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Tipsheet

This Is How Close Seattle Officials Were Ready to Hand Over Police Station to BLM During CHAZ Disaster

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Emails and documents obtained by the Seattle Times showed how seriously then-Mayor Jenny Durken, a Democrat, was considering to hand over the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct to the local Black Lives Matter chapter during the city's riots and subsequent Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone/Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHAZ/CHOP) crisis.

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After days of riots taking place in the residential neighborhood of Capitol Hill, where the East Precinct is located, Durken ordered police to evacuate the building on June 8, 2020. The documents and emails showed Calvin Goings, the director of the city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services (FAS), emailed three memos and a draft resolution to Durkan that same afternoon about giving the building to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (BLMSKC) on July 1 and to relocate the East Precinct.

Kiersten Grove, the deputy department director for FAS, emailed Goings:

"Calvin, Attached please find three documents and supporting materials:

  1. A draft memo and resolution transferring the East Precinct. Please note that this is drafted as a resolution as significant legal analysis will need to be done to ensure that this is executed as intended.
  2. A memo and supporting materials that outline options within the East Precinct boundaries for relocating the facility. Please note that for any of these options there will be some set up time required, including for any portables. In the current form, the Precinct would require dozens of portables which may not provide sufficient security for data or other law enforcement materials.
  3. A memo outlining the process for relocating the Precinct functions."
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"Good afternoon Mayor, Please see the attached documents as requested. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns," Goings wrote.

From my time covering CHAZ, which later became CHOP, there was discussion among the occupiers whether they wanted to take over the police station or move the zone to another part of the city. The Times noted Durken has previously tried to deny there was any serious consideration for such a transfer.

After multiple shootings, which left two black men dead, Durken ordered police to take back the area on July 1.

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