A socialist Seattle City Council member who has aligned herself with the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone is blaming the “brutality” and “violence” associated with capitalism that led to a deadly shooting there Monday.
“Deepest condolences from Socialist Alternative and my Council office to the family and friends and fellow activists of the community member who was tragically killed in the drive-by shooting at the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP),” Councilwoman Kshama Sawanttweeted Monday to her 72,000 followers.
“While we await details of this tragic killing, it highlights capitalism’s brutality & endemic violence,” she wrote. “Our movement rejects insinuations & falsehoods perpetuated by corporate & conservative media that this violence is outcome of CHOP or of our movement.
“We need to continue building a powerful movement to end gentrification, to fully fund public schools & decent jobs,” she added. “Capitalism *is* a police state. While we’ll have to fight to win reforms, we have to dismantle capitalism to win a violence-free society.”
Four shootings have occurred in the past two weeks in or near the CHOP zone, where protesters have blocked police officers from entering since June 8.
Early Monday, a 16-year-old was killed and a 14-year-old boy was left in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center after a shooting near the zone.
Police responded to the area around 3 a.m. Monday and found a Jeep Cherokee with multiple bullet holes. They said the crime scene had clearly been disturbed. There are no suspects in custody.
“It is abundantly clear to our detectives people had been in and out of the car after the shooting,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said Monday. “Detectives have been trying to get information from witnesses, but as has been the case in other crime scenes in this area, people are not being cooperative for our requests for help.”
“This is something that’s going to need to change,” she said. “We’re asking that people remove themselves from this area for the safety of the people. If they care about people, they’re going to have to try to help us to make it safe.”
Chief Best and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan have said officers will return to the East Precinct soon, which was evacuated on June 11 amid the protest, but they did not reveal a timeline.
Ms. Sawant, a high-profile member of the Socialist Alternative party, has called for the CHOP to be established permanently and on Sunday helped lead a march on Ms. Durkan’s home, demanding major cuts to the city’s police department, CHS Capitol Hill Seattle reported.
Ms. Sawant said Monday that the latest shooting underscored the urgency to defund the police by at least 50% and release all protesters without charges.
Last weekend, after the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man, Ms. Sawant speculated, without evidence, that it “may have been a right-wing attack.” She later admitted she was incorrect.
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