This incident is not going to be a shock to anyone who works near the King County Courthouse in Seattle. In fact, people in the area have been complaining about unsafe conditions for months. Just last month a group of 33 judges who work at the courthouse sent a letter to the city about the conditions near their workplace. There is a large homeless encampment in City Hall Park which has made the area a danger to both employees and the public. The letter asked the city to close the park and clear out the camp.
The letter was specifically prompted by a murder which happened a day earlier. A courthouse employee found the body of the victim, a homeless man who had been stabbed 11 times. Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers told KOMO News he was particularly concerned about female employees who had discussed feeling unsafe on their way into work at the courthouse:
“We get reports of assaults, 2 to 5 a week from our own employees, people being yelled at, people being hit,” says Rogers…
“A lot of our female employees talk about feeling unsafe. I shouldn’t be working on making sure nobody gets stabbed on the way to the King County courthouse. that should not be part of my job description,” says Rogers.
Now, just a month later, the situation has gone from bad to worse. Yesterday morning a woman working at the courthouse was attacked by a man who had waited inside a woman’s bathroom.
A sheriff’s deputy who happened to be walking by the restroom heard the woman’s screams and separated the suspect and victim, said Sgt. Randy Huserik, a police spokesman…
The assault was characterized as an attempted rape, according to the email.
The victim is very lucky that a deputy happened to be walking by at that moment. The 35-year-old attacker, who hasn’t been named, is homeless. He had been released from prison less than a week earlier after serving 21 months for previous sex offenses against complete strangers on the street. He is already a registered sex offender:
The man arrested Thursday was released from jail on July 23 after serving 21 months for indecent liberties with forcible compulsion and three counts of fourth-degree assault, two of them with sexual motivation.
In that case, he was arrested in May 2019 after groping one woman as he pinned her to a wall, slapping the buttocks of two other women, and grabbing a fourth woman in a bear hug before she fought him off, court records say. The women were all strangers to the man and were assaulted in quick succession to each other at their workplaces in Pioneer Square, according to the records.
Maybe after this incident the city of Seattle will finally decide to do something about the conditions at City Hall Park.
Of course a big part of the problem is that the city doesn’t have enough police officers to manage the situation thanks to the City Council. The council voted to defund police last year, though the eventual cuts were much smaller than the 50% some on the council wanted. In any case, the impact of the effort was far bigger than the defund supporters could have hoped. As Mayor Durkan pointed out earlier this week, “Over the past 17 months the Seattle Police Department has lost 250 police officers.” She added, “Not unexpected, losing these number of officers, when city leaders talk about cutting the department by 50 percent.” Yes, in retrospect that does seem incredibly dumb.
It’s good that Durkan is calling out the City Council but she’s leaving, having chosen not to run for office again. Part of her decision may have been the the protests brought to her house by City Council extremist Kshama Sawant. Former Police Chief Carmen Best is also gone after tangling with the Council over CHAZ/CHOP and defunding last year. Meanwhile, the residents of Seattle keep electing extremists like Sawant who helped create the current conditions. Seattle is getting exactly what it asked for.
Here’s a local news report about the murder in the park last month: