SEATTLE — As protesters continue to gather outside of the East Precinct in what’s now being called the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” there’s concern among some who have visited that the message behind Black Lives Matter has been hijacked.
The African American Community Advisory Council, which works with Seattle Police to facilitate discussion with officers and those they serve, came out to “CHAZ” Thursday evening in support of Chief Carmen Best. Multiple women spoke from the group, saying African Americans helped to build the precinct.
“Black lives do matter but there are also black lives that are police lives,” one of the woman said at the intersection of 12th and E Pine. “They feel the same way that you do.”
Throughout their attempts to convey their opinion to the crowd, they were met with boos and others grabbing microphones, talking over them.
Those women also stated that protest’s core belief has been lost.
“The thing is, you have hijacked this! You have taken the meaning away!”
Tempers flared for a few minutes before things came to an end.
“Not everybody is going to have the same opinion!”
KOMO News spoke with the AACAC Chair, Victoria Beach, afterwards.
“We support our chief of police,” said Beach. “We feel she’s been thrown under the bus. It was a cowardly move for the mayor to open up that street to all of the mayhem.”
Beach compared what she’s seen at “CHAZ” to that of a festival, name dropping Burning Man, rather than a movement aimed for police reform.
“We’re going to keep our voices loud and clear. We’re going to be heard,” said Beach. “How are we going to be heard if that’s happening? How are we going to come to the table and talk?”
Not long after they spoke, a rolling garage door at the East Precinct rolled up and nearly two dozen officers on bikes pedaled out. They were met by chants and expletives from protesters. The remaining officers inside eventually closed the door and protesters then went to the corner of 12th and E Pike to setup an enhanced barricade to keep them out.
For much of the night, the entirety of the gathering remained peaceful.
KOMO News reached out to Seattle Police to see why those officers were at the precinct but we have not heard back.