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Seattle mayor praises 'cop-free zone' as police battle protesters to help neighborhood residents
(JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

Seattle mayor praises 'cop-free zone' as police battle protesters to help neighborhood residents

One officer said the 'autonomous zone' has caused response times to triple in the abandoned precinct

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) spoke out Thursday in defense of the so-called "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" set up by protesters in her city, while police officers voiced concern over the fact that response times to non-demonstrating residents in the six-block area were being delayed amid pushback from activists proclaiming the area to be "cop-free."

What are the details?

Durkan tweeted, "The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone #CHAZ is not a lawless wasteland of anarchist insurrection - it is a peaceful expression of our community's collective grief and their desire to build a better world. Given his track record, it's not hard to believe that Trump is wrong, yet again."

The mayor's slam against President Donald Trump was a response to the president threatening earlier in the day to shut down the "anarchists" himself if Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee (D) didn't do so soon.

In her news conference Thursday, Durkan added, "While I hate to give him airtime, I want to address President Trump's statements about Seattle. One of the things this president will never understand is that listening to community is not a weakness, it is a strength. I also want to be clear as I stated previously, it is unconstitutional and illegal to send military to Seattle."

But Seattle police officers — including their top brass — voiced frustration over the fact that activists were hindering law enforcement's ability to serve residents within the declared CHAZ who were not part of the demonstrators' political movement.

Townhall reporter Julio Rosas posted video on Twitter with the message, "Tensions are high in the CHAZ after some officers came in to enter the East Precinct. Some in the crowd wanted to make sure nothing happened to the officers. Others wanted to prevent the officers from entering the zone. Arguments are breaking out amongst the crowd."

According to Fox News, "at one point, a female officer can be overheard telling a protestor that 'our 911 response time has tripled from what it was before we had officers not working out of this precinct.'"

ABC News reported that Seattle Chief of Police Carmen Best confirmed the delays while addressing officers on Thursday, relaying to them that "as a result of their officers' vacancy, police can't respond to calls in the neighborhood for other violent crimes."

Best told her officers, "You should know, leaving the precinct was not my decision. You fought for days to protect it. I asked you to stand on that line, day in and day out."

She added, "I'm angry about how this all came about."

This story has been updated.

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