A few dozen people were protesting near Cal Anderson Park after clearing homeless campers out of the area early Friday morning. A group of Seattle police officers stood by for a few hours, but left just after 12:30 p.m.
This occurred near the restrooms on the south end of the park, by the baseball field.
Protesters were shouting at police as dump trucks and city crews clear away the remains of the homeless encampment. They were asking why police did not bring social workers with them. Protesters say that citizens have been cleaning up the area and that the city needs to treat the homeless with dignity.
Protesters shouted, “Cowards, quit your (expletive) jobs” as officers walked through the park and left.
Police say they arrested four people for criminal trespassing, and noted that Human Services Department representatives with the Navigation Team were not on-site to assist with removing homeless individuals from the park. Services were instead reportedly offered by SPD’s own Navigation Team members.
In the time since police left the area, some campers returned to set up their tents again, while aid tables were reestablished as well. Others were picking up litter in the park.
This all comes after the Seattle City Council made large cuts to SPD’s budget, including the Navigation team, stating that social workers should do the job of homeless outreach instead.
KIRO Radio’s Nicole Jennings contributed to this report.