Last week, the city of Seattle agreed to pay $3,650,000 in damages, including legal fees, to business owners who filed a lawsuit after the deadly 2020 Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) damaged their businesses and properties and violated their constitutional rights.
The settlement came just weeks after a federal judge imposed sanctions against the city upon the revelation that Seattle officials— including former Mayor Jenny Durkan, former police chief Carmen Best, and Fire Chief Harold Scoggins— deleted thousands of text messages during the armed occupation by Antifa and BLM rioters of 6 square blocks of the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
The settlement should have put to rest any absurd statements like those of Durkan on CNN describing the CHAZ also known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) as having “a block party atmosphere,” and proclaiming, “We could have the summer of love.”
Six people were shot, 2 of them killed, during the 3-week armed occupation after police were ordered to abandon the department’s East precinct and not to enter the zone during the height of the riots that rocked the Emerald City following the death of George Floyd.
According to the Seattle police, rapes, robberies, and murders spiked 250 percent during the occupation, but the media still continue to push the narrative that it was a "mostly peaceful protest."
According to a Seattle Times article reporting the settlement, "While CHOP was mostly peaceful, there were instances of vandalism and sporadic outbreaks of violence, including fights, an attempt to torch the abandoned police precinct, and at least four shootings that claimed two lives of two teenagers, including a 16-year-old boy whose death led the city to end the protest."
During the occupation, the outlet accused this reporter of manufacturing claims and parroting reports of protesters extorting businesses for protection money.
I had heard the reports on a local outlet while driving to the zone. I confirmed the reports with police officers stationed nearby and with businesses inside the zone. Yet like true mafia “protectees,” businesses afraid of retaliation began to deny the allegations after a media spotlight was shined on the story.
The Times even got their timeline wrong and stated, "The claim was later repeated by a commenter under the name 'Marcus S.' on the Capitol Hill Seattle blog, and in a tweet by Andy Ngo, Editor-at-Large of The Post Millennial," even though the comment by "Marcus S." pre-dated my filing of the story. Media Matters parroted the outlet’s claims.
Left-wing outlets fell over themselves to portray the zone as peaceful. A media event was held by the occupiers after the initial occupation to try and showcase those claims after videos went viral on social media of violence in the zone the night before.
I chose to enter the occupation after the media event to see what was really going on and even interviewed the “warlord” of the zone, Raz Simone.
Though he also claimed it was peaceful, I recognized him from a video taken the previous night assaulting people inside the occupation. Simone was later caught on video handing out AR-15s from the back of a Tesla to anyone who would stand a guard post in the zone.
Politico slammed my reporting of the zone on Fox News saying the network “has hammered at the idea that the CHOP has made neighbors alarmed and fearful. But the only purported ‘resident of this part of the city’ it has presented is a ‘former Seattle City Council candidate’ named Ari Hoffman, who said nothing about the neighborhood but inveighed against ‘domestic terrorists.’”
The outlet added, “One problem: Hoffman, a familiar face on Fox, isn’t from Capitol Hill. He lives in Seward Park, an affluent neighborhood 4 miles away.”
I am sure that Politico or any other media outlet has never sent reporters to cover a story in an area they don’t live in. Often times outlets send reporters hundreds if not thousands of miles away from where they live to cover a story. In a desperate attempt to disprove my reporting their only attack was that I lived “4 miles away” and covered a story in an area whose nightlife I have frequented the years I have lived in Seattle.
The outlet also chose to ignore occupiers attempting to assault a Fox News reporter in the zone that was caught on video.
Media Matters called reporting by myself and others “fear-mongering” and took issue with me describing the deteriorating zone in its second week as a “glorified homeless encampment” where “you’re concerned you might get hepatitis from or, perhaps, coronavirus,” after many of the activists including the warlord began abandoning the area.
The left-wing media also chose to ignore Horace Anderson, father of Lorenzo Anderson, sobbing on Hannity after his son, a black teen, was killed by gunfire in the zone. Anderson would go on to sue the city over the death of his son and settle for $500,000.
Despite the riots, assaults, shootings, homicides, attempts to burn officers alive inside a police station, subsequent settlements, and other lawsuits still pending, the Seattle Times and those on the left continue to perpetuate the false narrative of a “mostly peaceful” protest and chose to ignore city officials that enabled the violence.
These outlets celebrated the zone and demonized anyone accurately reporting what was going on inside and enabled local officials to justify allowing the zone to continue to exist for the sake of “racial justice” which caused rampant lawlessness, including the murder of two black teens.