On Tuesday the Seattle Police Department showed up in force to clear Cal Anderson Park and protect the Seattle Parks Department in dismantling the homeless encampment that had grown in recent weeks.
According to the SPD "Officers providing security during a Seattle Parks Department cleanup Tuesday morning at Cal Anderson Park recovered homemade spike strips, weapons and dozens of makeshift shields inside of tents in the area."
Cal Anderson Park was the center of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) and has been closed since the CHOP was dismantled by the city of Seattle in July.
The park closure has not been stringently enforced. During the CHOP, the park evolved from a meeting and assembly area to a massive homeless encampment. Following the clearing of the CHOP the homeless returned to the park.
Activists at the park and on social media spent the day berating SPD for the cleanup claiming that they were just there to "feed the homeless."
Yet, the park has also been a staging area for Antifa rioters to assemble before marching to their nightly targets across the city.
This comes just a week after members of the Riot Kitchen food truck were arrested by local and federal authorities in Kenosha, Wisconsin for "…preparing for criminal activity related to the civil unrest."
Riot Kitchen claimed that it was "pure craziness" to suggest they preparing for criminal activity. Yet Kenosha police had surveilled the vehicles with out of state plates fueling gas cans and the vehicles contained gas masks, helmets, protective vests, illegal fireworks and suspected controlled substances.
Riot Kitchen was part of the food distribution for armed occupiers in the CHOP and was travelling from Seattle to Washington DC when the riots broke out in Kenosha, so they planned a detour.
According to SPD "The Seattle Parks Department began clearing Cal Anderson Park shortly after 10 AM Tuesday to repair damages done to a field house, as well as clean up trash that had been piling up since the park’s closure on June 30th."
The field house had been broken into and used as a staging area by campers and rioters.
All of the repairs to the damage done to the relatively new playfields at Cal Anderson during the occupation have still not been completely repaired.
Typically, the Navigation Team made up of social workers, waste management employees and SPD officers, would handle encampment clearings and helping to migrate campers to social services, but the Navigation Team was on the list of cuts enacted by the Seattle City Council against the Seattle Police Department. Mayor Jenny Durkan vetoed the budget containing the cuts. The council is on summer break so the future of the Navigation Team remains uncertain.
"Workers with the parks department were cleaning out a tent in the area when they found what they believed were weapons. Officers obtained a warrant to search the tent and recovered a machete, hatchet, homemade spike strips, an unexploded mortar, and multiple makeshift shields."
The shields bore the "fist" logo of Black Lives Matter.
"Officers removed the items from the tent and placed them into evidence. No arrests have been made in this investigation at this time, but the investigation is ongoing."
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