SEATTLE (AP) — Police will return to an area of a Seattle neighborhood being occupied by protesters if there are threats to public safety, the chief of police said after a business owner complained that officers didn’t respond when he called 911 to report a break-in and vandalism.
“There is no cop-free zone in the city of Seattle,” Chief Carmen Best said Monday. “I think that the picture has been painted in many areas that shows the city is under siege. That is not the case.”
Police pulled back from several blocks of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood near the East Precinct after clashes with people protesting the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Now called the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest,” participants have painted a Black Lives Matter mural on the street, planted a community garden and handed out food in an atmosphere that has been largely peaceful and festive at times.
The situation has drawn the ire of President Donald Trump, who has claimed without merit that violent people had taken over. His tweets about possibly sending in the military have been met with condemnation from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee, both Democrats.