President Donald Trump lashed out at Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan for their response to the city’s protests in a tweet Wednesday evening.
Trump called Inslee “radical” and he threatened to take back the city if the officials did not intervene. He said the officials are being taunted and played by protesters.
In a subsequent tweet Trump said “domestic terrorists” have taken over Seattle, which is in the midst of its second consecutive week of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Durkan responded to Trump an hour after the president jabbed at the officials.
Protesters have taken over an occupied autonomous zone known as “CHAZ” in Capitol Hill after the Seattle Police Department scaled back its presence in the East Precinct, which became a contentious flashpoint between the two sides, to allow for peaceful protests.
Best said there will be less officers around the building and some barricades will be removed to allow protesters to protest peacefully.
Despite a decreased presence, Best said officers will not “abandon” or “leave” the East Precinct entirely. Officers will still respond to “CHAZ” for 911 calls.
There were over 25 officers injured during protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Best said.
“This is an exercise in trust and de-escalation,” Best said. “We have heard from the protesters, many on social media and many elected officials that the intention is to march and the buildings on the block will be safe. We will not allow violent actors to destroy a city facility.”
While protesters continue to call for police reform, Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant used her keys to open the doors and allow hundreds of protesters to enter City Hall Tuesday night.
Many protesters called for Durkan to resign as calls for defunding Seattle’s police department have increased in urgency.
Sawant stands by her decision because she wanted to show City Hall belongs to the people. The councilwoman she said wanted the diverse group of demonstrators to be heard in the halls of power.