SEATTLE - Now that police claims to have retaken SPD’s West Precinct, it’s highly unlikely protests are over.
Chief Carmen Best said the Seatle Police Department is preparing to resume operations out of the abandoned facility as soon as possible.
No matter the dozens of arrests Wednesday morning some demonstrators insist the movement is more than just a location.
“Enough is enough,” Best said Thursday. “Our job is to protect and to serve the community and support peaceful demonstrations. But what has happened here in these past few weeks is lawless, brutal and is simply unacceptable.”
For weeks the surrounding streets had been occupied by mostly peaceful protesters, but city leaders and police insist the gun violence had overshadowed messaging.
“The mayor’s order makes clear this area is off limits at this time and so no one should be in the area,” Best said.
“We are at below or minimum safe staffing levels for each precinct,” said Mike Solan, president of the union, Seattle Police Officers Guild. “That alone creates a hazardous situation for everybody in the city.”
Solan said the union is proposing programs to reinvent community policing, right down to each city’s neighborhood. But since city council has banned the use of some crowd control measures like teargas and rubber bullets, future conflicts could be worse.
“If we don’t have that tools then the only option are batons, hands and service weapons,” he said.
Chief Best said the department had not heard about threats against other department facilities but added staffing would be beefed up as needed.
Demonstrators leaving CHOP said it doesn't matters where they protest, it’s the message of denouncing systemic racism, police violence and oppression that’s worthy of repeating.