Seattle Police Find Spikes, Machete, and Makeshift Shields During Park Cleanup

September 2, 2020 Updated: September 2, 2020

Seattle police discovered spike strips, weapons, and numerous homemade shields inside tents at a park in the Capitol Hill area on Tuesday.

The department said in a statement that workers were repairing a structure that was damaged in Cal Anderson Park and were also removing garbage that was left behind after the park was closed on June 30.

Protesters and far-left activists had occupied the park in August, according to the Capitol Hill Seattle blog. The park had been vandalized after it was closed.

But when officials cleaned out a tent in the park, they found a number of weapons, said the police department.

They found a machete, hatchet, homemade spike strips, an unexploded mortar, and wooden shields. The items were taken as evidence, and no arrests have been made as authorities investigate.

The park is located within the area known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), or the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ)—formed by far-left activists in early June in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. The “autonomous zone” was eventually shut down after reports of violence and two fatal shootings. Officers also returned to the abandoned East Precinct building.

Last week, agitators targeted the precinct building again, allegedly trying to set the building on fire with people inside. Concrete barriers were also spotted being placed around the building following the alleged arson incident.

The Seattle Parks agency said that “the park and park facilities have been repeatedly vandalized throughout the closure,” adding that on Aug. 14, police removed people “who had broken into a city facility (the shelterhouse) within the park.”

Epoch Times Photo
Police removed dozens of makeshift shields from the tents. (Seattle Police Department)

“Parks staff were on site to remove belongings and store any materials collected. In the days following, individuals returned to the closed park and have again broken into the locked city facility,” the department wrote in a statement.

In August, Seattle police received about two dozen 911 calls about bonfires, garbage fires, and requesting medical assistance within Cal Anderson Park, the parks department said.

“Residents living nearby have reported breathing issues as a consequence of smoke from the illegal fires and the types of items burned,” the agency said. “Due to firefighter safety and access issues, firefighters have been unable to safely respond to extinguish the illegal burns.”

Police also cleared homeless camps that were set up inside the park in recent days, MyNorthWest reported.

Seattle police officials told the local news website that they were aware of at least seven arrests, including three for assault, three for trespassing, and one for a felony warrant.