Last Friday, June 26, Andre Taylor facilitated a closed-door meeting between Mayor Jenny Durkan and CHOP occupiers at First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Capitol Hill. The meeting was announced a couple hours before it began in what seemed like an intentional attempt to exclude members of the Black Collective Voice (BCV). Most of the protesters in attendance received an invitation to the conversation. However, a few uninvited protesters managed to get a seat at the table to express their concerns and community needs from the Mayor, one of whom is a member of BCV.
Converge Media‘s Omari Salisbury also attended to live-stream the meeting, which Taylor forbade. Instead, Salisbury live-tweeted what was happening until Durkan personally asked him to cease his efforts to maintain transparency.
On the morning of July 1, Mayor Durkan issued a ten-day Executive Order declaring any gathering in CHOP as an “unlawful assembly.” Seattle Police Department forced out protesters and unsheltered individuals living in CHOP and is now allegedly requiring identification or proof of residency to enter the area. Whether this was in Durkan’s plans for SPD’s reclaiming of the East Precinct is unknown. However, these actions contradict the statements she made to protesters in the room that day.
Despite Durkan’s avoidance of accountability, an audio recording of the meeting exists. Obtained from one of the protesters in attendance, here’s the two-and-a-half-hour discussion.
Below is a collection of clips from the meeting that stood out as necessary to hear.
“We will keep a place in the park for permanent protest.”Mayor Durkan on peaceful protest in CHOP after barrier removal and SPD re-enters precinct.
“I very much believe in and will protect your fundamental right to gather and First Amendment rights to raise your voices against government. I think it is one of the most important rights we have in our country and I cherish it.”Mayor Durkan on Protester Rights.
“You have my commitment that we want to get $100m in new money to spend in community, in addition to what we’ve already done.”Mayor Durkan on refunding South End and Central District communities.
“I’ve talked to both Pete Holmes, the City Attorney, and Dan Satterberg, who’s the King County Prosecutor, and said you should not file any charges against protesters, unless they were one of the ones who was lighting patrol cars on fire, breaking in windows, and stealing stuff. I put that in a different category. But the other ones? We’ve had conversations and I think it’s the right thing to do. Is there resisting arrests or are there assaults? Yes, but if we’re going to have peace, we have to put that behind us.”Mayor Durkan on amnesty for all protesters.
“The judge has entered a TRO that absolutely prohibits those from being used, except for in some circumstances, and I agreed today that it shouldn’t be temporary. It was supposed to be only for 14 days, I said, ‘keep it in place, make it permanent.’”Mayor Durkan on SPD’s use of tear gas, flash grenades.
“We’re not going to do it overnight. We’re not going to come and throw the tents out.”Mayor Durkan on SPD’s reclaiming of precinct.
“We created an independent oversight so that there will be somebody that can say, ‘we’re going to look at all the evidence, the body cam. So if you think that was a lie, we’ll take that as a complaint.”Mayor Durkan on holding SPD accountable for their lies.