Former Seattle police chief Carmen Best said on a podcast this week that the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone during Seattle’s Black Lives Matter uprising was more violent than the media depicted.
Best told Jerry Ratcliffe on his podcast “Reducing Crime” that “destructive behavior” in CHOP was not adequately documented by the media, which resulted in people thinking it was “peaceful.” She continued:
And the other thing that I found very curious during that time frame was that the destructive behavior, for whatever reason, I’m not sure if there’s a political reason or otherwise, did not get the level of publicity or media attention as … I would read stories about the peaceful protests. I go, ‘Well, part of it was peaceful.’ But I was standing 20 feet away from a hail of rocks. I was looking right at them hail down, feet from me.
CHOP, which later became known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), was six blocks long. BLM protestors established the area after the police retreated from its East Precinct. Two people were killed in the area and there were several shootings. Businesses and residents sued the city over the summer for not taking action on the lawless protest ground.
The former chief said there was a great deal of “gaslighting” by the media. National outlets often attempted to conceal the madness inside the autonomous zone. The New York Times defined it as a “homeland for racial justice” in an article with the headline “Free Food, Free Speech, and Free Police.” CNN said conservative media “grossly exaggerated” the violence in Seattle.
In a Seattle Times article titled “Dubbed a ‘lawless state’ by some, the CHAZ or CHOP, Seattle’s newest neighborhood, tries to create its own narrative,” reporter Paul Roberts wrote, “But on this particular afternoon, many of the members of that ‘lawless state’ seemed less focused on defying the establishment than in recreating elements of that establishment in ways that advance the goals of the new community.”
“Indeed, for some conservative commentators and parts of the political establishment, the occupation of this small stretch of Seattle has become the latest symbol of failed progressive politics and the unchecked rise of anarchy and protests,” Roberts said.
In August, Best abruptly resigned after Seattle’s city council decided to cut funding to the police department. Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz announced last week that nearly 20 percent of Seattle’s police force has left in the past year and a half. The homicide rate increased in the city to a 26-year-high and the number of deployable officers fell to 1,200 — the lowest since 1990.
Jason Rantz, a Seattle-based talk show host on KTTH Radio, told The Federalist that the city’s newspaper and television station “did little more than print propaganda press releases for activists.”
“It was embarrassing. It meant the public was told abject lies about what was happening inside CHOP. A few of us were honest about it and got labeled as liars and propagandists,” he said. “Then two kids were murdered inside CHOP, making it impossible for the media to ignore it. But they still have learned few lessons and so many outlets continue to push fringe activist propaganda because they either believe in it or are too scared to push against it.”
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