“Ideally, we just need to get back into the building,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best told local station KIRO-7.
“People are looking for a plan, but we want to make sure we modulate anything that we’re doing,” Best told the station.
“We don’t want to exacerbate or intensify or incite problems that are going to lead to harm to the officers or the people who are standing by,” she added.
“We know that several are armed. We want to make sure that we are being very thoughtful about how we respond.”
At least one protester who’s taken on a leadership role in the so-called “CHAZ” or “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone”– a local rapper who goes by Raz Simone, has been on social media patrolling the area with a gun holstered to his leg.
Thousands of protesters have been flooding into the six-block area surrounding the city’s East Precinct since Monday night, when police packed up their riot gear and boarded up the building, abandoning the area after several nights of unrest there.
City leaders told KIRO-7 that they are talking with the protesters — but there has not yet been a discussion of how or when the police will get their precinct back.
Protesters have gained entry into the precinct, causing damage, the station reported Best saying.
Response times to 911 calls in the precinct have tripled due to officers not having access to the building, Best also said.
Best has also implied that the decision to abandon the precinct to the protesters had come from not from her, but from Mayor Jenny Durkan.
“You fought for days to protect it,” she told her officers in a YouTube message Thursday.
“I asked you to stand on that line, day in and day out, to be pelted with projectiles, to be screamed at, threatened, and in some cases hurt — and then to have a change of course nearly two weeks in, it seems like an insult to you and our community,” she said.
“Ultimately the city had other plans for the building, and relented to severe public pressure,” she said.