Father of teen fatally shot in CHAZ sues city, county, state, local officials for encouraging ‘lawlessness’

“All of the city officials that contributed to my son’s death need to be held accountable."

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
The father of one of the black teens who was shot and killed in the deadly Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in 2020 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Seattle, King County, the state of Washington, former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, and Councilmember Kshama Sawant for encouraging “lawlessness to reign.”

The lawsuit alleges that Antonio Mays Jr., 16, and a 14-year-old boy were shot by CHAZ, also known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) “security” guards, a "makeshift police force” on June 29, 2020, while “trying to escape while being barricaded” by “Chop Cops which were under the direction of Seattle City officials.” 

According to the Sentinel Event Review of Police Response to 2020 Protests in Seattle written by the Seattle Office of Inspector General, the “makeshift security squad comprised of civilian residents of the CHOP area, trained by the Seattle Police Department.”

The suit was filed Thursday in a Washington court and alleges that “CHOP medics who were essentially good Samaritans attempted to provide aid, deciding at 3:05 am to transport Antonio out of CHOP for emergency assistance when Seattle Paramedics failed at their duty to provide the much-needed assistance.”

“Rather than waiting for assistance to come to them, due to the severity of his injuries, they decided to transport him. CHOP medics drove Mr. Mays to meet paramedics at a pre-arranged staging location on 14th and Union which was communicated on the phones.”

“When the CHOP medics arrived, the paramedics did a U-turn and sped away in the other direction. The CHOP medics frantically followed the paramedics, perplexed as to why they were driving away instead of helping Antonio, who was clearly in dire need of live-saving medical attention. At one point, the medics caught up with the paramedics again, but the paramedics sped off once again. The civilian medics continued to pursue the ambulance, ultimately making contact with the paramedics in a parking lot. The CHOP medics pulled into the lot at 3:22 am to transfer Mr. Mays to SFD for transport to Harborview.”

“Unfortunately, it was too late. By the time they got Antonio to the car, he had died. Shockingly, there were no attempts made by the paramedics to resuscitate Antonio.

“Although the City directive was for the police or first responders not to enter the CHOP zone without prior permission, there was no limitation to allowing assistance outside of the CHOP zone. The CHOP medics followed the agreed-upon protocol and drove Antonio to a meeting point to transfer him into the care of first responders so that he could receive live-saving medical care.”

According to the suit, the zone was “abandoned without a working plan to provide essential services, creating a danger.” Additionally, “despite knowledge of the violence, chaos, danger, and potential danger, Seattle leaders failed Antonio and encouraged lawlessness to reign.”

The suit alleges that Mays “was lured” into the zone by then-Mayor Durkan’s “positive statements about the area. Sadly, Antonio soon realized that there was nothing peaceful about CHOP.”

The suit also claims that delayed response by police allowed for tampering with the crime scene and according to Evan Oshan, the father’s lawyer, even though the alleged assailant was caught on video, almost 3 years later there has still been no arrest in the case.

Oshan alleged that Seattle officials should have known how dangerous the area had become, especially after 19-year-old Lorenzo Anderson was shot in the zone nine days before Mays and died because paramedics took too long to respond.

The Post Millennial revealed in 2021 that Daniel Alan Baker of Tallahassee, Florida, was suspected by zone activists as well as private security hired by residents and businesses in the zone of being one of the shooters.

Following the shooting, Baker fled the area and began moving around the country from city to city and according to the FBI, joined other protests around the country. "Baker, who actively participated in multiple protests throughout the United States last summer, has used social media as a way to promote, encourage and educate his followers on how to incapacitate and debilitate law enforcement officers." Before the November Presidential election Baker said on social media, "God I hope the right tries a coup Nov 3rd cuz I'm so f------ down to slay enemies again."

In March of 2021, Baker was found guilty and sentenced to 44 months in jail for attempting to rally activists to surround pro-Trump protesters with guns at the Florida state Capitol in January of that year.

Baker served in the Army in 2006 and 2007 before being dishonorably discharged. He went AWOL (Absent With-Out Leave) before his unit deployed to Iraq. From 2008 to 2017, Baker was unemployed, homeless, and in the Tallahassee area, occasionally working as a security guard.

In 2017, Baker joined a militia group in Syria, the People's Protection Units (YPG), a sub-affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department. The group is a combination of revolutionary socialism, Marxism, and Leninism and is attempting to create a communist Kurdistan.

According to the FBI, Baker threatened violence and was trying to "recruit and train" "like-minded individuals" via social media to join him in his "anti-government or anti-authority violent extremism ideology." Baker threatened people he deemed to be "white supremacists," "fascists," or even just had opposing political views and also advocated for killing members of the US military.

While in Seattle’s autonomous zone, Baker was interviewed for an article about the occupation and stated "I told them, if they really wanted a revolution, we needed to get AK's and start making bombs. No one listened to me." While in the zone, Baker posted pictures of himself as a sniper and even said "If they are going to shoot and lynch us for protesting unarmed and peacefully, then we might as well die fighting."

At the time of the Mays’ fatal shooting, Baker claimed to be providing security for the zone and serving as a "medic" who administered aid to the gunshot victims.

Baker claimed in a now-deleted Twitter account that the teens in the vehicle shot at him and other zone security members, but then adds that he tried to de-escalate the situation which he said was started by the occupants of the vehicles throwing fireworks.

Gunshots from various types of weapons can be heard in multiple videos of the shooting. According to witnesses and multiple streamers including Converge Media, zone security fired at the vehicle. Some of the zone security guards were even caught on video and audio in the aftermath of the shooting mocking the incident. One person can even be heard saying, "What, you're nauseous? I'm the one who killed him."

Baker also said on Twitter that he confiscated weapons found in the SUV after the shooting and took the weapons to the zone’s "armory."

At the time, the information on Baker was turned over to the Seattle Police and the FBI.

Oshan cited in the lawsuit a federal judge imposing sanctions against the city for deleting thousands of text messages between Seattle officials including Durkan, former police chief Carmen Best, and Fire Chief Harold Scoggins during the armed Antifa and BLM occupation of the zone. The ruling led to the city settling a lawsuit with business owners for $3.6 million who claimed the deadly autonomous zone violated their constitutional rights and caused damage to their property.

The city has settled millions of dollars in claims as a result of the zone including with the father of Lorenzo Anderson, the first shooting victim during the occupation.

Mays Sr. said in a statement, “All of the city officials that contributed to my son’s death need to be held accountable. This lawsuit and complaint is not about money, it’s about getting justice for my son.”
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