Protesters on Capitol Hill were in a standoff with Seattle police officers overnight after the CHOP zone was cleared by the city.
The Capitol Hill Occupied Protest was taken over by Seattle police and city crews Wednesday after Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a 48-hour emergency order due to escalating violence in the area where two teenagers were killed in separate shootings.
Police said at least 50 people were arrested Wednesday for failure to disperse, assault, obstruction, pedestrian interference and malicious mischief during Wednesday’s sweep. City workers removed barriers, tents, signs and structures and cleaned up the streets.
Police highlighted a kitchen knife and a large pipe they said were found on a protester who was taken into custody.
Since CHOP was dismantled, there has been new unrest that escalated into a standoff between police and protesters overnight. Protesters have been at the intersection of Broadway and East Pike on and off since CHOP was cleared.
Police have been holding a line there to keep people from re-entering the former CHOP zone after demonstrators began moving into the area shortly before midnight Wednesday.
For the next several hours, officers arrested people at the intersection as police continued to order the group to disperse. Police said 25 people were arrested for failure to disperse, assault and obstructing.
Officers deployed blast balls and pepper spray while trying to make arrests after people in the crowd began throwing bottles at officers.
City officials said they warned protesters that authorities would move in and take down the zone, but protesters told KIRO 7 they didn’t know the move was coming.
Some criticized CHOP because of the violence that started happening in the zone -- including some members of the Black community-- who said the message of ending police violence and stopping the killings of unarmed Black men was lost amid the CHOP’s establishment.
Meanwhile, Seattle police are back in the East Precinct in the former CHOP zone for the first time in more than three weeks.
When officers entered the building Wednesday, they weren’t sure what they’d find after protesters turned the Seattle Police Department sign on the building into the “Seattle People Department.”
“We’ve gone through and checked it for booby traps and other things that might have been set and we’re restoring order and getting back to business as usual,” Seattle police Chief Carmen Best said Wednesday.
Chief Best said neighbors are thankful police are back.
“As we walked around the neighborhood, many people were coming out of their apartments and homes and thanking the officers profusely,” she said. “So, we don’t even know how much trauma people were experiencing because of what was happening in that area.”
Now, a lot of people are wondering what's next for both Seattle police and the former CHOP zone.
Protesters say they're already planning another occupation, this time at City Hall.
Demonstrators were there voicing their demands, which they say have not been met, including the defunding of Seattle police by 50 percent.
The mayor has proposed a 5% cut to the 2020 police budget totaling $20 million.
She said she’s also committed to investing in Black communities and young people.
When asked about a second occupation, the mayor said there can’t be a repeat of the violence that ended CHOP.
The mayor says she’s now working on a plan to help struggling businesses, including paying out small tort claims quickly for things like property damage.
Thursday morning, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best answered questions about CHOP and possible plans for another zone. Watch the interview below.
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