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In-Depth Interview: Seattle Reporter Jonah Lehto Recaps the CHAZ/CHOP Protest

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Our correspondent in Seattle, Jonah Lehto, provides detailed description and commentary on the unique protest occupation called CHAZ, then CHOP.Lehto covered the street protests in Seattle after George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minnapolis. The occupation of the Capitol Hill neighborhood was based on the Occupy movement and Black Lives Matter, with a communal vibe and decentralized leadership.

Lehto explains how Mayor Jenny Durkan was initially supportive of the protest, but shifted over the month-long event, and ordered police to dismantle the CHOP on July 1; police chief Carmen Best was never supportive of the occupation, and her public comments got more aggressive over time.

He also gives us insight into life in the CHOP, and the demands formulated by the group for de-funding the Seattle police and diverting funds to other programs, along with the release of all protesters.

Lehto is working on a documentary film about CHOP and you can follow him on Twitter, @jonahlehto