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Fox News host Martha MacCallum accused a Washington congressman of “minimizing the issue” of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle.
MacCallum challenged Democrat Rep. Denny Heck on “The Story” Friday as he claimed that an “overwhelming number” of activists who have taken over a neighborhood in downtown Seattle are actually “peacefully protesting.”
(Source: Fox News)
Heck claimed his goddaughter, who lives in the neighborhood being called CHAZ that was overtaken by leftists, told him it has been “amazingly peaceful.”
He went on to say that protests in Seattle, which has had its share of demonstrations, “runs the gamut from the WTO riots [in 1999] where there was a lot of rioting and looting, and this is nothing like that whatsoever.”
“The truth of the matter is the overwhelming number of people involved in this are peacefully protesting something that is long overdue to be protested,” the Democrat said.
But MacCallum did not let the statement go unchallenged.
“Congressman, with all due respect, there’s no niceness to any of these companies that have these businesses in the neighborhood that are completely boarded up,” she said, noting how stores have been closed in the area as demonstrators have occupied the six-block area of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, where even the police appeared to abandon a precinct station.
Seattle police chief Carmen Best noted that emergency calls on rapes, robberies and other violent acts have tripled in the city as a result. Heck told MacCallum she had “different information” on the closed storefronts.
“I have information that there are businesses and restaurants open in that area,” he said, to which the Fox News host pointed out that video and photos clearly show boarded-up businesses.
Heck acknowledged that it “is not desirable, is not something that we want.”
“But Martha, here’s what else we do not want,” Heck added, “we do not want a nation in which the culture of police enforcement is that you can lay a black man on the pavement face down, handcuff him, put your knee on the back of his neck and squeeze the life out of him.”
He contended that the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis “is emblematic of far too much institutional racism in this country.”
“That is the statement that is being made,” Heck said. “But I couldn’t agree with you more. Getting back to where those businesses can be reopened is absolutely the goal.”
MacCallum questioned if Seattle’s police chief also deserved “to be swept with that broad brush.”
“Do all of these police officers in Seattle fit the description of the kind of heinous acts that you are describing? And when they wake up in the morning and they go out, and they can never guarantee that they are going to come home at night, are these the people that you think Seattle needs to be protected from?” the Fox News host pressed the congressman.
“So the answer is of course not, Martha. But remember that when the officer had George Floyd down on the ground, there were three officers standing around him who did not stop it,” Heck responded.
“Absolutely. And they are all in jail. They are all probably going to jail for the rest of their lives,” MacCallum shot back.
“Well, I doubt that,” he said. “But the point is they were caught on video camera, and the question is how many weren’t caught? Should I just list for you the names of the number of people that have been killed at the hands of the police that happened to be black in the last few years that were caught on camera? Let’s not pretend like this is not a systematic problem.”
MacCallum made it clear she was “not pretending anything” and noted that “there are those who say that that systemic is not the right word for what is going on.”
“We have covered all the stories of the names of the people that you would probably name, and I think that police departments across this country are saying we are willing to come to the table, and we want there to be reform, and we are not murderers,” she went on.
“But to sort of minimize what is going on in Seattle I think is something that I am not sure is the right thing for peace and justice either, Congressman,” MacCallum added.
Heck shared that he had reached out to police in the last few weeks, acknowledging that MacCallum was right.
“There is frankly a new openness for transformational changes in the way we approach policing. And I think that at the point at which we get more officers stepping forward and being willing to advocate for some of these advances that we will be a lot healthier of a country and our communities will be a lot safer,” he said. “There are voices out there that want to join in the effort to advance policing practices.”
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