Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) dodged a bullet when Politico failed to ask him during an interview published on Monday about the police-free autonomous zone occupied by many anarchists in the state’s largest city of Seattle.
Gov. Inslee has refused to take action to take back the area, known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) or the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” (CHOP), at one time claiming he had no knowledge it even existed.
When U.S President Donald Trump urged state and local leaders to take action against the zone, Inslee demanded that the commander-in-chief “stay out of Washington state’s business.”
Violence within the zone in recent weeks, including some shootings, has finally prompted Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) to move to shut down the area.
Despite the violent unrest inside the autonomous zone, which has led to the killing of at least one individual and has made it difficult for businesses in the area to operate, Politico failed to ask even one question about CHAZ or CHOP, a transcript of the interview, published on Monday, showed.
Instead, the left-leaning news outlet primarily focused on Inslee’s response to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and climate change, noting that “Washington state was one of the early examples of a state that successfully bent the curve.”
Gov. Inslee told Politico it would be irresponsible to rule out reimposing lockdown measures if the number of cases continues to grow.
In January, Washington state did confirm the first case of COVID-19, the coronavirus disease, in the United States.
Anarchists and other protesters established the autonomous zone in the wake of the senseless killing of George Floyd on May 25, while in police custody. Floyd’s death triggered protests and some riots across the country.
Some public health officials warned that the protests could be an ideal breeding ground for spreading coronavirus. Still, others appeared to encourage the demonstrations amid the pandemic, arguing that racial disparities posed a more significant health threat than the lethal and highly contagious disease.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged that COVID-19 is disproportionally impacting minority communities, but that did not stop some health officials from promoting the protests.
Citing cellphone data from Black Lives Matters protests across 315 of America’s largest cities, a recent study claimed there is “no evidence” that the protests have triggered a spike in COVID-19
The report, titled “Black Lives Matter Protests, Social Distancing, and COVID-19,” claimed to have found “strong evidence” that the demonstrations drove more people to stay-at-home amid the protests and “modest evidence” that this may have lowered the number of coronavirus infections.
On Monday, however, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told reporters it is “highly likely” that the coronavirus surge in the region and the protests over the death of Floyd are linked.
While some demonstrators wore masks, many of them ignored social distancing rules.