Accusing elected officials of being complicit in allowing an occupied protest that inflicted emotional and financial harm on them, several Seattle businesses located within the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) have filed a lawsuit against the city.
A local auto-repair shop, a tattoo parlor, and a property management company are all part of the lawsuit that also includes individual workers and residential citizens. By allowing protesters to establish their "police-free" zone in the middle of the city, the litigants allege they were abandoned to feelings of insecurity and lack of physical safety.
Over the last two and a half weeks, the CHOP zone has experienced shootings, vandalism, as well as other crimes.
"This lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of plaintiffs — businesses, employees and residents in and around CHOP — which have been overrun by the city of Seattle's unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services and inaccessible to the public at large," the lawsuit says, Q13 FOX reported.
The lawsuit alleges that not only did city officials fail to stop the occupation, they encouraged it by providing access to taxpayer-funded barricades, restrooms, and medical supplies.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Monday that the city would begin reclaiming parts of the zone.