The New York Times published a lengthy report Friday on the degree to which armed Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists terrorized local businesses inside the “autonomous” zone in June.
That month, the Times newsroom rebelled against an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) suggesting the U.S. military be deployed to restore order. The same opinion page featured an article claiming that the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” (CHOP) had been “largely peaceful.”
On Friday, the Times finally explored the reality of life in the CHOP for small business owners — including minorities. Far from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s “Summer of Love,” it was a science fiction nightmare:
Young white men wielding guns would harangue customers as well as Mr. [Faizel] Khan, a gay man of Middle Eastern descent who moved here from Texas so he could more comfortably be out. To get into his coffee shop, he sometimes had to seek the permission of self-appointed armed guards to cross a border they had erected.
But he considers himself lucky — and he was. Even weeks after the protests, blocks of his previously bustling neighborhood remained boarded up and covered in shattered glass. Many business owners are scared to speak out, Mr. Khan said, because of worries that they would be targeted further.
When a tall man in a trench coat and hiking boots walked over to question Mr. Khan, the man spread his coat open, revealing several pistols on harnesses around his chest and waist. He presented a badge on a lanyard that read “Black Lives Matter Community Patrol.”
His name is Rick Hearns and he identified himself as a longtime security guard and mover who is now a Black Lives Matter community guard, in charge of several others. Local merchants pay for his protection, he said as he handed out his business card.
Read the full article here.
Some small business owners distinguished between Black Lives Matter and Antifa, the article notes — though it also noted that many were simply too afraid of retaliation to speak out.
As Breitbart News recently reported, a group of small business owners and residents is suing the city for allowing the CHOP zone to persist for more than three weeks.
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, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.