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21 Jul, 2020 01:53

‘Why didn’t they help my son?’ Mother of black teen slain in Seattle’s disbanded CHOP zone to slap city with wrongful death suit

‘Why didn’t they help my son?’ Mother of black teen slain in Seattle’s disbanded CHOP zone to slap city with wrongful death suit

The family of a young black man shot dead in Seattle’s former protest encampment, known as “CHOP,” has filed a wrongful death claim against the city, arguing first responders failed to offer help as the 19-year-old bled to death.

The family of Lorzeno Anderson filed the claim on Monday through a local law firm, alleging that “Seattle officials created a dangerous environment and city personnel failed to protect or medically assist” the teen after he was shot in the early hours of June 20.

“Explain to me why they didn’t go in there and help my son,” Anderson’s mother, Donnitta Sinclair, said in the claim, which attorneys said will be followed by a full wrongful death suit after 60 days, in line with Washington law.

Anderson was one of two people shot on June 20 inside the occupied protest area in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, which anti-police-brutality demonstrators made into an “autonomous zone” in early June after the city decided to abandon the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct. Though protesters were allowed to remain in the area for several weeks, facing little opposition from the city, the zone was marred by spurts of violence, including at least five different shootings.

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In Anderson’s case, first responders were reportedly denied entry to the area by protesters, with police saying they were “met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims.” The claim, however, places blame on authorities for failing to reach the teen in time.

“A video indicates [Seattle Fire Department] and [Seattle Police Department] personnel knew Anderson was shot and in need of medical assistance,” the claim states, referring to footage that circulated on social media, adding that an ambulance driver in the clip “appears to use his two-way radio to confirm he does not have clearance to assist.”

SFD was apparently waiting for SPD support, which never arrived.

Eventually, the protest encampment’s self-avowed ‘medics’ loaded Anderson into a pickup truck and brought him to a nearby hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

Seattle officials finally decided to shut down the CHOP zone and clear out protesters following a fifth shooting incident on June 29, which left a 16-year-old dead and a 14-year-old wounded. Critics, however, say the city administration allowed the protest area to stay up for far too long, despite the shootings and other violent incidents, prompting a number of lawsuits from local business owners affected in the take-over in addition to Anderson’s family.

“The actions and inaction of city officials have been outrageous in numerous ways. Lorenzo’s family needs justice,” Sinclair’s lawyers said in a statement. “The community needs the truth. Seattle government needs to be more transparent and accountable.”

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