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More than a dozen businesses are taking the city of Seattle to court, arguing that Mayor Jenny Durkan and the city failed to protect them from the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone CHAZ / CHOP

The plaintiffs claim that the city government looked the other way as protesters took over a six-block neighborhood earlier this month after police abandoned their East Precinct station.

CHAZ / CHOP

The area was dubbed the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), but was later re-branded as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP).

The unpoliced encampment was soon plagued by crime, vandalism, and violence. A series of shootings over a 48-hour period earlier this week led to one fatality.

As we reported earlier Mayor Jenny Durkan originally called the protest a “peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief,” but has since vowed to restore order.

However, her change of heart appears to be too little, too late for the businesses that have lawyered-up.

Although they support the anti-racist, anti-police brutality message of the protesters, the plaintiffs said that the encampment has blocked public access to their businesses by barricades, and even armed guards.

The lawsuit is seeking damages for lost business, property damage and deprivation of their rights as property owners.


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