Yep. Audio of the announcement from the car pic.twitter.com/XAGouv2nSN
— matt (@mmitgang) March 22, 2020
A Seattle Police officer drove through the park and attempted to clear Cal Anderson of people with his loudspeaker, threatening criminal prosecution and the possible closure of “all parks,” a video of the early Saturday evening scene shows.
“The state and local government is requesting voluntary compliance with clearing out the parks in an effort to protect the public and end the public health emergency as quickly as possible,” the speaker in the video says. “Your current conduct is placing yourself and your fellow Seattleites in danger and I’m asking you to leave this area.”
CHS checked in with SPD and the City of Seattle about the police action. A department spokesperson said SPD is is trying to help stop usage of elements like sports courts and playgrounds.
“They are supporting these efforts by patrolling parks more frequently, particularly those where people have been seen congregating,” another spokesperson for the city said.
It’s not clear if a complaint led to the Cal Anderson incident but the SPD spokesperson said that there have been calls reporting crowds.
The video posted around 5:15 PM Saturday shows the SPD cruiser driving through the sunny park. In another clip, the vehicle can be seen parked just to the northeast of the Bobby Morris sports field as a message asking people to vacate the park is read.
“Lack of voluntary compliance could result in a closure of all parks which eventually result in parks trespassing and possibly criminal prosecution. Thank you,” it concludes.
just got some takeout to eat outdoors in Cal Anderson Park. Lots of people here, but from our vantage point, spaced out per guidelines
SPD rolled up in an SUV and bullhorned an order to disperse; enjoy these last few days
— Harsh LaCroixs Wall (@kundun_ilikedit) March 22, 2020
Cal Anderson right now pic.twitter.com/pQTyS7jex3
— Ethan Johnson (@E_dawg13) March 21, 2020
The effort to clear the Capitol Hill park follows the closures of sports fields and playground equipment along with acknowledgement from health and government officials that walks and outside activities in which proper “social distancing” can be maintained are beneficial and can be continued even in areas under full “shelter in place” restrictions.
“We want to keep as many outlets for healthy activity and stress relief available,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said Saturday. “By all means, go for a hike. Take the family for a stroll. Ride your bike. Kick a soccer ball around with your kids. But use good sense,” he added. “Avoid gatherings and team sports. Don’t crowd each other.”
At this point, the restrictions don’t say you can’t walk through Cal Anderson or talk with a friend at a proper distance. But, if you do, you might get another visit from SPD with a loudspeaker message.
The city spokesperson said only that SPD has been asked to remind people about social distancing and “no gatherings/parties/pickup games.”
“They have not been asked to clear the park,” the spokesperson said.
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