chaz blm american flag
© REUTERS / Lindsey Wasson
An upside down American flag taped to the fence outside a former police precinct at the self-proclaimed CHAZ.
Two separate shootings in Seattle's 'autonomous zone' have highlighted the fragility of the experiment. Victims had to be taken to hospital in private cars because city rescuers would not go inside the potentially dangerous area.

The shootings happened minutes apart on Saturday night inside Seattle's Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) - also called CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized Protest) - leaving one person dead and another one in critical condition. The tragic outcome for one of the victims may have been influenced by the fact paramedics were unable to reach the scene of the shooting and treat the injured young man on site.

Video posted by activist and rapper Raz Simone, the so-called 'warlord' of CHAZ, shows him pleading for the paramedics to move inside the zone. "This is what you guys are doing? You could be saving this man's life right now!" Simone is heard crying. Radio chatter from one of the vehicles waiting at the staging area confirms they had not been cleared to move into the scene.


The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) said the ambulances had to keep outside CHAZ, about a block away from where the shooting happened, due to an existing policy requiring law enforcement to first secure a scene of violent crime before emergency workers can approach it. The autonomous zone is supposed to be an experiment in organizing a community where police are not required.

The gunshot victim was eventually evacuated from CHAZ by volunteer medics, who used a private vehicle to take him to Harborview Medical Center. The 19-year-old man was pronounced dead 11 minutes later, according to a timeline of events compiled by the Seattle Fire Department. If the city paramedics had had immediate access to the scene, they could have started treating him about 15 minutes before he arrived at the hospital - though it was not immediately clear whether that would have affected the outcome.

Seattle police organized a patrol to extract the shooting victim from CHAZ, but they showed up minutes after he was taken away. Instead the officers, who had their handguns drawn and protected themselves with shields, were confronted by an angry crowd.

Video filmed by citizen journalist Omari Salisbury shows the protesters with their hands in the air moving towards the group of retreating police, chanting "Hands up, don't shoot." Others formed a human chain to keep fellow CHAZers away from the officers.

The second shooting victim was found about two blocks away and given first aid before being moved in a private car to Harborview. He remains at the hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to police. There was no indication that the two shootings were connected to each other or to the protest movement in general.

The incidents have highlighted the fragility of the CHAZ experiment, as many skeptics pointed out responding to Simone's video. "You're an 'autonomous zone'. Don't go whining that a foreign government you've broken away from isn't helping you," one of the commenters snarked.


The participants, however, don't seem to be stopping it anytime soon. "We lost another black man last night," Jaiden Grayson, a leader of the movement, told a crowd of fellow activists according to The Seattle Times. "That is the very reason we are out here."


Comment: Ponerogenesis in action, including the decline in mental abilities that comes with it. Grayson's statements above make zero sense. How exactly is a black man killed in CHAZ (presumably by another CHAZer) the "very reason" they are out there? The man did not die because of police brutality. In this case, it sounds as if he died because of a lack of police. But non-contradiction does not apply to revolutionaries. Anything and everything can be taken as proving their point. Logic doesn't apply. Try engaging in a reasoned debate with someone for whom logic and evidence don't count. With a slogan as flexible as "Black Lives Matter", their goals will not be met until all black people achieve immortality, because any death is a confirmation of their foundational premise.


She urged demonstrators to stop drinking and using drugs, saying substance users expose CHAZ to police sweeping out demonstrators and violence from white supremacists.