By Daniel Goodman
Dear Mayor Ed Murray, City Council Member Kshama Sawant, and City Attorney Pete Holmes,
Our city is in a crisis, and I demand to know what you are doing to end it. Mayor Murray, you ran for mayor on a platform of police reform and decreasing crime in our city. I’m writing to hold you all accountable for failing the city of Seattle.
Walking on Boylston 30 feet from Pine, I heard someone behind me say, “Hey!”. I turned around to a smiling white guy and his friends who looked about my age, 31. Immediately I was punched in the face. That’s all that I remember of the incident.
I don’t know how long I was out for. It was long enough for the blood from the gash on my forehead to trickle its way along my scalp, through my hair, and crust up on the back of my head where I was lying face up on the concrete. When I regained consciousness, two girls were hovering over me asking me if I was ok. They called the police for me, as my phone had been stolen. I went to Harborview Medical and got stitches for the gash in my forehead. I was told that the hole from the inside of my gums through to the outside of my face would heal on its own.
Officer Bale (#6783) gave me a business card with incident # 2015-283301 written on it. I’ve checked online to see the police report, but I don’t see it yet. Many police reports from the weekend describing incidents similar to mine are available at seattle.gov, so I’m not sure why mine isn’t there.
Thursday night a 24 year old man was shot to death walking his dog in the Central District. Saturday night, there was a murder outside of the Baltic Room, blocks from where I was mugged.
According to the SPD blotter, “Officers located several separate groups of shell casings within 1.5 blocks indicating multiple people had fired weapons.”
Considering that there were 2 murders so close to home this weekend, I’m so thankful to be alive and merely suffering from some face wounds and a stolen cell phone. But I want to know what’s going on. Is this amount of violent crime on Capitol Hill normal, or is it on the rise? Is my neighborhood becoming an unsafe place to live, or has it always been so? If crime is on the rise in Capitol Hill, what are your theories to explain the rise? What is the city doing to try to make it better? What can I do?
The Capitol Hill blog wrote:
“While the gunplay on the streets of the East Precinct has apparently become a large enough issue to justify ATF surveillance cams in the Central District, Seattle Police appear to have another summer crime initiative more firmly in hand.
Reports of robberies and pickpockets on Capitol Hill are down 34% through July compared to the same period last year.”
Are robberies really down 34%? Why hasn’t my incident been reported on seattle.gov? Can you assure me that my incident will be reported AS A ROBBERY? What checks are in place to ensure that no reported incidents are left out of the public records?
A group of thugs left me unconscious and bleeding on the sidewalk. Assault and robbery are felonies. Thank God I wasn’t one of the murdered Seattle citizens. Who is working on finding the guys who did this to me? I haven’t received any follow up phone calls from the police. Does the City Attorney’s office have a record of this? What are they planning to do if a suspect is arrested? Officer Bale gave me no direction as to what my next steps should be. His lack of direction may as well be interpreted as saying, “There’s nothing else we’re really going to do about this because this isn’t a very serious crime to us, so just try walking around your neighborhood without feeling paranoid that you’re going to be jumped.”
In March, the Capitol Hill Blog published a letter written by Pike/Pine businesses asking for increased foot patrol in the Pike/Pine area “to head off summer crime woes.” What was your response to that grass-roots approach? Did you increase foot patrols in the Pike/Pine area?
Mayor Murray, the Seattle Times quotes you as saying, “The problem is significant enough, I think, for me to pull community leaders together so they can advise us on what we should do.” We need YOU as our LEADER to TELL US WHAT TO DO, and not the other way around. We are not criminal justice professionals. You are in charge of the SPD. City Attorney Holmes, you are in charge of prosecuting such criminals. What are you doing? City council member Kshama Sawant, you’re running for city council to represent me in district 3.
Do the city council and the offices of the City Attorney and Mayor have a cohesive plan for dealing with this rise in street crime?
Is part of your crime initiative to have robbery and assault reclassified as petty street crimes and not reporting them so your statistics look better?
What can I do to support you and the SPD? Are there any neighborhood organizations or movements I can get involved with?
How can the Safe Place program be expanded? It’s great for a business to say that they want to be a safe place for a victim, but what can a business do if it wants to help decrease crime so that there are fewer victims?
Lead us on this, don’t pad statistics. Stop what happened to me from being the usual thing we read about EVERY WEEKEND. Do something to find the thugs who attacked me. This could happen to anyone in the city. If the thugs had left you or any of your family members to die at Boylston and Pine, would you ensure that the crime was reported? Would you make sure that the SPD found these thugs and were prosecuted?
UPDATE 6:00 PM: SPD has provided a statement regarding Daniel’s letter:
Our Robbery Unit has been in contact with the victim, are looking for any available surveillance footage of the crime scene, and are also investigating whether his stolen cards may have been used.
As to the larger issue of public safety and policing on Capitol Hill, our department continues to use SeaStat and our micro-community policing plans to drive our deployment strategies. SPD has been tracking robberies citywide and in the East Precinct, and we’ve deployed high-visibility patrols on foot and on bikes as a result.
We’re also working closely with the Mayor’s LGBTQ Taskforce, Chamber of Commerce, and our other community partners to identify to address issues in the neighborhood.
UPDATE 8/20/2015: Daniel has asked CHS to share notice of a vigil and march planned for Saturday, August 22nd beginning in the parking lot where last weekend’s fatal shooting occurred.