Seattle cuts deal with CHOP protesters to open some streets, make business deliveries easier

Deal appears to be tenuous at best

Seattle convinced demonstrators occupying the no-cop "Capitol Hill Organized Protest" (CHOP) zone taking up several city blocks to allow access for residents, business deliveries and even fire trucks, but the deal appears to be tenuous at best.

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A few hours after Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced some streets would be opened with the cooperation of demonstrators, cars were parked to block traffic, MyNorthwest reported on Tuesday.

SEATTLE CHOP ZONE BUSINESSES WORRY ABOUT SLOW POLICE RESPONSE TIMES

Durkan's office said the city must balance demonstrators' "first amendment activities" and "public safety and allowing access for residents and businesses who operate in the area."

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)

"The City is committed to maintaining space for community to come together, protest and exercise their first amendment rights," the Mayor's office said in a statement. "Minor changes to the protest zone will implement safer and sturdier barriers to protect individuals in this area, allow traffic to move throughout the Capitol Hill neighborhood."

Meanwhile, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said this week that police would only enter CHOP in "life safety" situations.

"[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," Best told reporters. "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.

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Her statement came after John McDermott, co-owner of 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 outlet. "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."

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