Among the nationwide protests in response to the alleged murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police was the creation of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (called the CHAZ) in Seattle. The neighborhood’s police department abandoned their department’s building and boarded up the windows to allow protestors free rein to assemble. Protestors seized the area deeming: “this space is now property of the Seattle people.”
The zone’s membership is attempting to show that police aren’t essential for a functioning society. One member explained: “We are trying to prove through action and practice that we don’t need them and we can fulfill the community’s needs without them.”
The group has been met with mixed feedback, having support from the Mayor and other local organizations, but extreme vitriol from President Trump. The president warned via Twitter “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will” and called the residents of the CHAZ “ugly Anarchists” who “must be stopped.” Mirroring the president’s feelings, many have also openly mocked the group on social media.
One post that allegedly confirms that mockery and dissent is spreading quickly is a screenshot of a tweet that claims the CHAZ had all of their food taken by the invited homeless and that they needed “vegan meat substitutes, fruits, oats, soy products etc.” in order to keep the zone operational.
News outlets including the New York Post picked this up and shared it as a part of their coverage of the CHAZ, but recent posts from the CapHillAutonomousZone subreddit reveal that this tweet could have been fabricated.
The screenshot shows a direct message between an anonymous message and lauracouc, who allegedly tweeted about the taken food, claiming the tweet is a photoshop. Direct confirmation of this couldn’t be obtained as lauracouc’s Twitter account only allows confirmed followers to see their content.
The user who shared the screenshot claimed that “it should have been pretty obvious this was fake” and claimed the font didn’t match Twitter’s standard and that the post mainly consisted of leftist stereotypes.
This wouldn’t be the first false report about the activities, as Police Chief Carmen Best stated in a video message that the businesses surrounding the CHAZ were being asked to donate money in exchange for protection. The Capitol Hill Business Alliance reached out regarding the matter and found no reports of this occurring.
It’s still very early for the CHAZ and they have just now started making gardens to grow food, but it will be interesting to see how long it lasts and if the police will eventually reclaim their building.