Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Thursday that neither she nor City Police Chief Carmen Best had any intention of resigning – despite calls from protesters to do so.
“The answer is no and no,” Durkan told reporters at a news conference, according to Seattle’s KUOW Public Radio.
“We thought for a moment ‘Thelma & Louise’, she added, referring to a 1991 film about two women on the run from the law.
Hundreds of protesters took over the town hall for about an hour Tuesday night while they seized a six-block downtown area that includes a closed police building. The demonstrations were reportedly peaceful but the crowd urged Durkan to quit if she refused to confuse the city̵
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Protesters have called on the authorities to make comprehensive reforms of law enforcement tactics – and redirect police funding to community health and service efforts, according to The Guardian. Other claims included losing criminal charges against protesters.
On Thursday, the crowd continued to occupy the six-block downtown area, named “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) because of its location in the city’s Capitol Hill area.
The occupation comes after Seattle police abandoned the department’s East Precinct in the area following violent clashes with the uprising earlier this week.
At Thursday’s news conference, Best told reporters it was not her decision to leave the district, while Durkan also denied responsibility, according to The Stranger, a Seattle-based newspaper.
“We were asked to make an operational plan if we needed to leave,” Best said. “The decision was made. We are still evaluating how the change happened but it did not come from me.”
Some police officers passed through the so-called “police-free zone” on their way to the canceled, abandoned East Precinct building.
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“Tensions are high in CHAZ after some officers came in to enter East Precinct,” Town Hall journalist Julio Rosa tweeted Thursday, along with a two-minute video of the meeting. “Some in the crowd wanted to make sure nothing happened to the officers. Others wanted to prevent the officers from entering the zone. “
An official can be heard in the video telling a demonstrator that “our 911 response time has tripled from what it was before we had officers who did not work from this area.”
Earlier Thursday, President Trump proclaimed Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Durkan, accusing Democrats of losing control of the nation’s 18th largest city.
“Radical left-wing governor @JayInslee and the mayor of Seattle are mocked and played at a level our amazing country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t, I will do. This is not a game. stopped, FOR FAST !, he wrote.
Durkan replied: “Of course @realDonaldTrump do not understand what is happening in five square blocks of our city. For decades, Cal Anderson and Capitol Hill have been a place for freedom of expression, society and self-expression. “
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She added that CHAZ was “not a lawless wasteland for anarchist rebellion,” but a peaceful expression of community grief following the death of George Floyd in a May 20 police watch in Minneapolis.
Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran and Michael Ruiz contributed to this story.