MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Problematic behavior outside King County Courthouse continues

Apr 24, 2018, 1:28 PM | Updated: 1:28 pm

seattle homeless, prolific homeless...

King County Courthouse. (penjelly, Flickr)

(penjelly, Flickr)

People are still being hassled as they go in and out of the King County Courthouse near Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood.

RELATED: Small business owner begs leaders to stop crime

King County commissioners found out Tuesday that people don’t feel comfortable going to the courthouse. It’s especially a problem when jurors don’t want to show up for duty.

Last July, Judge Lara Inveen told council members that the two city parks adjacent to the courthouse were “virtually open-air drug markets.” Threats, assaults, lewd conduct, and drug dealing all became an issue around the government building.

In response, the council convened a panel to uncover the root of the problem.

Seattle Police Captain Thomas Mahaffey says the issue may be the homeless camps in the area.

“I don’t think it’s the courthouse in particular. I think — as I mentioned — it’s some of the other environmental issues down here, mainly being you have all of your service providers clustered in a very small area.”

King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer says the problem needs to stop.

“We pay jurors ten dollars a day to get abused,” he said.

He said it seems ironic that the city and county encourage people to walk and use public transportation, but they are inhibited by people on sidewalks that are in violation of the law.

McKenna: Tent culture is result of Seattle’s camping laws

“Tent situation is very frustrating,” Captain Mahaffey said. “We have a lot of administrative rules we have to follow … my officers go out but because of the rules regarding encampments that we are bound to follow — they are administrative rules, maybe they don’t line up with city ordinance and law — but that’s what we have to follow.”

Captain Mahaffey says officers can ask people to move, but if they make an arrest, they are responsible for all the property. The department doesn’t have the resources to deal with it.

Major Dave Jutilla, chief of King County Metro Police, says efforts in the area will continue.

“Our efforts on Third Avenue are going to be long and consistent as we keep moving ahead and that will include the courthouse area.”

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Medics respond to a crash in SeaTac on June 21, 2024....

Julia Dallas

3 nearly lose their lives, another injured in SeaTac crash

Five people and two cars were involved in a violent car crash in SeaTac on Friday, the King County Sheriff's Office told KIRO Newsradio.

17 hours ago

Photo: Lacey police are investigating a deadly shooting....

KIRO 7 News Staff

21-year-old arrested in Lacey double murder after police chase

A 21-year-old man led police on a chase following the murder of two people whom he lived with in Lacey.

17 hours ago

Photo: The exterior of the Boeing Company headquarters on March 25, 2024....

James Lynch

Boeing working with DOJ to avoid criminal charges

After allegedly violating the terms of a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement, Boeing is reportedly working to avoid a criminal trial.

20 hours ago

Photo: Yin May suffered severe injuries when she was hit by a driver in Kent....

Julia Dallas

Deputies searching for person who hit, nearly killed woman in Kent

King County deputies are looking for the person who almost killed a woman in Kent in a hit-and-run on Sunday.

21 hours ago

Photo: Snohomish County bus....

Bill Kaczaraba

Attacks against Community Transit drivers reveal potential troubling trend

Community Transit drivers in Snohomish County face a growing threat from violent passengers. Two drivers have been attacked recently.

21 hours ago

Image: A Seattle Police Department vehicle is parked outside Lumen Field in Seattle....

Steve Coogan

Report: Seattle officer fired after previous racist comments surfaced

A Seattle Police Department officer was fired for calling his neighbor racist and sexist slurs and making other comments in 2022.

23 hours ago

Problematic behavior outside King County Courthouse continues