the zone in three weeks, double that of the same period a year ago, according to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.
A class action lawsuit filed against the city for allowing protestors to take over the streets and failing to maintain a peaceful demonstration alleged “substantial damages” to businesses and property in the neighborhood. A spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office declined comment except to say the action was under review by the department.
City crews who attempted to remove barricades before more than 100 Seattle police offers took back the streets in an early morning action were met with hostility and weapons carried by some of the protestors before being rebuffed.
Washington Retail condemns the violent criminal activity by protestors including the financial and physical damage they inflicted on small business owners and employees, many of whom said they supported the peaceful protesters among those who occupied the zone. Our hope is that the painful lessons learned from the occupation will result in swifter city action to maintain peaceful demonstrations and avoid violence in the future.