By Daniel Villarreal, Time
On Friday, a federal district court judge allowed a lawsuit brought by 21 businesses against the city of Seattle to proceed, despite the city’s attempt to have it dismissed.
The lawsuit accuses the city of harming local business owners by allowing the existence of Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), a self-declared autonomous zone that was established and occupied by racial justice protestors from June 8 to July 1.
The occupied zone blocked all car traffic, reducing the businesses’ access to customers, vendors and revenue, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit further alleges that city police largely neglected the zone, allowing protesters and others to damage business property and threaten business owners without punishment.
Lastly, the lawsuit states that the city provided concrete barriers, medical supplies, washing and sanitation facilities, portable toilets, lighting and other material support, including the use of Cal Anderson Park to CHOP occupiers, and told police to adopt a “no response” policy wherein officers wouldn’t arrive unless a 9-1-1 caller reported “significant life safety issues.”