Seattle restaurant sues city for damages from ‘unsightly, unsanitary, unsafe’ anti-police CHOP protest
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The owner of a Korean restaurant in Seattle filed a lawsuit last Thursday against the city, claiming his business suffered tens of thousands in damages and lost revenue during the Black Lives Matter protests that roiled the city in 2020.
Peter Pak, who owns Oma Bap, claims city officials enabled destructive protests during the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) in the lawsuit filed last Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, according to The Seattle Times.
The suit is the latest in a slew of CHOP-related litigation that has already cost the city $9 million, according to the outlet.
City authorities erected portable toilets and dumpsters at the corner where Oma Bap is located, which allegedly turned it “into the epicenter of its public-sanitation support of CHOP,” according to the lawsuit.
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Protesters near the short-lived CHOP, which was first known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), “were continually dumping garbage and human waste outside Oma Bap, and making the area unsightly, unsanitary, unsafe and treacherous to navigate,” the lawsuit claims.
CHOP gained national attention during the summer in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The zone saw fatal shootings and rioters within the zone presented a list of demands to the city, which included slashing the police budget by 50% in 2020, abolishing imprisonment and releasing inmates incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses.
Pak claims his establishment suffered tens of thousands of dollars in vandalism damages, which persisted for months even after police dismantled CHOP on July 1, 2020. The suit lays blame for the damages on the city for permitting a homeless encampment to spring up in neighboring Cal Anderson Park.
Oma Bap hemorrhaged customers and had to board up its windows for months after they were smashed multiple times, the suit further said. One employee reportedly quit for fear of coming to work.
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“Rather than seeking to restore order and protect the residents and property owners within CHOP, the city instead chose to actively endorse, enable, and participate in the occupation of CHOP,” the suit said.
Pak’s lawsuit echoes one from more than a dozen Capitol Hill neighborhood business owners and residents, who sued the city over its policies that “effectively authorized the actions of the CHOP participants,” according to the suit.
In February, the city announced a settlement totaling $3.65 million, including $600,000 in penalties for the deletion of thousands of texts by city leaders, including former Mayor Jenny Durkan, The Seattle Times reported.
Businesses and residents of Seattle’s Capitol Hill “will now be compensated for the City’s mishandling of CHOP that resulted in a significant increase in crime and even loss of life,” attorney Angelo Calfo said in a statement at the time, according to The Seattle Times.
Fox News Digital’s Emma Colton contributed to this report.