Mayor Durkan: Seattle police will return to East Precinct in near future
Seattle police will soon return to the East Precinct, said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan during a Monday press conference.
Police left the precinct on June 8, after days of protests against police brutality.
Watch full video of the announcement below.
After police vacated the precinct, protesters took over the space adjacent to Cal Anderson Park, filling it with art, discussion, tents and supplies. It was first dubbed the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), and later renamed to be the Capitol Hill Occupied/Organized Protest (CHOP) area.
"It's time for people to go home," Durkan said.
Related: CHOP tries to create safety without becoming the police
Police Chief Carmen Best said officers would be coming back to the precinct, but that there was no specific date set for their return.
Durkan and Best, along with Fire Chief Harold Scoggins and other community leaders, provided updates on the shootings that happened over the weekend on Capitol Hill.
On Saturday, a 19-year-old man was shot and killed within the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest area. A 33-year-old man was also shot that day, and remains in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center. Emergency phone calls for the shooting began at about 2:19 a.m.
Related: 'They've given us the precinct.' Seattle Police backs away, and protesters take back Pine
The next day on Sunday, a 17-year-old male was shot and wounded near the Capitol Hill protest area. The youth was treated and released from Harborview.
Update: Another shooting in the CHOP was reported before 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. A male victim was rushed to the emergency room at Harborview Medical Center. Read more details here.
“The continued disorder, the violence, and the impacts on residents and businesses are not just at odds with a message of justice and equity, they cannot continue to occur,” Durkan said. “We are working with the community to bring this to an end. Capitol Hill belongs to everyone in the city.”
Andre Taylor, founder of the police accountability advocacy group Not This Time, said he met with the leaders of CHOP on Sunday. He said he explained to the leaders that the situation at CHOP had gone south, and that he believed things would get worse.
"Are you willing to die?" Taylor said he relayed to CHOP leaders. "And not only are you willing to die, are you willing to take the responsibility of someone who dies on your watch?"
Related: Second shooting at night contrasts with Seattle's CHOP by day
Taylor said he thought it was best for protesters not to occupy the CHOP space in the evening time. He said that CHOP was an idea, and not a place.
"You could take that idea around the country, and then around the world. Don't minimize the idea of CHOP — don't make it be a place. I think it's bigger than a place," Taylor said.
Taylor had helped organize a meeting between leaders within the CHOP and Mayor Durkan, however, the CHOP leaders failed to show up. He said that he continues to applaud organizers for their cause and message. But things have changed.
“When violence enters in, it overshadows your message,” Taylor said, recalling his conversation with CHOP leaders. "I said they are going to have to act because of the violence ... I feel like I cannot help the situation now because of the violence that will probably continue tonight.”