After a Labor Day holiday weekend that started with an announcement from the Mayor’s office of support for an increased safety emphasis in the park and was marred by an incident in which a man was severely beaten there, East Precinct commander Capt. Jim Dermody has sent out a media bulletin early Tuesday morning with additional details about Sunday’s beating, a status report on actions SPD has already taken and a look at what additional efforts will be made to make Cal Anderson Park a safer place including the full-time dedication of the East Precinct bike officers “until safety is restored.”
In the bulletin, Dermody emphasizes that Sunday’s beating incident did not involve people from the neighborhood and was possibly a crime of passion. Dermody writes that both the suspect and the victim in the incident are “not from Seattle” and also notes that the fight was “reportedly related to perceived advances on a female known to both.” There is no update on the victim’s condition. SPD had said the victim suffered “extensive skull fractures” but his condition had improved at the hospital.
Dermody also confirms that a “buy/bust” narcotics operation was underway in the park this weekend. CHS has learned that this operation was underway in the park at the time of the beating on Sunday meaning the area was busy with police and active surveillance at the time of the crime. According to Dermody, the operation resulted in two arrests: a 31-year-old male and a 17-year-old female. Both were busted for dealing marijuana.
“Until safety is restored and the behavioral standards reset as allowed for in the Seattle Municipal Code,” Dermody announced the East Precinct mountain bike squad will be dedicated to patrolling Cal Anderson and the surrounding streets.
Additional efforts in Cal Anderson will include deployment of a new county Mobile Outreach Team that will be piloted in the East Precinct to help connect people with shelter and mental health services, closer work with parks staff for graffiti clean-up, and continued presence of undercover SPD in the park.
In mid-August, CHS reported on the efforts of a Capitol Hill woman to bring attention to what she said were dangerous conditions in Cal Anderson. Laura Stockwell says she is organizing a petition to present to the mayor during his Capitol Hill town hall at Miller Community Center on September 13. On Friday, the office of Mayor Mike McGinn, sent out an announcement detailing an increased effort to patrol the park.
Meanwhile, Cal Anderson is not Dermody’s only community worry right now. Over the weekend, a series of “shots fired” incidents around the Central District had people on edge. There were no victims or damage found in those incidents, according to SPD.
When this post was first published, we referred to Capt. Jim Dermody as a lieutenant. Sorry for the error.