CHOP protesters work to build dialogue with Seattle's fire chief, city leaders

Lawyers representing residents and businesses impacted by the CHOP protest zone agreed not to file a court order, Friday, according a representative from the city attorney’s office for the City of Seattle. This will give the city a little more time to share its plans with them on addressing CHOP.

Several city departments were present throughout the protest zone. Friday morning started with the city’s Department of Transportation trying to remove some of the barricades in the street as part of the Capitol Hill neighborhood recovery efforts. Officials said several protesters grew agitated and aggressive towards crews. Video shows one man laying down on the ground in front of a bulldozer to stop their work. For safety, officials said the city crews were pulled back from the protest zone and would continue planning the transition of the area.

A representative from the mayor’s office said the city had no plans on Friday to return to the Seattle Police Department’s east precinct.

Chief Harold Scoggins of the Seattle Fire Department said he made daily visits to the protest zone.

“The entire community should be out here trying to understand and see what’s going on and figure out ways that we can all help,” said Scoggins.

Protesters used his visit, Friday, as a chance to express some concerns about city leaders missing opportunities to have a dialogue with those who are involved with the movement.

“We feel very misrepresented when you all say we talked to protesters, we negotiated with protesters—when what happened is, not , but someone else showed up and just talked to a random person. Random people do not get to make decisions. We are a community. We want you all to talk to the community. When are you all going to start doing that?” asked Tarika Powell of Scoggins.

Powell is a member of Black Collective Voice – a Seattle group that has been vocal about police reform. She said the group gathers at Cal Anderson Park every evening to talk about the movement and how to progress. Q13 News witnessed Scoggins accepting Powell’s invitation to join one of their conversations and help build dialogue.

“We want to do it where we’re actually having a conversation. So, when any state agency says that facilitated communication with CHOP leaders, that could actually be true for the first time,” said Powell.

“We’re a community. All these things affect all of us. Not just here on Capitol Hill, but the entire community. So, we should all be trying to figure it out and all trying to understand. How can we help and make things better,” said Scoggins. “The last thing is miscommunication, confusion.”

Black Collective Voice is working with Scoggins and his staff to schedule a time to meet.

Crews with Parks and Recreation did some spot cleaning at Cal Anderson Park. They picked up trash left behind, as people continued leaving an encampment that developed at the park when CHOP first started.

The city’s Human Resources Department said staff was present every day helping people get connected to resources. That support included access to housing, health care, food and COVID-19 testing.