What to do about the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone?

It’s hard to find reliable information about what exactly the CHAZ in Seattle even is – apparently the police have abandoned the precinct station there and are only responding in a limited fashion to emergency calls. Community organizers are verifying that only residents are allowed in. Businesses are open if they’re able.

There are echoes of the Bundy Standoff here. My only hope is that a dialog appears to remain open between the protesters and the city officials.

eta: Link to get the discussion started.

The article states laconically that “Seattle police are still responding to 911 calls in the area.” Have they sent officers into the area on regular business with no trouble? By regular business, I mean that a call that would’ve gotten two officers normally gets that now, not having to send in a squad of officers in riot gear just to answer a burglary call.

What does “only residents are allowed in” mean? By the protesters or the police?

Can fire engines and ambulances respond to calls? Is the mail being delivered and picked up regularly? Are the utilities operating, and can utility crews work in the area? Is trash & recycling being picked up?

If there’s no significant threat to people or property, and the answers to my first question and my last set of questions are all “yes”, I don’t see what there is to do, other than negotiation or discussion, so long as those circumstances continue. IMHO, it would be a waste of resources and an unnecessary escalation to impose authority merely for the sake of imposing it.

I’m not familiar enough with this situation to say what I think should be done, but I think some things should definitely be avoided. There shouldn’t bee any sort of military style response by police. I also think that leaving citizens to make their own law, however, sets a dangerous precedent. Sure, as a liberal I’m in agreement with the ends they’re trying to achieve, but what happens when Ammon Bundy has another go at doing the same thing in a rural area of Washington?

They’re real lucky Janet Reno isn’t the AG now.

Yeah, he would definitely get treated with kid gloves if that happened today. Thankfully, he won’t be eligible for parole for quite a few years, due to the adequate and timely government response the first time he tried such a stunt.

Why does anything necessarily need to be done? Personally I think it should be left alone, unless an actual problem arises. These businesses are operating normally and within the law, commerce and social order is undisturbed, and presumably all taxes etc are going to be paid as normal. There’s just a different police force on the streets. If that police force proves ineffective and/or unaccountable/etc well, then there is cause to act.

Huge difference from the Bundy protests.

Today’s entry in “Cyberpunk is real life:” There’s a Seattle Autonomous Zone.

This. At the risk of painting with an overly broad brush, Cap Hill tends to attract Merry Prankster types and others who think they’re in Haight-Ashbury in 1967. Which is not to say that there’s no violence — there certainly has been — but comparison to the Bundys is a huuuuuge stretch.

As of the last time I looked, the SPD has shown remarkable(!) restraint. I imagine that will change if the CHAZ movement doesn’t dissipate in a couple of days, but at the moment backing off seems to be the right move.

Why would he be eligible for parole if he’s not in prison and wasn’t convicted?

CHAZ appears to have more speculation than actual answers. It appears to be burning out, I think the best thing to do is nothing, while maintaining communication.

Exactly. The poster seemed to express concern at handling the current situation with kid gloves by wondering if it would embolden Bundy. I was trying to say that they could hardly have gone easier on him so I’m not sure what difference it would make.

Only residents are allowed in? Did they build a wall?

The issue is that he, or someone else, could do the same thing again and point to a lack of response by law enforcement to the CHAZ protestors. And even though they have different goals, and I support the ends of one and not the other, a just legal system would treat them both the same way.

Not a wall, but reportedly they have armed people manning barricades and checking the ID of anyone who wants to enter.

What type of world do we live in where the peaceful anarchists are setting up checkpoints and shaking people down? A video feed and a few months of this would make some compelling TV.

A world where someone has to enforce law and order, and the issue is who that get’s to be.

It’ll be Lord of the Flies combined with Idiocracy in a month if left alone.

Care to provide a cite?

This is the report from CNN. The claims made in the article of barricades/ checkpoints are made by Deanna Nollette, Seatle’s Assistant Police Chief.

So the protesters have made their point. What is their goal now?

Going home while saving face.

Which protesters? Nationwide? Keep making noise until meaningful reforms are enacted. CHAZ? Who knows, you have to be at least a little bit crazy to do something like that, but there are areas around the world that have been treated as de facto autonomous zones for extensive lengths of time so it’s not like they’re in “the moon is made of cheese” territory.