As Mass Civil Unrest Dies Down A New Challenge for Seattle Appears
It has been almost three weeks since the killing of George Floyd in police custody and the civil unrest his killing sparked. Since our last update much has happened. Mass civil unrest has mostly died down in the United States. Protests are, however, still ongoing in many major cities. Unrest is still present in the UK; particularly in London. Protests have also spread to other countries such as Mexico, Martinique, Jamaica, and Barbados.
National Guard units across the country have been redeployed back to their home bases. Active duty units that were deployed to areas around Washington DC have since been sent back to their home bases as well. At this moment it does not appear that more deployments will be necessary.
The Minneapolis City Council recently voted (9-3; a veto proof majority) to disband the city's police department. A similar vote mandated that the department be replaced with a "community-led public safety system". The specifics of this system were not specified.
Calls around the nation to "defund the police" have led multiple cities to cut, or plan to cut, certain amounts of funding for their local law enforcement agencies.
Easily the biggest piece of news since our last update is the establishment of the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (AKA CHAZ) in Seattle. On the night of June 8th, police in Seattle's East Precinct were ordered to abandon their station and area of responsibility after a standoff with protesters. The protesters than moved into the East Precinct station, which lies in the capital hill area of the city, and established a six-block perimeter around that station, known as CHAZ. The zone sees itself as an entity separate from the United States with signs coming into the zone reading, "You are now leaving the USA". The zone is defended by armed guards and barricades that were left by police.
Sadly, due to the clear political divide in our society (which I try and stay clear of as much as I can) it's not easy to get accurate information on CHAZ. Some sources claim that the zone has a style of governance similar to a direct democracy. Other sources say that the zone is actually ran like a police-state, with leaders using armed militia to exert power of the inhabitants.
Local law enforcement officials and politicians have expressed differing rhetoric in regards to the zone. Seattle's police chief has stated that violent crime is rampant throughout CHAZ and expressed a desire to reenter the area and establish order. Seattle's mayor, on the other hand, claim she saw no evidence of rampant cirme or any sort after he visited the zone on the same day, June 12th.
It's not clear what will become of the situation involving CHAZ or its inhabitants. President Trump has made it clear that Washington state officials need to restore order in the area before he takes action instead. Also, police being met with the zone's militia could be a recipe for violence. At this moment we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
As always, stay safe and have a good one,