Attorney General William Barr commended Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best after her officers cleared out the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) early Wednesday morning after it had taken over part of the city for three weeks.
Barr issued a statement Wednesday afternoon:
I commend Police Chief Carmen Best for her courage and leadership in restoring the rule of law in Seattle. For the past several weeks, the Capitol Hill area of Seattle was occupied by protesters who denied access to police and other law enforcement personnel. Unsurprisingly, the area became a haven for violent crime, including shootings that claimed the lives of two young people, assaults, and robberies. As Chief Best made clear throughout the process, there is a fundamental distinction between discussion of substantive issues — including addressing distrust of law enforcement by many in the African-American community — and violent defiance of the law. Chief Best has rightly committed to continue the substantive discussion while ending the violence, which threatens innocent people and undermines the very rule-of-law principles that the protesters profess to defend. Thanks to the Seattle Police Department, Capitol Hill parks, streets, and businesses are again accessible to the people of Seattle, who may travel throughout their city without fear of violence. The people of Seattle should be grateful to Chief Best and her Department for their professional and steadfast defense of the rule of law. The message of today’s action is simple but significant: the Constitution protects the right to speak and assemble freely, but it provides no right to commit violence or defy the law, and such conduct has no place in a free society governed by law.
Chief Best was outraged from the very beginning of CHOP (which was then called the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ) that local political leaders had forced officers to abandon the East Precinct.
She noted that crime had run rampant in the CHOP, and that police were unable to respond. That was prior to a string of recent shootings, the victims of which were young black men.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) had initially described the CHOP as a “block party” and talked of a “Summer of Love” — before protesters marched to her home earlier this week, which seemed to change her mind. She issued an order Tuesday for the area to be cleared.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.