Seattle agrees to pay $10,000 settlement in lawsuit over Cal Anderson homeless sweep
The City of Seattle has agreed to pay a $10,000 settlement to a woman who had filed a lawsuit over a December sweep of a homeless encampment in Cal Anderson Park.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court by Ada Yeager, had initially asked U.S. District Judge Richard Jones to file a preliminary injunction to halt the sweep. Jones denied that request, but the litigation continued on, culminating this week in the city’s agreed upon settlement.
Seattle Parks & Recreation had posted notices about the planned December sweep 48 hours in advance. That led to a sizable defense effort from protesters in support of the homeless individuals camped out in the park, KIRO Radio reporter Hanna Scott explained, asking for materials, old furniture, boards, and whatever they could get to build barricades. They were prepared to stop the city from taking people out of the park.
Police eventually arrested 24 people during the sweep for charges ranging from misdemeanor trespass to failure to disperse.
Yeager’s lawsuit centered around the seizure of property during the sweep belonging to her and others who were camped in Cal Anderson Park. Possessions collected by the city during sweeps often fail to make their way back to their original owners, despite the city’s standing policy to safely store those items.
According to a report from the Seattle Times, the city ultimately decided to pay out the $10,000 settlement to Yeager “to avoid the time and expense of further litigation.”
The December sweep marked the third time Seattle had cleared homeless campers out of Cal Anderson Park in 2020, with a pair of sweeps taking place in the late-summer months. At the two prior sweeps, police officers were met by a group of protesters, and campers and aid tables returned to the park soon after police left the area. The park had been officially closed for six months prior to the city’s final sweep in mid-December.