“CHOP” Comes To Austin

KXAN in Austin, Texas, posted an article yesterday (updated today) about an encampment around Austin City Hall.

The article reports:

For weeks, people experiencing homelessness have surrounded City Hall with their tents in protest of Austin voters reinstating the city’s camping ban.

Council Member Mackenzie Kelly tweeted that she was harassed as she walked out of City Hall on Monday. In the tweet, she said that she saw one man with a metal pipe and at least one knife, making her feel unsafe.

Kelly put out a call for people to contact her fellow council members about the situation.

Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon responded to her tweet, saying, “Council member Kelly, I encourage you to make a police report if you were threatened so @Austin_Police can follow up. I have officers keeping an eye at City Hall daily.”

Kelly told KXAN Monday’s incident was one of three times she’s been harassed by those camping outside City Hall. She says on Monday, police were there and witnessed what happened. However, she hasn’t filed a police report for any of the incidents.

“Honestly, I don’t want more work for the officers, and what’s going to happen? Some detective’s going to have to be assigned to the case and it’s not going to get prosecuted by the County Attorney’s office, ultimately.”

Camping isn’t allowed at City Hall or in city parks. It was illegal even before the citywide ban.

“I’ve been told by the City Manager’s office and APD that this is a protest and a free speech zone, and so, as such, they’re not moving these individuals right now,” Kelly said.

APD has given campers a move-out date of August 8th so there’s time to educate them. The department says as with other new ordinances, there must be a public education period.

“I’m frustrated, very frustrated that the city’s not moving faster to do something about the situation at City Hall, and despite my situation and things that happen to me and speaking to city staff and Chief Chacon, nothing’s been done,” Kelly said, adding that her office has heard gotten similar reports of threats outside City Hall from others. ” It’s beyond any reason at this point, to me. Common sense would say that this is a public health and safety risk, and it needs to be shut down.”

Does anyone remember?

The Capitol Hill Occupied Protest or the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), originally Free Capitol Hill, and later the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), was an occupation protest and self-declared autonomous zone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.

Horace Lorenzo Anderson Jr., was killed in the CHOP zone on June 20. The sort of anarchy we saw in Seattle and now see in Austin needs to be stopped with arrests and jail time for those who are breaking the law. Free speech does not include illegal camping.