Seattle PrideFest says nobody came to aid as performer robbed on Capitol Hill

Police are investigating a reported knifepoint robbery that took place in broad daylight — and apparently without intervention from passersby on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon. Seattle PrideFest took to Facebook to decry the lack of response from others in the area as actor and performance artist Robbie Turner was held up in the afternoon robbery:

If you are anywhere in this city, and you see somebody punch someone and pull out a knife to rob someone of their phone, you should at a mimumum start yelling and if you can, get others with you to go and protect the person being attacked. At least make some sound! Our very own Robbie Turner had this happen to him today near SCCC and NO ONE came to his rescue. The scene was shamefully silent. A phone can be replaced, a black eye will heal, but a community where people don’t stand up for one another needs a heart transplant. We ♥ you Robbie!

We have not yet confirmed details of the hold-up with SPD but records indicate that police were called to E Olive Way a few blocks from Broadway Thursday afternoon around 4 PM to investigate an armed robbery. No medic units were dispatched to the area. UPDATE: Police say the robbery was reported to have occurred on the Seattle Central campus and that the victim went to a friend’s business on E Olive Way where police were called.

Turner was slated to appear at the Baltic Room Thursday night.

UPDATE: The New Queer on the Block site has posted a disturbing account of the attack reportedly posted to Turner’s Facebook page:

Something just happened. Something bad. 2 hours ago I was walking home from work to get in drag so I could attend SUPREME with Dr. Jen. I was about 3 blocks from Atomic Cosmetics over by SCCC’s park answering a phone call when a 20 something African American male punched me in the face. I dropped my phone & instinctively placed my right foot on the phone knowing that something was amiss. The man said, “Sorry, sorry, sorry.” And then pulled out a knife & swung it at my throat. It was less than an inch from slicing my throat open in front of a VERY LARGE crowd on the campus. No one yelled, no one came to my assistance. Plenty watched. As I leaned backward, I shoved the guy with my left arm so that he wouldn’t actually cut me. With his opposite arm he hit me in the head causing me to really lose my balance. I stumbled backward as he reached down, stole my phone & ran away downtown bound. Still, no one came up to me. In fact onlookers stared & cleared out of the area: crossing the street suddenly, going inside the school, walking in any direction that was away from me & my torn grocery bag & my strewn about belongings.

You can read more of the account here.

UPDATE 5/10/13 9:15 AM: Police have released the preliminary report on Thursday’s incident which includes a description of the suspect and more specifics on the location of the robbery. No arrests have been made in connection with the case.

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UPDATE: The group LGBTQ group Social Outreach Seattle reminds that Turner has been involved in championing the group’s safety efforts including his work teaching self-defense courses earlier this year. SOS is calling for a May 22nd rally to bring attention to safety on Capitol Hill and in the queer community:

Social Outreach Seattle, in cooperation with SPD and local businesses, is scheduled to launch BLOCK WATCH on Wednesday, May 22. On that day, we will also lead and organize the CAPITOL HILL ANTI-CRIME/VIOLENCE MARCH AND RALLY.

Here are the details:

  •   WEDNESDAY, MAY 22
  •    6 – 6:45 P.M. GATHER AND RALLY AT SCCC (1701 Broadway Seattle, WA 98122)
  •    6:46 – 8 P.M. MARCH (E on Pine, R on 12th Ave marching S, R on E Union St. marching W, R on Minor Ave. marching N, R on Pine marching E, L on Melrose marching N, R on E Olive Way marching NE, L on Summit marching N, R on E Roy St marching E, R on Broadway marching S.
  •    8 – 8:30 p.m. RALLY AT SCCC

You can RSVP on Facebook to show support HERE 

SAVE THE DATE. INVITE EVERYONE YOU KNOW. This is a nonviolent march and rally. SOSea will partner with area businesses, service-based organizations and churches, schools, ANYONE who believes that OUR NEIGHBORHOOD BELONGS TO US, NOT CRIME.

UPDATE: The latest CHS analysis of crime data for the East Precinct beats that cover Capitol Hill showed a jump in incidents across the Hill last year including an 8% jump in assaults. Robberies overall were down about 4% but in the area where Thursday’s hold-up occurred, robberies jumped significantly in 2012. SPD has not yet released any East Precinct data for 2013.8446957634_4c894c8a2d_o (1)
UPDATE: A resident also shared this email with us that was sent to SPD, City Council public safety chair and mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce about concerns over an uptick in crime around Cal Anderson:

FIRST, a big thanks from this Broadway neighborhood family.  We have lived on the hill for 27 years & have great respect & gratitude for the service/relations of the SPD with our neighborhood.  We are a middle aged lefty couple who truly loves the diversity & edge of the neighborhood.  Our son is returning from college soon & will surely enjoy many hours in the park this summer…..We are not wimpy or whiny. Until now.

We are writing to you about CAL ANDERSON park and the need for increased patrols ASAP.  Last spring, we had the flare of crime, squeaky wheels, media coverage & then the requisite responding & massive police presence in the park.  Things got under control and then the coverage drifted away.

Can we cut to the chase this year & go to an early middle ground of increased police patrol of the park?  PLEASE.  

The reports of sexual assault, daytime robberies and assaults in & near the park are clearly an indication of the current trouble brewing.  The general feel of the park is making a dangerous turn…There are folks OPENLY intimidating passers-by near the fountain and along the path near the field/courts…. open containers near the courts have reached the same levels we saw last year.  We all know that the truly bad folks often take cover in loosely policed areas with easy victims.

PEOPLE ARE SCARED.  I feel, for the first time in 27 years, intimidated in my own neighborhood.  I am not afraid of homeless people or kids. I am afraid of criminals.

Seriously, you must KNOW this is happening.  The neighbors are becoming agitated.  The local police advised US to call 911 as much as possible to “create a paper trail”.   The neighborhood & local media is about to see the pattern & we will be back to the “crisis” point we reached last year.

We all know that the Community Policing Models of increased visibility & relations with the neighborhood is always the most effective way of dealing with a hot spot.

THANK YOU for listening to us.  This conversation is happening all over the hill.  We urge you to be pro-active.
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31 thoughts on “Seattle PrideFest says nobody came to aid as performer robbed on Capitol Hill

  1. I was robbed at knife point, smashed in the face, knocked to the ground and yanked up by my shirt to be punched and berated, all in broad daylight with tourists literally craning over my attackers to see what was going on. This was in 1981 downtown. Human nature has not changed much.

  2. They also tweeted this at 6:35p:
    Beat:E1, ARMED ROBBERY at 17XX BLOCK OF E OLIVE WY reported on 5/9/2013 6:19 PM, Call# 13000156158

    • Yes, multiple dispatches for the same event are common and the times attached to those reports aren’t always accurate. We’ll know more in the morning about the SPD side of things.

  3. For god’s sake people, help each other. Don’t let some asshole pull a stunt like this and get away with it.

  4. Terrible attack. No one deserves this. But I am not clear, did Robbie Turner sream something like ‘please help me’ or was it all too sudden? Two adult men in mele is not so unusual.

    I will always respond to a litteral cry for help.

  5. Yes we all need to look out for each other. Yes the asshole that committed the crime need to be locked up and throw away the key.
    Theirs no need for this.

  6. I suppose the references to Olive Way might be code for Olive Street? Otherwise, I’m confused as to the location.

    • Police may have been called to a different location than where the crime occurred if the victim left the area of the attack. I’ve asked SPD for details.

  7. Seems the folks of Seattle are nice, but so nice they are pussies when it comes to helping others out which may involve getting physical. I hear of this time and time again where people are in need, yet others just mind their own business. These thugs know Capitol Hill folk don’t jump in to help out another person in need, they spectate, then run away and not to the problem. It will only get worse if you don’t take action. Fight, fight, fight!

  8. the crime is radiating out from the park which has, once again, gone spring crazy with open containers & intimidating behavior. 95% great neighbors / 5% bad folks.

    we talked to patrol officers to call in constantly to create a cal anderson paper trail. open containers or intimidating behavior is okay to call in. you do not have to file charges or be on scene. CALL IT IN.

  9. I can sort of understand why people might not run into the middle of a fight involving a knife and this was probably a fairly quick attack. (would seem longer to the victim than the ‘real’ time it took)

    What I can’t understand is why, after the attack, people walked away. Why wouldn’t someone, anyone, be running over to check on this poor guy, call 911, and be available to give a description of the attacker? That is just common decency.

  10. Yeah, that surprises me too. I wouldn’t want to get in the middle while it was happening, but I can’t believe nobody took photos/videos on their phones or called 911.

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  12. I personally know people who have been mugged of their iPhones, and had the “find my phone” feature turned on. Won’t help. The police still won’t care or follow up on it.

    • There have also been plenty of occasions, many reported right here on the Capitol Hill Blog, where people got their iPhones and iPads back when they tracked it and notified the cops. Saying “the cops don’t care” is bullshit.

  13. I know there was talk in the past of bringing back Q Patrol (Also I keep seeing this red barret group in Cleavland on CNN) Does anyone have any info on that? Is anyone interested in that? I would be interested in forming one if there isn’t one in the works. Please reply to this post with info. THANKS!

  14. “Can we cut to the chase this year & go to an early middle ground of increased police patrol of the park? PLEASE.”

    My sentiments exactly. As matters presently stand, people can get mugged trying to reach the East Precinct by cutting through Cal Anderson Park. Gee and what is wrong with this picture?

  15. First, my heart goes out to the victim of this ridiculous crime. I never use my phone on the street anymore, and we should all consider keeping it tucked away until we’re in a safe place.

    Second, the crowd who watched and did nothing should be highly, highly ashamed. I agree with the cited post: A community that doesn’t help each other out needs a heart transplant. I wish I had been there to comfort this guy. I, for one, would not have turned away.

  16. Not true. The police found my phone and we’re happy to help and return it—and this was before Find My iPhone. I’m from Philly, and in comparison the cops around the Hill are super helpful to victims of crime (I’ve unfortunately had to deal with them three times in 20 years).

  17. Did this victim scream for help? No where in this article does it point out that there was a sound of distress, a cry out for assistance or otherwise. Other humans are going about their business, in their own zones. Cause a scene, scream, ask for assistance. This recount of this tale leads me to believe, it all happened in complete silence.

  18. To echo what two other posters have said, there is no way I would have got in the middle of a knife fight unless one party vocalized a need for aid. For all I know it’s two pimps fighting over turf.

    I once attempted to foil what, by all appearances from a bad angle, was a mugging but turned out to be a domestic disturbance between a girl and her B/F who were both out of their minds on some kind of substance and in which the girl was the one attacking (with fists) the B/F. When I attempted to intervene to assist the girl (who appeared to be the victim) she then started swinging punches at me. At that point I made a conscious decision not to interfere in any more assaults unless it was 1,000% clear this was an actual victimization rather than the street wars of the (bottom) 1%.

    If you were one of those who watched and did nothing (assuming no one called for help), keep up at it and don’t take the reckless pseudo-NRA advice of SeattlePrideFest.

    • Yes its often hard to understand what the fight is about but in this case it sounds pretty clear. If weapons start coming out he or anyone trying to help could have been fatally injured quite easily. A 6 in knife is a serious weapon and its obvious why unarmed bystanders wouldn’t have interfered. Luckily no one got seriously hurt.

      Someone with defensive pistol training and a CCW would have made the difference. Pull a glock out and you instantly become the focus :)

  19. Kitty Genovese syndrome. In 1964 in New York City Kitty was stabbed and murdered as people in apartments watched. Everyone thought someone else would help. The Bystander Effect. It’s hard to know what one would do.

    Why was the guy attacking yelling “Sorry Sorry Sorry”??? And Robbie apparently was not yelling anything. The person being attacked is silent and the attacker is saying sorry? Would you enter a knife fight in that situation? Probably not. How could I figure out who was the initial aggressor if I didn’t see it right from the very start? That weird exchange seems like two people high on drugs. Sad for Robbie to be attacked and feel abandoned by a crowd of onlookers, though.

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  21. I can definitely understand why no one would directly intervene in a knife fight…it would be really foolish to do so. But at the very least I would be sure some witness would call 911 (I don’t have a cell phone), and that the perp would be tracked/followed until the police made the arrest.

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