“TAKE BACK YOUR CITY NOW”
(Jun. 11, 2020) — Early Thursday afternoon, President Trump weighed in on Twitter about the takeover of a six-block area of Seattle, WA known as “Capitol Hill” in which a police precinct was boarded-up and abandoned without resistance; barricades erected to delineate the “autonomous zone”; extortion payments reportedly demanded of local business owners; and demands made of elected officials to disband the police department and provide free healthcare.
“Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before,” Trump tweeted. “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stopped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”
Trump additionally claimed Inslee said earlier Thursday “he ‘knows noting about that’,” meaning the “autonomous zone.”
Referred to by Reuters and Newsweek as “protesters,” the activists have claimed an area around Seattle’s East Precinct police station, which police reportedly abandoned Monday after learning of the threat that it would be set on fire.
In his tweets, Trump referred to those establishing the zone as “anarchists” and “domestic terrorists.”
A blog post published Tuesday at Medium.com under the name “FreeCapitolHill” on behalf of “COLLECTIVE BLACK VOICES” claims that the Seattle Police Department is a “terrorist cell” and lists 19 initial “demands” of the city, including “free public housing,” “Socialized Health and Medicine,” “restorative/transformative accountability programs” to replace traditional jail sentences, and “a retrial of all People in Color currently serving a prison sentence for violent crime, by a jury of their peers in their community,” among others.
The movement claims that “protesters” in the wake of George Floyd’s May 25 death have been treated unfairly by the Seattle Police Department.
Reports of intimidation by firearms at “checkpoints” and “extortion,” Seattle Police Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette said at a news conference on Wednesday, should be made to “911.” “Peaceful” protests are respected by the police, she said. To a question posed by a member of the public as to the “legality” of the “exclusion zone,” Nollette responded, “It is not legal; however, in an effort to try to cooperate and collaborate and move forward peacefully, we’re trying to get a dialog going so that we can figure out the way to resolve this without unduly impacting the citizens and the businesses that are operating in that area.”
On Wednesday night, Trump opined on the subject, “Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course. LAW & ORDER!“
At approximately the same time, he tweeted simply, “LAW AND ORDER!”
Earlier in Thursday’s timeline, Trump complimented members of the National Guard, Secret Service and Washington Metro Police Department for managing protests near the White House last week in which dozens of agents were injured. “Our great National Guard Troops who took care of the area around the White House could hardly believe how easy it was. ‘A walk in the park’, one said. The protesters, agitators, anarchists (ANTIFA), and others, were handled VERY easily by the Guard, D.C. Police, & S.S. GREAT JOB!” he tweeted.
Trump’s suggestion early last week that the National Guard might be used to quell violence in various U.S. cities was met with resistance from his Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, and more than a half-dozen retired high-ranking military officers. A week ago, former Secret Service agent and radio host Dan Bongino suggested that a coordinated effort might be under way by certain elements of the military to undermine Trump as the commander-in-chief. Bongino referred to such a plan as “mutiny” intended to place the military in charge of the country.
At 3:36 p.m. EDT/12:36 PDT, Fox News’s Dan Springer reported that police have re-entered the “autonomous zone” with unknown results. According to the same report, both the Seattle Police Department and the “National Guard” abandoned the precinct Tuesday night.
As of this writing, Inslee’s website appears to make no mention of the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.”