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A look at the Seattle Police report on the Capitol Hill protest zone auto garage break-in Seattle Police didn’t respond to

An incident that has become a CHOP talking point in everything from Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal to neighbors asking Seattle Police to respond to 911 calls near the Capitol Hill protest zone was set off by an alleged thief on a burglary spree making an ill-advised entry into a 12th Ave auto garage, according to court records.

Police say 21-year-old Richard Hanks was the suspect caught in the act Sunday night and held by the owners of 12th Ave’s Car Tender garage in an incident at the center of our report this week on the East Precinct’s refusal to respond to incidents near the protest.

Hanks is in custody and charged for crimes in the alleged spree. But it isn’t because he was arrested by police on Capitol Hill on Sunday. Prosecutors say Hanks was busted the next night after he was caught allegedly breaking into and trying to steal a car in unincorporated King County.

Tuesday, Seattle Police interviewed the Car Tender owners about what had transpired there.

The arrest and newly released police report on the incident reveal new details about the strange episode, a violent scene with the protesters who responded, and the tensions on the police force about the situation around the protest zone. “Almost all of this incident was captured on various social media posts,” the reporting officer writes about the Sunday night incident at Car Tender. “I have downloaded more than a dozen videos of this incident and can submit them as evidence once we are allowed to have our precinct back.”


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Around 10:15 PM, East Precinct dispatch broadcast that the owner of 12th Ave’s Car Tender was reporting his son was “armed to teeth and will start killing people” as he held down a person caught burglarizing the auto garage. SPD officers responded they would “stage in the area” but were not going in. A crowd of 30 to 50 people from the protest camp grew at the 12th Ave at E Olive St auto yard’s fence and then knocked it down. The 911 caller “sounds very frustrated by the whole situation,” the dispatcher recounted about 20 minutes into the episode.

According to the newly released police report, the owners said they found Hanks after a friend who lives near the garage and auto yard called to report an intruder. The owners first tried police at that point.  “They called 911 and explained the situation to dispatch,” East Precinct officer Dylan Nelson writes in his report on the incident. “They were told SPD would not be responding as the location was a block outside the Capital (sic) Hill Autonomous Zone, an occupied area the city of Seattle has recently allowed to shut down the East Precinct,”

According to the SPD report, the McDermott family that has been part-owners of the garage said they armed themselves and drove the 12th at E Olive St. shop where they found Hanks had busted a window, burglarized the office, and was allegedly trying to start a fire on a desk inside using a cassette tape and hand sanitizer.

The McDermotts told police they found business checks and external hard-drives in the man’s backpacks. As they held him and continued to call 911, the crowd of protesters outside the garage fence grew. “Several of them yell that they will burn or destroy the business” and there were “several threats to shoot” the owners from the protesters — “several of which were armed,” the report notes.

“Eventually, the protesters physically knocked down the chainlink fence that surrounds the business and rushed the yard. To appease the protesters, the suspect was released to them,” officer Nelson writes.

According to police, the crowd surrounded the suspect near 11th and Pine where he was “detained” as the group searched his backpack. The suspect was wearing one of the McDermotts’ Seahawks coat which the crowd took from him and returned to the garage, according to the report.

“Eventually, a member of the crowd assaulted the suspect, repeatedly punching him in the face,” it reads. “The suspect escaped in the brawl that followed.”

The Car Tender victims told police that $300 in cash remains unaccounted for and they would need to spend $3,000 or more because keys to the building and fence were still missing.

While the SPD police report includes one witness who is a Capitol Hill resident who was inside the garage with the McDermotts, a Daily Caller video intern who happened to be at the auto garage property as the situation unfolded is not included in the report. The report also does not include any statements from the crowd that formed or the protest security volunteers.

An online fundraiser has been set up to benefit Car Tender and the McDermott family. “John has already lost upwards of $55,000 in business,” the site reads. “Now, in addition to that, he has the additional property damage to repair and security teams are required to maintain the safety of his employees and the business.” $1,300 has been raised so far in the fundraiser.

In May, CHS reported on plans to redevelop the block including the auto repair business after a 2017 deal for Car Tender owners Russell Kimble and John McDermott to sell their property for $7.6 million.

In addition to documenting the chaotic scene, the SPD report seems to wipe away attempts by outlets like the Daily Caller and Seattle’s My Northwest to paint the break-in at Car Tender as a political action by camp protesters. “The owner tells me they got a tip that Hanks was working with protesters at CHOP and that weapons had been stashed nearby,” the My Northwest report reads.

The King County Prosecutor’s office says Hanks has so far been charged in the first episode in a string of crimes leading to the Capitol Hill flashpoint —  a June 11th incident in which he allegedly totaled a $32,000 car he was trying to steal from the Mercedes-Benz of Seattle dealership on Airport Way. “Our office has not seen evidence that Mr. Hanks’ actions are protest related,” they write.

Hanks remains jailed. The court found probable cause for second-degree burglary and second-degree reckless burning but he has not yet been charged for the Capitol Hill incident.


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19 thoughts on “A look at the Seattle Police report on the Capitol Hill protest zone auto garage break-in Seattle Police didn’t respond to” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. I thank you for reporting and I find it is essential to seek out other perspectives as the Seattle times still has not posted the car tender situation. The truth of what is happening needs to be provided and I feel for all those that live in the area or adjacent.
    However, I have to ask…. all of the letters from locals you have presented include language that implies a disrespect or dislike for police. It seems they attempted to secure protestors to an area, the protestors would not leave. Who is to say that things would have been better if they had let them march. Their demands just escalate each moment. So I ask? If the police will get your criticism if they step in or if they don’t. What is the point of them risking their lives for yours? The silent majority is suffering and to be heard you can’t be silent because no one will help you.

  2. TLDR: SPD failed to respond to a burglary-in-progress at Car Tender cuz it was nearby CHOP, then Car Tender said they’re “armed to teeth and will start killing people,” so CHOP got involved and were able to return at least one stolen good before the burglar escaped.

    Then Jamie Teschlog from Freedom Church NW created a GoFundMe for Car Tender with a $75K goal – NEVER MIND CAR TENDER HAS A DEAL IN PLACE TO SELL THEIR PROPERTY FOR $7.6M – and fools are donating to it.

    • So criminals go free? That’s your solution. Did you not see the CHOP security attack the guy? Where was his body camera??? Double standard. And regardless of what he has a deal for, you don’t know what he owes or how long he has built his business up. are you saying he deserved the robbery. The fact that thugs at CHOP protected him show me that they lack morals and I hope someday that they have something to loss because their toon would change. You have been brainwashed to believe a narrative that is not true.

    • Nothing I said was dishonest or a stretch. You may feel superior, but you are foolish and think that by saying something you can make it true or that you have a right to place judgement. If it was to long and you didn’t read it- why did you even comment. I call that an uneducated move. So glad people get to listen to your uninformed message.

    • Why would you assume they are selling the property. THIS IS FALSE, I am very involved with this shop. Additionally, even if they were, why would they be penalized for selling? Do you think that if they sell their property that that mean they should not be able to have others help with an extremely difficult situation that is crushing the business even more than COVID already did? Disappointing to hear people be so cold to other humans and spread falsities. They didn’t deserve to be robbed, vandalized, threatened, or have a mob rush them to demand a criminal to be released. No one does…

      • “Disappointing to hear people be so cold to other humans and spread falsities.”

        Hmm…

        “The fact that thugs at CHOP protected him show me that they lack morals and I hope someday that they have something to loss because their toon would change.”

        Hmm.

  3. This article is so prolly written I couldn’t even finish it. If you’re not a real reporter, stop publishing articles. You’re part of the information problem.

  4. None of this adds up.

    At this stage, I’m more fearful that the only legacy of the CHAZ/CHOP will be a long-term homeless camp at what was formerly known as Cal Anderson Park.

    Praying I’m wrong….

    • Just an endless outdoor party.

      In the evening, it’s just a lot people getting drunk and doing drugs, spray painting buildings (got the wall below my window again earlier this evening) and playing loud music (been going since 3:00 PM today, and the volume is going up as it’s getting later).

      • Damn, the closure of the MyNorthwest comment section is really hitting some of you hard!

    • Not familiar with that site, but by your insinuation it seems a place I can do without.

      It’s sounds like you’re okay with the behavior regularly occurring directly outside of my home since the CHOP took root. I just wish you would have volunteered up your home and not mine.

      But as long as it’s not happening to you, what do you care.

  5. That video is pretty damming and pretty much what people would expect is the real tone of what’s going on. That’s how the bullies in school would walk around.

    It’s ironic that the black community is once again is being used as pawns in a proxy faux spiritual ideals by whites. If I was black it would feel cheap to me and would turn my stomach.

  6. The police continue to offer bad faith arguments: “… can submit them as evidence once we are allowed to have our precinct back”

    They can submit it now. There’s another precinct, it’s not like the SPD has no infrastructure available. It very much bothers me that they’re attempting to extort the city in their own protest.

  7. I have lived in Capitol Hill for three decades and I have no idea why anyone is supporting Chop at this point. Local news coverage should be shedding a clear light on the ridiculous amount of violence that is going on here over the past week and on a daily basis. Huge temper screaming tantrums from Chop leaders, shots heard every night for the past three nights. I can see people walking around with rifles and guns. In what universe does that seem like a progressive revolution? People that want to be involved in a peaceful movement for positive change would not walk around with rifles pretending to be police officers. If anything we should be talking about how other countries that are actually much further evolved than Seattle do it. But this Capitol Hill is beyond pathetic.

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