Seattle CHOP zone businesses worry about slow police response times

CHOP is making it harder for police to do their jobs, Seattle's police chief said

Some businesses in and around Seattle's no-cop "Capitol Hill Organized Protest" (CHOP) zone are struggling after the city's police force withdrew last week after clashes with people protesting the death of George Floyd.

Businesses within the zone, which makes up several city blocks and contains a now-abandoned police precinct, include an array of shops and restaurants, including Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream, The Elliott Bay Book Company and Sunset Electric Apartments.

John McDermott, a co-owner of Car Tender, an auto shop located just outside of CHOP, said police never responded to his 911 calls about a fire and burglary in progress early Monday morning, KING-TV reported.

"We're just trying to run a small business, make a living, be good members of society," McDermott told the outet. "And try to be good neighbors to the neighborhood and I think we’ve really been let down by the mayor's office, the Seattle Police Department and the fire department."


McDermott and his son put out the fire and confronted the burglar before a mob of protesters searched him and let him go, KING-TV reported.

"There were no police officers on-scene ever. And I was here all night long," McDermott told the station.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best told reporters Monday that officers responded to the call but did not see a "disturbance."

"The officers did not observe, based on the report I read, anything they perceived as a threat to life safety, and they didn't go in," Best said. "[Officers are] not going directly into the area. They're trying to get people to come out. ... That's not to say we just don't show up."

"If there's something that's a life safety situation -- somebody injured, shots fired -- we don't have any other choice. We're going in," Best said.

It's taking officers three times as long to respond to emergencies in the East Precinct, which includes CHOP, because police had to abandon the precinct, she said.

James Snyder, the owner of Sam's Tavern, located a few blocks south of Car Tender, said he found video footage from Monday night "worrisome."

Visitors walk near a sign that reads "Welcome to CHOP," Sunday, June 14, 2020, inside what has been named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

"It seems like there are some people gravitating to that area now because there are no police," Snyder told FOX Business. "They're doing things that are taking away from the original movement."

However, he supports CHOP demonstrators taking a stand against racism, and even cooked 100 burgers for protesters on Monday night, he said. His restaurant is in the CHOP zone but is closed because of coronavirus restrictions.


Also near CHOP, a Trader Joe's is reopening after closing "indefinitely" last week, but an anonymous group of employees who work at the store said they won't be satisfied until the company supports "the movement for Black lives." The store closed abruptly on Friday, after dozens of employees said they would be participating in a local Black Lives Matter protest, according to a statement from the group.

The store will reopen in a week or two after a remodel, and employees will be paid for scheduled shifts, a Trader Joe's spokesperson told KING-TV.

FOX Business' inquiries to Car Tender and Trader Joe's were not returned at the time of publication.