Big bust raises tensions at Midtown Center

As neighbors living around 23rd and Union concerned about gun violence met at Seattle University for a community crime meeting to discuss recent shootings, a major law enforcement operation including reports of flash bang explosives went down in a tension-filled Midtown Center Thursday night.

Multiple people were taken into custody during the incident first reported to CHS around 7:30 PM Thursday after the operation was well underway.

A Seattle Police spokesperson said Friday morning he was looking into the situation and could not provide details of the arrests and SPD’s possible involvement. UPDATE 3:40 PM: SPD has posted a report on the arrest of a 27-year-old man wanted in connection with a shooting incident Monday night: Continue reading

Blotter | Man busted on Capitol Hill with car prowl booty

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

(Image: SPD)

Five mp3 players?1?!? (Image: SPD)

  • Car prowl booty bust: A Monday arrest of a warrant suspect on E Olive Way turned up a trove of phones and credit cards police say were taken in car prowls across the city:
    Officers Chris Myers and James Olson were on bike patrol in the 800 block of East Olive Way around 2:30 PM when they spotted a 37-year-old man they knew was wanted on a misdemeanor warrant. After arresting the man, officers found two debit cards and several sets of house and vehicle keys in the man’s pockets. Inside the man’s backpack, police found three laptops, 14 cellphones, five mp3 players, nine different ID and credit cards, financial documents and mail addressed to residents in Capitol Hill, Sammamish, Bellevue and Vashon Island, WA.
    Police say several of the items had been taken in recent car prowls on Capitol Hill and Queen Anne. During the arrest, the man claimed he had swallowed heroin and was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he was examined, cleared, and then booked into the King County Jail for possession of stolen property and his warrant, SPD reports.
  • Neighbours alley beating: A man who woke up after he says he was beaten in the alley behind Neighbours after being denied entry to the club told police he believed he had also been robbed of his wallet and phone in the incident. According to SPD, the victim contacted police the day following the early morning March 11th beating to report the robbery. The victim and his friend told police they were intoxicated but don’t know why they were denied entry and why a bouncer allegedly dragged the victim into the alley. Neither witness could provide many details of what happened but the victim said he awoke after being knocked out and made his way home to recover. When he awoke that morning, he discovered his wallet and phone were missing. The responding police officer noted the victim had injuries to his face from an attack but said it was unlikely there would be any video evidence showing what transpired: Continue reading

Community meeting called after more 23/Union gunfire

With tensions over change and displacement in the Central District boiling over in evictions, protests, and scuffles, neighbors are asking for more to be done after another bout of gun violence near 23rd and Union.

Police received a flood of 911 calls Monday night just before 7:30 PM reporting multiple gunshots and two vehicles seen fleeing the area. Arriving officers found shell casings near Marion and damage to houses in the area but, fortunately, no injuries.

In the wake of the incident, Sara Mae Brereton, owner of 23rd and Cherry’s 701 Coffee, posted a call for a community meeting to “stop the shootings” and calling on Mayor Ed Murray and District 3 representative Kshama Sawant to respond to the ongoing violence.

Stop the Shooting, Stop the Hate CD Community Meeting

Monday’s driveby shootout was the latest in a string of gunfire incidents along 23rd Ave from Jackson to Union. Continue reading

Synagogue hate graffiti part of string of Trump-echoing vandalism around Capitol Hill, Central District

Another case of hate tagging -- thanks to EV for the picture

Another case of hate tagging — thanks to EV for the picture

“LOVE WINS,” read the sheet quickly put up by a neighbor to cover the hateful graffiti found Friday morning targeting 16th Ave’s Temple De Hirsch Sinai on a day when even a box of old history books left innocently for the synagogue’s rabbi caused fear and uncertainty. If love wins — and is going to keep winning — it has some work to do around Capitol Hill and the Central District where Friday’s vandalism appears to be part of a string of similar property damage with messages hitting all of progressive Seattle’s deepest fears about the Trump administration.

Neighbor EV sent us the example seen outside an apartment complex in the Central District and quickly painted over. EV writes: Continue reading

Blotter | Sleepy bar patron rescued from Broadway nightspot

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Escape from Julia’s: A Capitol Hill bar patron spent an uncomfortable Saturday morning trying to get home after reportedly falling asleep and being locked inside the Broadway establishment where she had been partying that night. According to East Precinct radio, police were called to the Witness bar in the 500 block of Broadway E just before 3 AM where a woman said she had woken up in the bathroom and said she was trapped inside. But when police arrived, they found only the Witness crew cleaning up and no sleepy patron. A 911 operator talked further with the woman and the patron realized she had actually passed out inside the restroom of another Broadway nightspot. Police asked her to look out the windows to try to help determine her location. She realized she was inside of Julia’s. The woman was waiting while police tried to track down somebody to come to the Broadway club to unlock the doors around 3:30 AM. We presume she was finally freed.
  • Chainsaw robbery: A landscaper finishing his work near 20th and Galer reported he was robbed of a chainsaw and other equipment in an incident reported around 5:30 PM on Thursday, March 2nd: Continue reading

‘LOVE WINS’ — Neighbor’s quick work covers anti-semitic graffiti targeting Temple De Hirsch Sinai — UPDATE: Suspicious package

A Capitol Hill neighbor took things into his own hands after anti-semitic graffiti was found Friday morning near 14th and Union on the property of Temple De Hirsch Sinai.

UPDATE 2:30 PM: SPD’s Arson and Bomb Squad was called to the synagogue around 1 PM after a box was found outside the temple and reported to police. After photographing and investigating the item, police determined it was harmless and reopened the area around the temple’s 16th Ave entrance. The box, it turns out, contained a donation of old history books. Police said they were acting out of an “abundance of caution” following the graffiti found Friday morning and a string of threats against religious and community centers.

“I just met with the leadership of this temple a few days ago,” SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole said at the scene Friday during the investigation of the package. “With all that is happening nationally and with the graffiti issues here, we want all of the people in our communities to feel safe.”

O’Toole said she was attending the mayor’s proclamation of Irish week in Seattle when she heard about the suspicious package investigation. “I was out and about and said, gee, I’m going to head there myself and try to reassure them that we’re here with them and that we take these cases very seriously.”

Robert Merner, assistant chief in charge of investigations, said his department has been visiting with area groups including Temple De Hirsch Sinai over concerns about national threats. He also had some advice for anybody considering dropping off a box of old books – call ahead.

Original report: CHS arrived to find the neighbor covering the spray painted message with a message of his own painted on a bed sheet and taped to cover the wall. The neighbor told CHS he felt compelled to cover the graffiti because he didn’t want the message of one bad person to take on greater significance and reflect poorly on his new neighborhood.

An official at the scene declined to comment until he had an opportunity to talk with others at the temple about any messages the synagogue wanted to share about the incident. Continue reading

Board to hear appeal on East Precinct cop fired for racial bias

The Seattle Police Department’s Discipline Review Board is set to hear an appeal from the former East Precinct cop fired for racial bias in a 2014 Capitol Hill “walking while black” case.

An SPD representative tells CHS that the appeal from the Seattle Police Officers Guild and former officer Cynthia Whitlatch is moving forward and will likely be heard later this month.

Whitlatch was fired in 2015 for “sustained policy violations involving bias, abuse of police discretion, and escalation of a contact” in her July 2014 arrest of William Wingate, a black veteran in his 70s who happens to take very long walks while carrying a golf club, and had a run-in with the veteran officer on a summer day at 12th and Pike just a block from East Precinct headquarters. In 2016, a jury agreed that Wingate’s rights had been violated in a civil case brought against the department.

The appeal will be heard by “a three-member body stacked two-to-one with police officers,” the Stranger’s Ansel Herz wrote when he broke the news on the appeal last summer.

The police union and the Murray administration, meanwhile, continue behind the scenes negotiations on a new contract that is hoped to cap off years of changes under the federal consent decree ordered to overhaul the department in the wake of several excessive force violations by SPD officers.

UPDATE 3/31/2017: The discipline review hearing has been continued “with no date currently set for when it will occur.”


Blotter | Weekend gun crimes, chaotic Pine stabbing response

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Weekend gun crimes: SPD investigated at least two gun violence incidents over the weekend. In the most serious incident, a male with a gunshot wound was dropped off at Swedish First Hill Friday night around 6 PM. Police were trying to determine where the shooting had occurred and had video of the car that delivered the victim to the hospital before fleeing the area. We do not know further details on the condition of the victim. Police say he was not from the Seattle area and was not forthcoming with more information about the shooting. Early Saturday morning just before 2 AM, police were called to the area around 23rd and Cherry after multiple reports of gunfire. Witnesses reported hearing six to ten shots and seeing people flee across the Garfield sports field. Meanwhile, another caller reported a vehicle had been struck by the gunfire near 23rd and Cherry. Police also found shell casings scattered south of the intersection. There were no reported injuries or arrests.
  • Pine stabbing: A chaotic stabbing scene outside a Capitol Hill nightclub Sunday ended up less serious than first feared. Police and Seattle Fire were called to the streets around the Baltic Room early Sunday morning just before 2 AM after a woman was reported stabbed outside the club. Due to large crowds of people and vehicles in the street leaving the club, Seattle Fire units were forced to wait nearby before responding to find the victim. Minutes later, according to SFD radio dispatches, the medic team reported a group was carrying the female victim to the waiting ambulance for treatment. Police were called to the ambulance at Pine and Boren to deal with friends and family of the victim who were trying to enter the vehicle with the victim. The female suffered non-life threatening injuries and was eventually taken to Harborview by private ambulance for treatment. Police were looking for a female suspect who was known to the victim in the crime. There were no immediate arrests.
  • ‘Bob the Builder Bandit’: Police are looking for help identifying the construction hat-wearing suspect involved in a chain of hold-ups around Seattle including this February 6th stick-up at Pike Grocery. If you can assist, call 911.

‘Fictitious’ porn recruiter may owe thousands in sex scam case


Via Hickey’s Twitter account

Former Capitol Hill resident Matt Hickey and what prosecutors say was his “fictitious talent recruiting company” may be forced to turn over photographs and track down and remove images that have spread across the internet after failing to respond to a consumer protection lawsuit brought by the Washington Attorney General.

Last week, Hickey was found in default in the case in which the tech blogger and photographer was alleged to have created a fake porn business “solely for his personal gain and sexual gratification.”

Hickey is currently being held on three second-degree rape charges in King County Jail and faces charges in a string of sexual assaults in which women said they worked with the photographer “under false pretenses or stated Hickey had sex with them when they were too intoxicated to give consent.”

The Stranger reports that Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson says Hickey’s lawsuit “marked the first time that state consumer protection laws were invoked to respond to a scam like this one.”

The court must now rule on what punishment Hickey will face in the consumer protection case in which the attorney general’s office asked Judge Jeffrey M. Ramsdell to establish that Hickey violated the Consumer Protection Act, block him from any similar activities in the future, “restore” property to victims including electronic and physical copies of photographs taken of the victims, order Hickey to relinquish any rights to those photos, order “that the Photos Defendant obtained through unfair and deceptive conduct are removed from the internet,” and, the kicker, nail Hickey for $2,000 for every violation of consumer laws. The AG also is requesting “reasonable costs and attorney’s fees.”

After two years of East Precinct testing, SPD can roll out $2M body cam program

Despite concerns remaining about when the devices will be turned on (and off), how privacy issues will be handled, and how the recordings might be made available to federal authorities, a 2016 Department of Justice survey showed Seattle residents want their police to wear body cameras. Monday, the City Council voted 6-2 to lift budget restrictions and allow the Seattle Police Department to move forward with a $2.3 million plan to outfit every officer with the devices starting later this year. Continue reading