The father of a teen killed in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone (CHOP) in 2020 is suing the city, former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, and Councilmember Kshama Sawant for allowing a ‘lawless’ environment and botching the investigation into his son’s death.
Antonio Mays Jr., 16, drove to CHOP in a white Jeep to participate in what he thought would be ‘peaceful protests’ following the death of George Floyd, according to the lawsuit. The city abandoned the eight-block autonomous zone “without a working plan to provide essential services, creating a danger,” the lawsuit alleges.
Mayor Durkan described the zone as a ‘block party’ to Chris Cuomo.
“It’s not an armed takeover,” Durkan said. “It’s not a military junta. We will – we will make sure that we can restore this.”
Mays was shot and killed on June 29, making him the third fatality in the autonomous zone in the third week of the protest.
“Despite knowledge of the violence, chaos, danger, and potential danger, Seattle leaders failed Antonio and encouraged lawlessness to reign. The Defendants are responsible for the death of Antonio Mays, Jr., a kind, friendly soul, who was an asset to his community,” the suit alleges.
The lawsuit states Mays was reportedly shot by CHOP “cops” — self-appointed security guards who received training from the Seattle police. After he was shot, CHOP medics rushed to help Mays and take him to city paramedics who “did a U-turn and sped away in the other direction,” according to the lawsuit.
Nine days before Mays’ death, 19-year-old Lorenzo Anderson bled out in the CHOP after first responders refused to enter CHOP due to safety concerns. The city settled a lawsuit with Anderson’s family for $500,000.
Seattle Attorney Evan Oshan, representing Mays’ family, claims investigators failed to follow up on subjects and leads. He cites YouTube footage showing the night of Mays’s murder and said they were never informed of any suspects.
“Is this a cold case? Oshan asked in a letter to the Office of Police Accountability. “Is this a cover up for Police executing an unarmed black teenager? Or his death just doesn’t matter?”