The CHOP/ CHAZ in Seattle has finally been shutdown after almost a month of unrest in the city’s central Capitol Hill neighborhood. Its demise was not the end of a peaceful protest but a necessary curtailing by police and city leaders of a movement that turned violent and claimed the lives of two teenagers.
That shutdown should have been much sooner, as signs of violence and mal-intent abounded from early days. But the city’s mayor, Democrat Jenny Durkan sided with the protesters who insisted they were there only to peacefully demand racial justice following the death of George Floyd.
“This could be a summer of love,” Durkan famously said.
Parks in Capitol Hill were decimated, residents and businesses were blocked from accessing their homes and storefronts, and a police precinct was quite literally run out of town. In no time, gun violence became commonplace in CHOP as it had in so many other parts of the country.
As police were cast as the enemy, however, violent crime erupted from the zone. Multiple shootings in CHOP have tainted whatever message of peaceful protest the occupants claimed to have and now, two teenagers are dead.
Seattle isn’t the only place to have watched the message of racial justice and peace turn to bloodshed and death. But the lives lost during the unrest that has set in across the country don’t seem to be gaining any traction with the political motivations of Black Lives Matter, who are bent on ending policing and destroying American history.
Even though the lives of those who died during the protests don’t matter to Black Lives Matter, they should be remembered too, regardless of the political narrative leading to their violent end. Here are five people who have died since the protests to demand justice for Black Americans began.
1. David Dorn, 77, St. Louis, MO
The retired St. Louis police captain was shot and killed while protecting a friend’s store during looting that occurred in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. The shooting and Dorn’s horrifying death were captured on a Facebook Live video. After announcing the arrest of Stephan Cannon, who is charged with Dorn’s murder, the police department said this of their fallen brother.
Dorn retired from the St. Louis Police Department in 2007 after 38 years on the job. He rose from rookie patrol officer in 1969 to captain. He was the deputy commander of the Bureau of Patrol Support, which oversees traffic and mounted patrols, commercial vehicles and the tactical unit.
When he retired, Dorn then became police chief in Moline Acres.
2. Italia Kelly, 22, Davenport, IA
Kelly had attended a Black Lives Matter rally at a Walmart parking lot in Davenport where she was shot while trying to get into a friend’s car. Marquis M. Tousant, 22, was also shot and killed after the peaceful protest turned violent in the Iowa community. 21-year-old Parker Marlin Belz was later arrested and charged with the killings.
“Kelly was known as someone who was empathetic and uplifting and would speak out against injustice,” according to the Des Moines Register.
3. Oluwatoyin Salau, 19, Tallahassee, Florida
Salau was a known activist and supporter of Black Lives Matter who had become a popular voice in Florida protests following the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd. Friends raised concerns when she vanished in early June after tweeting about a sexual assault. Her body was found later that month along with the body of 75-year-old Victoria Sims, also an activist. Aaron Glee, Jr., 49, was arrested on suspicion of both murders. Glee had recently been arrested on felony charges of assault but was released from jail after “incomplete” evaluations failed to show whether he was a flight risk or a danger to society. He was known to have mental health issues.
4. Horace Lorenzo Anderson, Jr., 19, Seattle Washington
The teen’s father thought his son, who had special needs, was in bed for the night, safe and sound. But friends of the younger Lorenzo Anderson woke his father in the middle of the night to say that he would not be coming home again, he had been killed in the Seattle CHOP zone.
“Seattle is fine. Don’t be so afraid of democracy,” Mayor Durkan callously wrote in response to concern about safety inside CHOP just days before Anderson’s death. The distraught father hasn’t heard from Durkan or the police in Seattle about his son’s violent death by gunshot.
Durkan only chose to finally end the anarchy in her city streets after protesters marched to her house with a list of demands last week. Police finally evicted the last “residents” of the zone Thursday morning. Anderson and a 16-year-old boy lost their lives to violence within the zone, an area where police had been evicted and barricaded from entering. Because of the danger, emergency responders were also unable to enter the zone without a police escort and were often forced to ignore gunfire to protect the safety of EMTs and responding officers. More than 40 arrests have been made as police reentered the area this week.
5. Marvin Francois, 50, Kansas City, MO
Francois was killed early in June when three men attempting to carjack him shot the father of four three times leaving him to die. Francois was an avid photographer who had been snapping photos of the protests that raged in Kansas City when he was accosted. His passion for the city and for taking photographs was remembered fondly by his teenage son Jayden.
“He could capture life. A moment. A person. An event. Anything in that split second,” said Jayden. “To make it beautiful and to show the world that this is what life is. It is a life worth living.”
Author: Ellie Bufkin