By Vandana Rambaran | Fox News
Law enforcement officials are urging the Seattle Police Department to retake control of the East Precinct after hundreds of demonstrators overtook Monday the six-block area that surrounds it.
Officers effectively abandoned the area during violent clashes with demonstrators calling to defund the police.
Demonstrators have since set up occupancy in that section of downtown Seattle and have renamed it “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ).
SEATTLE ‘AUTONOMOUS ZONE’ HAS ARMED GUARDS, LOCAL BUSINESSES BEING THREATENED WITH EXTORTION, POLICE SAY
The portion of downtown Seattle that the protesters are now occupying.
“It can’t continue like that,” Jim Fuda, a law enforcement expert and the director of law enforcement services for Crime Stoppers – which works with SPD – told Komo news.
“Some action is going to have to be taken. Is there federal laws broken? Does the FBI need to come in? But at some point, arrests and these people are going to have to be removed, if they don’t move.”
A volunteer works security at an entrance to the so-called “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” on June 10, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The zone includes the blocks surrounding the Seattle Police Departments East Precinct, which was the site of violent clashes with Black Lives Matter protesters, who have continued to demonstrate in the wake of George Floyd’s death. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
Photos of the area show protesters have remained peaceful – pitching tents, painting, watching outdoor movies and holding gatherings with music and speeches – but police have also said they have received numerous complaints about armed guards surrounding the perimeter and asking residents who live in the area to show ID.
Police have also alluded to the potential extortion of local businesses and citizens.
Despite concessions by the city, including a 30-day ban by Mayor Jenny Durkan on officers deploying tear gas to disperse large crowds, as well as police officers shuttering the Third Precinct and retreating from the area, protesters have not shown signs of allowing police back in.
People sit in Cal Anderson Park in the so-called “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” on June 10, 2020 in Seattle, Wash. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
“Where are the rest of the citizens and their need for service?” Fuda said, pointing to the fact that police have limited their activity completely and are only responding to 911 calls.
The SPD is working on a strategy to negotiate with protesters but has been unable to identify the leaders of the group.
Michael Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Wednesday that the occupy-style demonstrations have gone too far and “is absolutely unreasonable activism.”
“We lost a precinct, now, what’s next? Are we going to lose another precinct? The city council has removed our ability to have less lethal ammunition for us to properly protect those facilities and protect ourselves,” Solan said.Vandana Rambaran is a reporter covering news and politics at foxnews.com
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