Seattle To Pay $3.6 Million in Damages to Businesses Over 2020 BLM Riots

Rioting in Seattle in June 2020 (Getty Images)
February 22, 2023

The city of Seattle will reimburse business owners $3,650,000 for damages caused by Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots in 2020, according to new court filings.

Business owners sued the city for damages caused by the 2020 Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) protest, a 16-block section of the city where left-wing activists prevented police from entering for three weeks. In a settlement with the business owners, Seattle agreed to reimburse damages by March 3, the Post Millennial reported, for refusing to crack down on the rioters.

District Judge Thomas Zilly attributed the business owners' losses to the city's negligence. "Plaintiffs plausibly allege that the city's actions—encouraging CHOP participants to wall off the area and agreeing to a 'no response' zone within and near CHOP's borders—foreseeably placed plaintiffs in a worse position," Zilly wrote.

Then-mayor Jenny Durkan (D.) insisted at the time that the CHAZ was a peaceful protest, referring to the neighborhood takeover as the "summer of love." Durkan dismissed then-president Donald Trump's warning that he would take action if Seattle authorities failed to reclaim the city.

"The threat to invade Seattle, to divide and incite violence in our city, is not only unwelcome, it would be illegal," Durkan said.

During the police-free period from June to July 2020, rapes, robberies, and murders increased in the zone by 250 percent. A Seattle coffee shop owner recalled being "barricaded" in his store by gun-wielding protesters, the New York Times reported at the time. The autonomous zone was the site of multiple shootings, which left a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old dead.

The Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 caused up to $2 billion in property damage, according to a report from insurance agencies.