Seattle, Washington - Attorney General William P. Barr has issued the following statement:

“I commend Police Chief Carmen Best for her courage and leadership in restoring the rule of law in Seattle.  For the past several weeks, the Capitol Hill area of Seattle was occupied by protesters who denied access to police and other law enforcement personnel.  Unsurprisingly, the area became a haven for violent crime, including shootings that claimed the lives of two young people, assaults, and robberies.  As Chief Best made clear throughout the process, there is a fundamental distinction between discussion of substantive issues - including addressing distrust of law enforcement by many in the African-American community - and violent defiance of the law.  Chief Best has rightly committed to continue the substantive discussion while ending the violence, which threatens innocent people and undermines the very rule-of-law principles that the protesters profess to defend.  Thanks to the Seattle Police Department, Capitol Hill parks, streets, and businesses are again accessible to the people of Seattle, who may travel throughout their city without fear of violence.  The people of Seattle should be grateful to Chief Best and her Department for their professional and steadfast defense of the rule of law.  The message of today’s action is simple but significant:  the Constitution protects the right to speak and assemble freely, but it provides no right to commit violence or defy the law, and such conduct has no place in a free society governed by law.”