Seattle ‘Autonomous Zone’ Sparks Class Action Lawsuit From Local Businesses
More than a dozen businesses and property owners are suing the city of Seattle over its tolerance of, and alleged support for, an “autonomous” protest zone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The city’s approach, they argue, has led to lawlessness, property damage, and a decline in commerce and property values.
For the past two weeks, anti-police protesters have taken up residence in the city blocks surrounding the Seattle Police Department’s abandoned Eastern Precinct building, where they’ve set up barricades and encampments. This so-called Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, or CHOP—formerly the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ—has been the site of marches and rallies, but also some arsons, some assaults, and a homicide.
“This lawsuit does not seek to undermine CHOP participants’ message or present a counter-message,” reads the lawsuit that several Capitol Hill businesses filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. “Rather, this lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of Plaintiffs…which have been overrun by the City of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood.”
Plaintiffs include an autobody shop, a tattoo parlor, a liquor store, a condo association, and the owners of several apartment buildings.
Seattle police abandoned their Eastern Precinct building on June 8, after a series of escalating clashes with protestors. The city’s relationship with the protest zone has been touch-and-go ever since.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan initially had fairly friendly words for the autonomous zone, made several visits to the area, and defended it against Twitter attacks from President Donald Trump.
For as long as I can remember, Capitol Hill has been autonomous – it’s always been a place where people go to express themsel
Article from Latest – Reason.com