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Seattle officials deliberately 'purged' thousands of CHOP-related text messages, despite 'legal obligation' to retain them: Federal judge

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Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Several former and current Seattle, Washington, officials who were in office during the 2020 Capitol Hill Organized Protest or Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone — better known as CHOP or CHAZ — deliberately "purged" evidentiary text messages related to that event, a federal judge has determined. As a result, the jury that will eventually consider a lawsuit about that event may presume that the missing text messages were "unfavorable" to the city and to those officials.

The background

On June 8, 2020, a rogue group of leftist activists, some affiliated with Black Lives Matter, cordoned off about six or eight blocks in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle and declared the area an "autonomous zone," a quasi-sovereign state that is separate from the U.S. However, infrastructure within the zone quickly collapsed as violence raged. By July 1, Seattle police had quashed the protest, and CHOP was dissolved, leaving two dead teenagers and several severely injured victims in its wake.

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