Activist campaigns against police to have accelerated in the wake of a violent altercation between police and George Floyd that prefaced his death. In response, mayors of several cities have reduced police presence. This has led in several cases to dramatic increases in violent crime.
Since violent protests against police have begun, there have been numerous reports of shootings occurring in Seattle and the six-block Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone over the last few days.
One protestor named Jake Scheels inadvertently caught a shooting on camera. In one moment, Scheels can be seen describing life in the CHAZ while he plays frisbee and walks around the area. A neighborhood overtaken by gun-toting anti-police vigilantes, CHAZ is also known as Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, or CHOP.
“Look it, it’s being resolved peacefully,” he says. “Peacefully. Peacefully. No one is going to f-cking jail. There’s nothing to be afraid of down here at the CHOP.”
Just seconds later, Scheels is seen walking his car as protestors around him scatter, screaming, and gunshots ring out.
“It’s getting a little wild down here now,” he says. He continues once he is in his car with, “Dude, there’s f-cking gunshots. I’m out of here.” He later returns to the scene and begins describing the suspected shooter to the camera.
According to a statement released by the Seattle Police Department, officers also responded to a shooting in the CHAZ early Saturday morning but “were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims.”
Footage from security cameras and officers’ body cameras during the incident was later released and shows officers attempting to push past protestors to respond to the report of a shooting in the area.
“Please move out of the way so we can get to the victim. All we are trying to do is get to the victim and provide them aid,” says one officer.
According to CNN, “a later clip shows police leaving as members of the public continue to yell at them.”
The victims were eventally both transported to the hospital, where one died of his injuries. Protestors in the CHAZ are now calling for the shooter(s) to turn themselves in. According to CNN, one protestor even suggested the police would treat the shooter better than other protestors might.
“Turn yourself in, because if you don’t … it’s better that the police get hold of you than they do,” they said.
Earlier this week, at least eight people in Minneapolis were shot. According to CBS 4 Minnesota, “the Minneapolis Police Department says it’s investigating five separate incidents” and no arrests have been made yet.
This comes shortly after the Minneapolis City Council voted to replace the police department with social programming. The resolution passed unanimously just a few weeks after Floyd, a Minneapolis resident, was allegedly killed by members of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Another shooting, one of the most violent in Minneapolis’s history, according to the Star Tribune, wounded 11 people and killed another on Sunday. A suspect has yet to be arrested and Minneapolis Police has “been in touch with FBI officials in the Twin Cities.”
“We have seen unfortunately in the past several months an uptick in violent crime in Minneapolis, and we are certainly doing our best to address that,” said Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. “This is going to take more than just the Minneapolis Police Department.”
State Rep. Pat Garofalo tweeted about the rising violence in Minneapolis, stating his disgust with the whole situation.
“In Minneapolis during the last 24 hours, 19 people have been shot.19,” he wrote. “As distressing as that is, consider the fact that the Minneapolis City Council wants to reduce the number of cops in Minneapolis. This public safety crisis is spiraling out of control.”
New York City
ABC 7 in New York City reported that more than 22 people were shot over the weekend as police presence continues to decrease by order of the mayor.
“We are going to put more and more resources into the Cure Violence movement and the Crisis Management System, which has proven to be extraordinarily effective in stopping gun violence before it happens and mediating conflicts,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier.
According to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, there was “an increase of 25 percent in homicides in the last few days,” but city still plans to use its Cure Violence movement instead of police to mitigate gun violence.
According to NBC 5 Chicago, more than 50 people were shot this weekend with at least eight fatalities reported. Many of the shootings have resulted in no one in custody.
This comes just a few weeks after this year’s Memorial Day weekend, which was the most violent weekend in Chicago’s history. According to the Chicago Sun Times, more than 85 people were wounded in shootings and 25 other people died that weekend.
“We’ve never seen anything like it at all,” said Max Kapustin, the senior research director at the crime lab told the Sun Times of the increase in shootings after rioters poured into the streets with anger at police. “I don’t even know how to put it into context. It’s beyond anything that we’ve ever seen before.”