A group of residents and businesses in Seattle, Washington, have filed a class-action lawsuit against the city for failing to protect people and property. The city has allowed the so-called Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), anti-police rioters who used the death of George Floyd as an excuse to harm, steal, and destroy, to take over several blocks downtown.
This lawsuit puts other jurisdictions on notice. Law-abiding and taxpaying individuals and businesses will hold local governments accountable for allowing anarchists to rule the streets. From the Seattle Times:
Calfo Eakes LLP, the law firm representing the group, said in a statement the lawsuit is “not a step (their) clients have taken lightly,” adding that they stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and support demonstrators’ right to free speech and assembly. The plaintiffs include owners of apartment buildings in the area and local businesses such as Car Tender, Northwest Liquor and Wine, Sage Physical Therapy and Tattoos and Fortune. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
“This lawsuit does not seek to undermine CHOP participants’ message or present a counter-message,” the lawsuit says. “Rather, this lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of Plaintiffs … which have been overrun by the City of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public at large.”
The lawsuit alleges that the city provided the so-called occupants with stronger barriers, access to public restrooms, and medical supplies. Without police to protect their safety, business owners are afraid to go to their buildings. Some of them provide much-needed services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The result of the City’s actions has been lawlessness,” the Calfo Eakes statement said. “There is no public safety presence. Police officers will not enter the area unless it is a life-or-death situation, and even in those situations, the response is delayed and muted, if it comes at all.”
Why has the city allowed such lawlessness, which only encourages more lawlessness? Abandoning residents and businesses, which create jobs and provide the tax base, is a dereliction of duty.