Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said the city is “not under siege” and that the police are “still responding to every single call in every area of the city.”
Protesters have occupied a six-block zone around a downtown precinct, with some calling it CHAZ for Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone or CHOP for the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.
Best said the occupied area is a “delicate situation” but “not a situation where there is lawlessness.”
“The last thing I want to do is have any issue of violence occurring in the area, so we are very judicious about how we do it and how we go in,” she said.
Last week, the police department pulled officers out of the precinct as tensions between officers and protesters boiled over. The abandoned precinct has been spray painted with a sign that says: “Seattle People Department East Precinct.”
Best said that they are working with the protesters to try and resolve the situation.
“What we have is a situation where people have occupied an area, and we are working with them. The city is working with them, and has negotiators to work with them to have a peaceful resolution,” she said.
Best also said that the barricades are preventing them from “going in as quickly and efficiently as we would like to” and the fact that officers are not in the precinct has increased response times “across the entire East precinct area.”
Here’s what it’s like inside Seattle’s Capitol Hill:
Watch Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best’s interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo: