Sunday, December 5, 2010

Police Blotter 12/5/10

Madison Park is becoming one tough neighborhood. Or, to be more precise, it’s certainly getting rough and tumble if you’re an on-street solicitor trying to work the Park. First came this summer’s incident involving the panhandler (and former Real Change newspaper vendor) who was beaten up for “begging” in the neighborhood. Now comes a report that a Real Change vendor was assaulted in front of Bert’s last month.

In that incident, which occurred on November 18, the female vendor reported to police that she had been attacked on the street by a woman who sometimes solicits donations for a church at that same location. According to the victim, she was already on the corner selling her newspapers when the suspect arrived on the scene and began setting up a portable table and chair. According to the police report, “an argument ensued between [the victim] and the unknown suspect over who could stand where on the sidewalk. The unknown suspect grew angry, then suddenly picked up the folding chair she was sitting in, and struck [the victim] with the chair until [the victim] fell to the ground. Once [the victim was] on the ground, the suspect dropped the chair and then began to use her hands and feet to strike the victim.”

Then, according to the police report, a second suspect, a male, arrived on the scene in a car. The two suspects hurriedly loaded the table and chair into the vehicle and then sped off westbound on Madison. The website reported this incident with the headline “Real Change Vendor, Church Lady in WWF-Style Brawl in Madison Park,” thereby providing some rather unlikely publicity for our fair neighborhood. The WWF reference, for the uninitiated, is to the World Wrestling Federation.

The fire department arrived to treat the victim, who reported that she had suffered a shoulder injury in the assault, but declined further medical attention. She later told the police that she would be able to identify the assailant if she saw her again. Although unable to remember the name of the church for which the suspect was soliciting, the victim did recall that the church’s motto was “Don’t Give Up!”

There were several other criminal incidents in Madison Park since our last Police Blotter, but they were not as serious or as numerous as they briefly appeared to be last week. For some reason, the Seattle Police Department’s reporting system showed multiple narcotics incidents and a couple of arrests as occurring in Madison Park in late November. This is pretty unusual activity for the Park, so we were naturally curious to know the details. After we requested copies of the police reports, however, we discovered that the incidents had actually happened in the Rainier Valley and West Seattle and had simply been misreported as being in Madison Park. So, though crime was hardly nonexistent here, things certainly could have been worse.

Here’s what actually happened:

There was one reported incident of a car being broken into in the neighborhood, which occurred on November 30 on the 800 block of 34th Avenue E. There were four such incidents in the Arboretum, on the 1300 block of Lake Washington Boulevard E., during the period. One car theft also occurred here. The car was stolen on November 22 from the 1200 block of Knox Place E. (just off of the E. Lee Street road end at Lake Washington).

Two arrests on warrants for misdemeanors took place: one in November 16 in the 2000 block of 43rd Avenue E. and one on November 25 on the 1500 block of that same street.

There were also three forced-entry burglaries reported: one occurred at a residence on the 3200 block of E. Mercer Street on November 14, one occurred the next day at a non-residence on the 3800 block of E. Garfield Street, and one occurred at a residence on the 1200 block of 37th Avenue E. on November 17. Curiously, there are no on-line police reports available for any of these incidents, and the Madison Park Blogger’s Public Information request for other records of crimes in the neighborhood during the last two weeks has proven unproductive. We received a letter from the SPD last week stating that several incidents reported here are exempt from disclosure “to the extent that nondisclosure is essential to effective law enforcement or disclosure would violate a person’s right to privacy.” The letter adds: “Please resubmit your request for these reports in 6 – 8 weeks.”

We shall see.

[Key to crime-map symbols: starbursts represent burglaries, solid cars represent car thefts, un-solid cars represent car prowls, spray-paint cans represent property damage, upraised hands represent shoplifting, dollar bills represent thefts, handcuffs represent arrests under warrants, and red exclamation points represent cases of harassment. This map covers the period from November 14 through December 5.]

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