The irony of the no-cop CHOP: It showed how much we still need the police after all

After the shootings in the past few days near the Capitol Hill anti-police protest zone, the call went out, paradoxically, for the help of the one thing the protest is most arguing against.

“Our movement should demand and insist that the Seattle Police fully investigate this attack and be held accountable to bring the killer(s) to justice,” said Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant in a statement.One paragraph later she re-upped her demand, however, to “defund” these same police.

It wasn’t just Sawant with the suddenly mixed message. City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda noted in a Monday meeting that “we want to make sure that firefighters and EMT have access to do their jobs and help those that need it.”

Even the protesters, who in a statement said they took two shooting victims to the hospital because Seattle police and fire were too slow in getting there, seemed to tacitly acknowledge the limits of a “no-cop” zone.

“We as safety teams are peacekeepers, not police,” read the unsigned statement from the CHOP, or Capitol Hill Organized Protest. “We do not want to be homicide detectives, or CSI, or accessories to this murder.”

But now with three shootings in the past three nights in the immediate vicinity, the CHOP has ended up demonstrating the reverse of its no-cop Utopian goal. It turns out we still need those homicide detectives and the CSI and probably much of whatever else was going on in that boarded-up East Precinct.

“We can police ourselves!” a man was still insisting in one of the CHOP’s intersections on Tuesday when I stopped by.

“The hell we can,” a woman responded under her breath. We were listening to the mother of Lorenzo Anderson, the young man who was slain nearby Sunday morning, express her anguish about the delayed medical response during a livestream show broadcast from a sidewalk in the CHOP zone on Converge Media.

Hard to see how any of that squares with “defund the police.”

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