As CHOP Tensions Grow, Seattle Bans Police Use Of Tear Gas, Crowd-Control Weapons

The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), or the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), an area occupied by protesters and is also known as a self-declared autonomous zone, based in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, is breathing a sigh of relief early this week as the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to ban police from using chokeholds, tear gas, pepper spray, and other crowd-control weapons, reported King-5 News

For readers, here are some of the latest developments in CHOP

Here's our tip those who run CHOP:

City council voted 9-0 Monday amid new frustrations police officers used tear gas to disperse protesters around CHOP. Council members heard a whole host of complaints from residents forced out of their homes by the gas -- even though they were not participating in demonstrations.   

Video: King-5's report on Seattle banning police from using tear gas 

Seattle Police Officer Guild President, Mike Solan, said, last week, that officers were forced to use "less than lethal" weapons in the early morning hours of June 8 around the CHOP area to restore public order. These "tools" were mainly tear gas and pepper spray -- which were whipped up into the air, in densely packed neighborhoods, and chocked not just protesters, but also residents in their homes. 

On Monday, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said, "It has been historically known through the evidence and other research that the use of CS gas, otherwise known as tear gas, can often be a less lethal way of dispersing a crowd without having to go hands-on, without using our riot batons. So it has been determined to be less dangerous to do that. That said, it has been very clear to us that people are not wanting us to use the CS." 

Video: Police gas Chop 

Best said the police department is speaking with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, exploring other methods to control crowds in the future. 

K. Wyking Garrett, the President of Africatown Community Landtrust, a group of real estate professionals in the Greater Seattle region, said he supports the City Council's decision to restrict how police deploy tear gas

"It is very unfortunate that people expressing their First Amendment rights have been met with extreme violence and escalation by the police presence," Wyking Garrett said.

On a federal level, President Trump is expected to sign an executive order Tuesday outlining police reform -- it will include efforts to track officer misbehavior, incentivize some departments and involve social workers and mental health professionals on some calls.

CHOP occupants can breathe a sigh of relief this week that police will not tear gas or pepper bomb them out of their self-declared autonomous zone.