(The Center Square) – The mother of a man killed in Seattle's CHOP last summer alleges in a federal lawsuit the city was responsible for the lawlessness that killed her son.
Attorneys for Donnitta Sinclair, the mother of 19-year-old Horace Lorenzo Anderson, filed the lawsuit on Thursday in the Western Washington District Court. She first filed a claim with the city last summer.
In it, Sinclair alleges her son, who was shot and wounded in Seattle's Capitol Hill Occupied Protest Zone known as CHOP last June, was not provided onsite medical attention by police or paramedics at the scene. Sinclair claims the city created a "dangerous environment" by allowing CHOP to exist.
Seattle's Capitol Hill Occupied Protest was a "cop-free zone" created on June 8 by police abolitionists when mass protests against police brutality first began in the city following the killing of George Floyd. Later known as Seattle's "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone," the 16-block area of Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood was abandoned by police who left behind barricades used by CHOP protesters to block off the streets. Seattle Police cleared the site on July 1.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan described CHOP as a "block party" and "summer of love" in an interview with CNN in June. The protest zone was where Anderson, a "special needs" individual according to the lawsuit, was shot four times on June 20. On June 29, two more shootings around CHOP left a 16-year-old dead and a 14-year-old seriously wounded.
Sinclair claims in the lawsuit that the city "invited lawlessness" by allowing CHOP to exist.
"This decision by the City was well publicized and invited lawlessness and created a foreseeable danger," the lawsuit states.
It alleges that Seattle Police Department and Seattle Fire Department units were a block and a half away from where Anderson was shot and failed to offer assistance. It also points to a video posted to social media last June showing a man imploring the medics to help Anderson. Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best claimed that protesters were blocking street access to Anderson the day he was shot.
A KING 5 News investigation of city emails concluded that miscommunication between police and paramedics delayed response times in CHOP.
Anderson, the lawsuit states, was driven by CHOP protesters to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.
Authorities have named Marcel Levon Long as a suspect in Anderson's shooting. The lawsuit states Anderson and Long shared a "history of antagonism for about a year."
Sinclair is demanding unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from the city of Seattle in addition to reimbursement for her legal fees. Her lawsuit joins a $3 billion wrongful death claim filed by Anderson's father in August.
Long is charged with first-degree murder by the King County Prosecutor's office. He is still at large.