#manintree: new to city, homeless on Capitol Hill

Sofa King Chill!! ??? #manintree #beforetheywerefamous

A photo posted by @jimberwolf on

The #manintree is a relatively new Seattle transplant who recently appeared in the Capitol Hill homeless and street community, CHS has been told.

For 24 hours, Cody, the 28-year-old man who suddenly climbed an 80-foot sequoia tree in downtown Seattle Tuesday caught the attention of the city — and beyond — until nearly as suddenly climbing back to the earth, sitting down, and eating a pear before being taken into custody Wednesday morning.

CHS is not identifying the man beyond his first name that was used by negotiators at the scene and was shouted by some in the crowds that formed to watch and said they knew him.

Cody was taken to Harborview for evaluation following the long standoff that closed streets in the area and snarled traffic. Police Wednesday said they had one previous contact with him. He was not charged in the previous incident and has no other criminal record in the area. His most recent run-ins with the law in Oregon earlier this year were related to parole violations, according to court records.

SPD spokesperson Patrick Michaud said the man was not facing any charges shortly after the Seattle tree incident ended.

“We’re more concerned about getting him the mental health (treatment) that he needs,” he said.

UPDATE 10:25 PM: A male with the same name as #manintree has been booked into King County Jail for investigation of malicious mischief. He has not yet been charged. He remains jailed.

UPDATE 3/24/16 1:50 PM: According to SPD, the Tuesday morning climb began with a report of a man up a tree who hit someone below with a thrown apple. Police say the same man had a run-in with police last Saturday the 19th on Capitol Hill:

While on patrol we contacted an unidentified male subject for violation of the Sit and Lie Ordnance. The subject was sitting on the sidewalk with his legs crossed in front of a Starbucks located at 8 East Pike Street. I contacted the male and identified myself as a Seattle Police Officer and advised him about the ordinance he was in violation. I asked the subject for identification. The subject initially refused and began to rant about being harassed and his constitutional rights being violated. I took the time to explain to the subject of the sit and lie ordinance and the process that would occur once he provides his identification which would lead to a written warning for sit and lie ordinance or an infraction. The subject stated he didn’t have a form of identification so instead he verbally identified himself. The subject stated his first name was Edward and last name was Cullen. The subject spelt his last name for me. I performed a check on Edward Cullen but couldn’t find a record despite the subject stating he had Washington State Identification.

Edward Cullen is the name of the vampire founder of the “Olympic coven” in the Twilight series.

“I informed the subject of the discrepancy at which time the subject became agitated and began ranting about being harassed and wanting to leave,” the responding officer in the Saturday morning incident writes. “I explained to the subject that he is delaying his ability to walk away by his ranting about the United States of America’s Bill of Rights.”

The man was arrested but eventually after he provided his real name. In the report, the officer claims the man admitted having suicidal thoughts when he was arrested.

UPDATE 3/28/2016 11 AM: The 28-year-old refused to leave his cell for a bond hearing last week and has yet to be charged in the incident. He remains held in King County Jail.

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16 thoughts on “#manintree: new to city, homeless on Capitol Hill

  1. Incredible that they are not planning to charge! What possible reason for this? Also why is he not being named? The police themselves said at the time he was in the tree that they had not really spoken to him or ‘diagnosed him’, yet it would appear that an early decision was made to not charge him? One can only assume that such a decision was political in nature, as naming him and holding him to account might challenge the narrative of the homeless being victims and local. Thisl Blog reports that he is a new arrival to our region.

    When he disrupts the lives of thousands and consumes massive public resources, not to mention significantly damage a trophy tree, this is relevant information and news. Also his story, his name, and his legal disposition is quite relevant. He should be fully charged and let the courts address to what degree if any, his mental status impacted his actions. The ability to compel treatment if necessary and indicated is quite limited absent a threat to self or others, which is not evident. However if charged, the courts could put teeth into his sentence or settlement and for example treat in a corrections setting. Absent legal disposition, he is free to go about his life unimpeded and untreated. Mental illness if that is one of his problems, is not an excuse for criminal behavior. Most with mental illness are not criminals and most criminals are not mentally ill. The real driver for non-charging and not naming him would appear to be an effort to bury the story. The public deserves better and his right to privacy was given up when he climbed that now tarnished tree.

    • He’s probably not being named because while he’s still probably under arrest, he’s also probably still under the care of Harborview, and therefore it would be a HIPAA violation to release his details before he’s discharged.

    • It’d only be a HIPAA violation if medical professionals or other people privy to his medical information released it. The media are generally not held to that standard, and the police could have released his name and prefaced any alleged medical conditions with the word “possible” or something of that nature.

  2. Seattle you def need to get help for the mentally Ill there, my son is homeless on the streets there, I live 45 minutes away. He is mentally ill but instead of treatment they throw him in jail for a couple of weeks and then just let him go. There has to be a better way. He could live with me but he is scared to leave Seattle. If he was on his meds he would be a totally different person. Why can’t judges make mentally ill take their meds?

    • Judges can’t make mentally ill take their meds because people are free to be psychotic. In the past, society took a paternalistic position toward the mentally ill, and could involuntarily detain and force treatment on people based upon the presence of mental illness. Of course this also led to abuses where people who were gay, communist or other ‘aberrations’ were adjudicated as mentally ill and put away, not unlike the Soviet Union did to dissidents.

      With the emergence of the civil rights era, clear parameters were put in place restricting involuntary treatment to clear and imminent danger, to self, others or grave disability. This is a high standard and folks like your brother and tree man likely don’t fit on most days. One has a right to be crazy, even if one is imprisoned by one’s treatable disease. Best of luck to your family and I hope your brother comes to the point of accepting help voluntarily.

    • I can’t provide details, but I think our Legislature passed a bill recently which allows family members more say in getting a mentally ill person committed involuntarily (“Joel’s Law”). You might look into this. Maybe another person here can tell you more.