Post navigation

Prev: (12/02/20) | Next: (12/02/20)

‘It’s urgent’ — Mayor says launching initiatives to open Cal Anderson, remove East Precinct wall amid encampments and ongoing protests — UPDATE

Video images from Matthew Brian posted by @spekulation

Mayor Jenny Durkan tells CHS that her office will “in coming weeks” launch two initiatives planned with local businesses and community representatives to “restore” Cal Anderson Park and take down the barricades around the East Precinct.

“It’s urgent,” the mayor said Tuesday. “It is our densest neighborhood with a very high ratio of people who are renters. There’s very little open space.” The mayor said business and property is also at the front of the discussion after months of demonstrations and ongoing police and protester clashes around the precinct, the park, and the Capitol Hill core.

Beyond reopening a park and clearing the sidewalk at 12th and Pine, the initiatives would be most important for their implications for the neighborhood’s homelessness crisis and the ongoing, nightly protest and unrest.


HELP KEEP CHS 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' FOR EVERYONE -- SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.


In Cal Anderson, property owners and community groups have called for the city to reopen the park without sweeps or violent police actions. CHS reported here on the Cal Anderson Park Alliance and the call for the reopening and return of regular maintenance of Cal Anderson which has been technically closed to the public due to what the city says are safety concerns following the July sweep of the CHOP protests from the area. A city initiative to reopen the park would mean its new “outreach first” approach for addressing homeless encampments is working. It would also mean the city has found solutions to issues around the camping under CDC guidelines that have recommended allowing people living in under sheltered environments to stay in place during the COVID-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, at 12th and Pine’s East Precinct, removing the large cement barrier and fence would address public right of way and street safety issues as well as begin the process of making the facility less like a military fortress. But it would also require progress to end clashes and arrests of protesters — especially the “direct action” and black bloc demonstrators that have made nightly interactions with police a disruptive strategy for the Seattle Police Department and the neighborhood.

The mayor’s announcement came in response to CHS’s question Tuesday to Durkan about any changes coming in how SPD is handling the protests and direct action activity and the opening of the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park where it feels like things are sometimes back to a CHOP-like standoff.

Monday night in a black bloc march marking 150 days since the fiery clashes downtown and on Capitol Hill that began the summer of Black Lives Matter protests in Seattle following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, four people were arrested out of the group of around 100 for “property damage” and “obstructing a law enforcement officer.”

Three people were taken into custody Friday night as protesters blocked E Denny and E Olive Way.

There is renewed pressure on the mayor and police to rein in the actions as TV news is reporting businesses speaking out on the latest marches and repeatedly targeted owners like Ian Eisenberg of Uncle Ike’s criticizing Durkan and calling for an end to the protests on TV and on conservative talk radio.

The latest major media reporting focuses on criticism that recent demonstrations have strayed from the summer’s BLM focus. “The recent nightly marchers do not resemble the tone or the message that occurred during protests that began in the city last summer and that have continued ever since,” the KOMO report reads.

Meanwhile, despite increasingly smaller turnout after months and months of protests and a major, if not totally satisfying, milestone being reached with a near-20% cut to SPD’s 2021 budget, SPD actions continue to provide regular fuel for support and sympathy for the demonstrators and anti-police causes.

In the latest example, video from Friday night’s arrests at E Denny Way and E Olive Way shows a man being doused with pepper spray and shoved and tackled to the pavement after he appeared to use his cane to strike a police officer who had been trying to clear him from the street.

The video was posted Monday by twitter user @Spekulation whose account has been a clearinghouse for some of the more disturbing raw videos and edited presentations showing police abuse through the months of Seattle protests.

According to the SPD report on the incident, the 51-year-old man was not seriously injured in the arrest and was booked into King County Jail for investigation of assault. The SPD report from Officer Casey Thometz notes that “the cane buckled from the force of the strike” and caused the officer back pain. The 51-year-old was released from jail Monday after being held through the weekend on $2,000 bail. The King County Prosecutor says SPD did not refer the case for a filing review and the man has not been charged.

We’re checking with the Office of Police Accountability to find out the status of any investigation related to the use of force in the arrest. UPDATE 12/3/2020 3:40 PM: A representative for the OPA says the office has received a complaint and will begin a preliminary investigation.

Tuesday, Durkan called her planned Capitol Hill initiatives “an open conversation” and said she would need buy-in from businesses, service providers, and “the community” to reopen the park and the precinct and the situation will not work “if the city comes in unilaterally.”

A petition from property owners and community groups linking the park’s reopening with the wall’s removal has gathered nearly 1,000 signatures.

Meanwhile, Durkan and the city lost a key legal battle in October after a federal judge said the lawsuit brought against City Hall by real estate owners, developers, and a handful of local businesses over its handling of the protests can move forward. Others have until February to join the suit.

The mayor, who is gearing up for a reelection campaign in 2021, seems to have heard the message and said Tuesday she has already started the process of outreach with businesses and neighbors tired of the ongoing conditions in the neighborhood.

Capitol Hill, Durkan said, “has suffered a disproportionate impact.”


HELP KEEP CHS 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' FOR EVERYONE -- SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.


 

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
50 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nick W
Nick W
1 month ago

It’s been urgent for months. I guess now it’s urgent urgent?

L A
L A
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick W

There was a bunch of action by a local “green belt” organization, complaining to the city that the blockades at the precinct were preventing foot/wheel traffic on that block. Apparently, forcing people to cross the street was more of an inconvenience than dying while trapped in a precinct building fire set by anarchists. But, in their usual way, the city council gives way to another small interest voice, trying to please *everybody* regardless of the greater good for the neighborhood. (PLEASE tell me you can note the sarcasm in my post here)

I do hope they have a viable solution for the homeless encampment though.

Ryan Packer
Ryan Packer
1 month ago
Reply to  L A

More than twenty people have been killed by our transportation system this year, compared to zero people “dying while trapped in a precinct building”, but do go on…

stan
stan
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryan Packer

Where’s the outrage over our transportation system then? How about smashing windows and setting fire to some trains? That’s the same logic around trying to burn down the precinct building.

Cares2
Cares2
1 month ago
Reply to  L A

I thought the city was caving to the voices of a small few people instead of the majority. The police should decide when it’s safe for them to remove the barrier. And isn’t it time to enforce the laws about protests? Like they have to be permitted and have a known protest route mapped out? Arrest them all! These people are not protesting for black lives anymore – they are just out here to destroy property and promote anarchy and will use any excuse to do it!

RWK
RWK
1 month ago
Reply to  Cares2

Here, here!!

ACAB
ACAB
1 month ago
Reply to  Cares2

I mean yeah we do like anarchy, we’re anarchists so…what’s your point? Unfortunately there is no way to vote for our beliefs, so we have to take different measures. It might surprise you to discover that you have shared beliefs with anarchists, and also owe a lot to anarchist movements throughout history.

Jen Suz
Jen Suz
1 month ago
Reply to  ACAB

From WTO forward (and probably before that, truly) Seattle “anarchists” have piggy backed on to, then crapped all over every worthy movement – and ruined those movements by turning the public against them. It’s almost like you’re paid to do just that.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago

How do these police get away with behaving this way? I can’t believe the mayor or city council or anyone at all can’t get a grip on their outrageous behavior. These are public servants and they’re acting with complete disregard for whom they work for. Are they just beyond accountability by any measure? Watching their endless machismo and arrogance since this summer has been incredibly eye opening. They publicly mock citizens and the OPA and rove around beating people and using weapons against them? Seriously? This is a publicly funded organization? What are they doing for any of us? They kill civilians? And we all pay a lot of money for this organization to exist? If anyone can explain to me what the police “do” please reply I am so confused why police are a thing?

stan
stan
1 month ago

You are confused as to why law enforcement is a thing? Clearly you must live in the suburbs where crime is minimal and limited to some shoplifting from convenience stores.

Read anything about drive by shootings? Organized crime selling drugs that’re causing an epidemic of addiction in communities across the country? Murders? Rapes? Who do you think will patrol and investigate for these crimes against the population? A social worker? You? Black Bloc?

Yes, there are criminal cops who think they are above the law and have killed. They should be held to account and made to pay for their actions when they cause death. Qualified immunity must be repealed and minor community issues should be sourced to non-armed public services officials. However, not all cops are killers or abusers of power. Labeling an entire police force as unnecessary is naive at best; ignorant at worst.

We, as a people, all of us, need to come to the table to identify how to reimagine and rebuild law enforcement to provide justice and safety for all. That means ending over-policing of minority neighborhoods as well as not tolerating protesters that think violence is the answer; as that makes you no better than then “violent cops” you decry.

Otherwise we’ll just turn into a larger version of CHOP/CHAZ and we saw how well that turned out. Heavily armed, white, male, vigilantes who over-react to a situation they know little about that ends in the death of a black teenager. Tell me, is that the solution you have to policing?

One last thing, it’s a little difficult to take the everyday marchers’ protests seriously when some are shouting to the cops, “I hope your f*ing family dies!” Really, you hope innocent people die for the actions of one person from that family? If that’s the kind of justice y’all are promoting I’m fine with ignoring your voices; as they sound more like those from ranting lunatics of the alt-right than those of rationale adults.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago
Reply to  stan

That’s a big list of terrible things that happen in our society. But what do the police do?

They don’t prevent any of those things from happening otherwise those things wouldn’t happen.

They didn’t prevent Chaz or Chop, they didn’t stop those vigilantes you’re describing.. All I see them doing is beating up on kids that are angry about the police murdering civilians.. and the police are murdering civilians?

Do we need patrol officers who are armed to the teeth, many military trained, roving around, instigating and escalating situations with civilians to the point where a significant number of American citizens are killed by them, wrongfully, all the time..

What is the point? What do they do? We pay so much money for this service and I don’t see what we get. And the public face of that public organization is them pepper spaying citizens, children, abducting citizens that caught them on camera doing it? Flash banging people observing them because they don’t trust them? This is what a taxpayer funded organization does? And people clamor to like protect them?

We pay for a violent organization to roam our streets? Why is this a thing? They are pure danger and they demonstrate that constantly.

stan
stan
1 month ago

Law enforcement isn’t exactly crime prevention; it’s enforcing the laws.
It’s right there in the name. And their existence is to ensure that, if they can’t prevent a crime, they bring those responsible to justice. I really shouldn’t have to spell this out for you. CHOP/CHAZ never prevented a crime and, in most instances, neither will a social worker.

And violent organization is your hyperbolic take on policing based on your own fringe bias. Much they way MAGA-world alt-right terrorists think anyone to the left is a terrorist. You need to educate yourself. Get off the comment sections of blogs and read, go on ride-alings, meet with Black Lives Matter activists and stop trying to burn down cop shops and Jewish run businesses.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago

Lol. Actually, it’s not too hard to understand. I’ll make a simple analogy for you.

When you have a pack of blueberries and you see one going bad, you remove that blueberry and it keeps the others alive longer. Similarly, when you remove someone who has committed a crime in society (rape, murder, assault, etc), you prevent future crime from that criminal. You do not prevent all crime from happening. But you do stop that criminal on any future crimes.

Pretty basic concept. When you see blueberries, keep this in mind. :)

Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
1 month ago

Should we eliminate doctors because they don’t prevent cancer?

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
1 month ago

Should we eliminate doctors because they don’t prevent cancer?

Doctors do prevent cancer.

CD Tim
CD Tim
1 month ago

Studies demonstrate that the presence of beat cops reduces crime: https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/rest_a_00889

Jen Suz
Jen Suz
1 month ago

There are currently murderers, rapists, child molesters and serial violent crime perpetrators in the local jail. Who do you think arrested them? Who do you think investigated their crimes so that they could be charged? And a police officer arresting a man who hits him so hard with a cane that the can buckles is doing his job. I hope the police also arrest the people throwing incendiary devices in to Uncle Ike’s and trying to murder police a the precinct. If people were trying to burn you alive I guarantee you would be shouting for the police.

caphiller
caphiller
1 month ago

Good news for local residents who are sick of enduring a filthy park. But I imagine “outreach first” means asking the campers nicely if they would like to turn down their music, put out their bbq fires and clean up their garbage?

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago
Reply to  caphiller

People are using that park every single day for recreational activities AND shelter during a pandemic. That park is full of dogs fetching and people lounging on the field and people living in tents. What is the problem?

Nick W
Nick W
1 month ago

As someone who still uses the park – yes, it’s usable, but the paths often are covered in glass which makes it hard to walk dogs, the trash cans are always overflowing, and there’s a lot of areas where I certainly wouldn’t trust sitting down on the grass anymore.

There’s “tents providing shelter in a contained, tidy area”, and then there’s “tents scattered in every area of the park for no clear reason with trash everywhere”. We’re now at the latter.

Karen J
Karen J
1 month ago

What is the the problem? Hum. In addition to dog fetching and some people sheltering responsibly, there are those that are shooting up drugs; nodding out; nightime parties when their neighbors are trying to get some sleep so they can work in health care during a pandemic; the park department cleaning up their empties after a good time like they are their maids; and I personally don’t like human waste in my apartment walk. Just a few things off the top of my head.

Mimi
Mimi
1 month ago

Denying the problem in the park is akin to denying the coronavirus. It doesn’t help anyone.

Cares2
Cares2
1 month ago
Reply to  caphiller

It’s time to start moving campers out of our parks too. They move themselves around anyway and so are spreading Covid just as much as if the camps were told to move. Start enforcing laws about so-called “survival” crimes like theft and car prowls and get these people into court monitored detox. Letting them live in our parks in filth is inhumane! Court monitored detox would at least give them a chance at a normal life.

dropinthebucket
dropinthebucket
1 month ago
Reply to  Cares2

I work with unhoused people and they are very unlikely to have or spread covid among themselves. Shelter staff are a health risk to their clients, not the other way around, for example.

Detox would not help most of them live a ‘normal’ life because it wouldn’t address the underlying behavioral issues and trauma that generally lead to substance abuse and/or homelessness in the first place. We as a culture are not currently willing to offer the level of care required to meaningfully help unhoused people live ‘normal’ lives. A lot of people are fine with that, but it does mean we won’t solve homelessness any time soon.

Emily
Emily
1 month ago

I’m surprised to learn that shelter staff are a health risk to their clients but clients are not at any non-negligible risk of having or spreading covid. Why is that?

CD Neighbor
CD Neighbor
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily

probably because it’s not true…. In an actual CDC study of shelter populations in Seattle (so yes here), Boston, San Francisco and Atlanta, 25% of clients have been tested positive, 11% of of employees tested positive. The overall percentage of the population of King County that has a confirmed COVID diagnosis is 2%…. That would indicate to me that the homeless population is at a much greater risk for getting and spreading the disease…

RWK
RWK
1 month ago

Of course “detox” doesn’t solve underlying issues. But it sometimes is a first step towards actual, longer-term treatment, which is the only hope for addicts and alcoholics.

S.
S.
1 month ago
Reply to  caphiller

Nothing will happen until someone dies, just like before.

Moving On
Moving On
1 month ago
Reply to  S.

Several people have already died.

Nick W
Nick W
1 month ago
Reply to  S.

But someone literally did die in the pumphouse, and nothing happened.

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago
Reply to  S.

Are you paying attention? People are dying all the time and nothings happening.

I get that we don’t have solutions for these problems… That’s something we ALL need to get..

Then loop back and realize we can’t just band-aid everything, moving encampments around and sending the goon-patrol to crack skulls.. Those are not solutions.

solutions = needed
police = not a solution = not needed

Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
1 month ago

The police knew Travis, for better or worse, and tried to humanize his rescue. Listen to the video. “Travis! Come on out, Travis!” That’s not exactly a German Shepherd at your balls. The police are not uniformly bad people, but whatever.

caphiller
caphiller
1 month ago
Reply to  S.

Didn’t two campers die in the park a couple months ago?

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago
Reply to  caphiller

Yes.

MvB
MvB
1 month ago

‘Officer Casey Thometz notes that “the cane buckled from the force of the strike”’ — ha, yeah except I’d swear it’s one of those jointed canes that are meant to come apart, has all the striking power of those spring-hinged bats the big leaguers use for the long balls

stan
stan
1 month ago
Reply to  MvB

So that excuses assault; that the cane was jointed? Should we start coming up with excuses for robbery, rape, and murder too?

Fran
Fran
1 month ago
Reply to  stan

Maybe! I mean, what’s your excuse been all this time for all the robberies, rapes, and murders you’ve committed in 2020? Let me know and I’ll consider approving the excuse for use by others.

stan
stan
1 month ago
Reply to  Fran

Really? Your personal opinion of someone excuses assault? You must be a sorry excuse for a person. And, for the record, I’ve committed none of the things you accuse me of – in 2020 or the other 48 years I’ve been alive.

But keep up your Trump/MAGA world-like two-faced commentary. You’re sure to drive change that way.

Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
1 month ago
Reply to  stan

Old man take a look at my life :) Spek says 51 is an “old man” and you just rang the doorbell :)

Jen Suz
Jen Suz
1 month ago

“He’s an elderly veteran! We have no proof that he is elderly or a veteran, and normally we’d call the military murderers but it serves us to say this guy is a veteran! And elderly!”

Moving On
Moving On
1 month ago

So, I’m kind of over trying to goad the police into abuses. They do it, we all know it, and we’ve all known it, which is why they’ve been under a consent decree for years.

The important question is how we fix it. CHOP showed that de-policing is a both a laughable and tragic non-starter, so now what?

The public will exists to fix the problem, but there needs to be an actual solution we can get behind. Until that point, I could do without the street theater.

Onward Move
Onward Move
1 month ago
Reply to  Moving On

Agreed, the CHAZ festival was an embarrassing flop of naive socialist hype that managed to accomplish absolutely nothing of substance. It was just an excuse to party and indulge immature anarchy fantasies within a two block radius while police officers collected extra pay to watch kids throw water bottles and shout unintelligible gibberish until the wee hours of the night.

What an unproductive joke.

Meanwhile, the roll-up-your-sleeves work of real activists (who actually engage in meaningful dialogue with power brokers) were chased out of circus atmosphere which has merely resulted in an increased delay for enacting useful reforms because the city is busy cleaning up after a handful of Nikkita Oliver’s inner circle of junior league communists who think they’re going to seize public property by shouting slogans and declare a revolution at Cal Anderson.

It’s time for the responsible adults to send these unruly children home and get on with the business of democratic governance.

caphiller
caphiller
1 month ago
Reply to  Onward Move

Thank you, this is the best take on CHAZ I’ve read all year!

Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
1 month ago

So 51 is now an “old man?” Pushing those drama buttons awfully hard…

The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
The Ghostt Of Capitol Hill
1 month ago

Shouldn’t it be an outrage that a city funded organization is armed to the teeth and pepper spraying citizens for “being outside”.. or “near a park”, “attempting to talk to an officer”.

Many, many, many of these arrests of demonstrators are let go because there’s no crime to charge them with. So just think about that for a second. This violent organization is arresting people, wrongly… So they’re failing to do their job right and hurting people.. and that’s just within their guidelines? If I were a violent ex military this would be right up my ally. As a citizen I cannot be sold on this as a city funded org I just don’t get it.

Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
1 month ago

I thought about it for a second. I saw God. But it was over so fast.

stan
stan
1 month ago

Agreed. I’m 49 and consider myself a long way (more than 2 years) away from being old. I also have the good sense not to commit assault on a police officer who’s telling me to get out of the street.

Was the pepper spray to the face over the top? Yeah, they could have just grabbed the guy and arrested him. But the guy is also old enough to know that nothing good would come from striking a cop.

Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
1 month ago
Reply to  stan

I think they should shoot spider web material from their wrists. Then I predict 92.317% of the hill would support the police. Just a guess!

Cal Anderson Neighbor
Cal Anderson Neighbor
1 month ago

Yes! Open the park, service the park (pick up the trash regularly, fix the broken lights, restrooms etc.) and do not let people live in the park – especially like this. Trash and human excrement are everywhere and many of the people are in mental crisis. Connect these people with services and make the park welcoming for all.

RWK
RWK
1 month ago

From this article: “SPD actions continue to provide regular fuel for support and sympathy for the demonstrators and anti-police causes.”

This statement is nonsense. After all that’s happened in our neighborhood, and continues to happen, there is very little “sympathy” left for the criminal anarchists.