Community Post

Arsonist targets SPD drop-in center at 23rd & Union

It appears that recent anger against the Seattle Police Department escalated to an arson attack over night, targeting the small SPD drop-in facility on the southeast corner of 23rd & Union.

The Seattle Fire Department responded to the scene with 15 units at 3:32am, after someone caught fire to the front doors of the storefront that the police department has leased since 2008. It appears the damage from the fire was limited to scorched paint and a partially burned awning. Structural and interior damage is minimal, if any.

This is the third act of property damage targeting that building in the last year. On July 19th a man and a woman broke the windows of the drop-in center with sledgehammers, just a week after anti-police graffiti was scrawled on the side of the building. Those events occurred following a manslaughter verdict against a California police officer who killed another man on a subway platform.

Today’s arson comes after several days of protests and anger resulting from the decision not to charge SPD Officer Ian Birk in the controversial shooting of John T. WIlliams.

0 thoughts on “Arsonist targets SPD drop-in center at 23rd & Union

  1. Wow, how irresponsible, setting a fire in front of a police drop in center that is rarely occupied to try to make some statement about police? This fire could have damaged, even destroyed, some of the already-struggling neighboring businesses who are attempting to make a difference and keeping our corner (just barely) alive. What a thoughtless and cowardly (not to mention dangerous and irresponsible) thing to do. Demonstrations and protests are important to our freedom of speech and civil rights. Arson is just a form of terrorism.

  2. Taking some pride in our neighborhood would have been a bit more contructive as always chances are these kids do not live in the neighborhood!

  3. It’s time to calm down and let more rational people respond to the issues that are causing everyone to take a look at the police and their policies. This type of action accomplishes nothing.

  4. An act like this against a police institution shows that police are not invincible. It is important.

    Keep your liberal positions to yourself you wanker’s. Then, wake up in the morning and get back to your graphic design jobs, or whatever it is you silly losers do to feel important.

  5. You think that violence is a good solution to a problem? That makes you no better than the officer who screwed up.

    But more to the point, you really think a random act of vandalism against an empty building shows how tough you are and convinces anyone that the police are vulnerable? Seriously? You’ve got a lot of growing up to do.

    Silly losers who work for a living, no matter what the job they do, are more important than bratty little kids who thinks that throwing a tantrum makes a difference any day.

  6. It’s how I feel about this entire issue with the protesters and the SPD. This is a drop in center where people can connect with the police and make a better community (a community that I call home)–I realize that there are always going to be bad individuals in any group, but both as a whole need to have better communication with each other. The protesters who did this are wrong, because violence like this just escalates tensions and stops any problem solving. Some police officers have made poor decisions but remember, those are individuals not the entire group. I’m proud to make Seattle my home, and would hate to think that a few crappy people on both sides can ruin this place for everyone.

  7. I agree. Sometimes it feels more like an attack on the community and perhaps more specifically on this community than anything else. As LizWas pointed out other property and businesses could have been destroyed. And, others could have been injured.

    There is no direct connection here to the sad circumstances at the root of the current protests. This did not contribute to a dialogue. Did the arsonist/s want a dialogue? What did they wish to accomplish? Of course, we know officers can be vulnerable and obviously they can be wrong. Improving any situation requires working together.

  8. What happened to the early comment from the moron who was so enthusiastic about dynamiting the police? Comment is gone without a trace, producing a very sanguine image of the community response. Who’s making these decisions and why?

  9. Tom, I understand why threats of violence will be deleted, but can you record IP addresses? I know on some blogging/commenting sites the owner can record IP addresses from all posters. Might be good to keep a record of that for comments that incite violence or make threats, for use in the future.

  10. IP addresses and submitted e-mail addresses or account information are recorded for every comment, deleted or no. However, it is our policy to not make those records available to third parties. We use the information for moderation only.

    Moderation of comments is a required effort to maintain a quality online community. We take the responsibility very seriously. We never remove comments with an eye toward quashing freedom of expression but rather to preserve quality community dialogue and, occasionally, make sure no laws are broken (though, honestly, that level of moderation is extremely rare here on CDNews). Our goal is to have the widest breadth of ideals and input possible so we’re extremely sensitive to “fringe” viewpoints. That being said, we definitely do not tolerate threats.

    There are plenty of places on the Internet to express radical ideals no matter how violent. We’re all for radical here. But we’re not cool with threats. Find another way to express it.

  11. This was a ridiculous thing to do, of course. Not only was the original intent moronic, the execution was simple-minded. In all my years in the neighborhood, I’ve never actually seen any police officers there, let alone at 3am. I don’t understand why the SPD keeps their name on that empty storefront. What sort of statement were the arsonists trying to make?

    It’s a really good thing for all of us that criminals are so stupid.

  12. you don’t need the drop in site. they are community infiltration points, an outpost from the death star.

    could have been more destroyed imo. but to the bigger question – how to live together without police – how do we build something constructive, etc. – these questions are addressed in my 4-step ebook. it go like this. First, community creates mental map of needs/abilities and must have face 2 face interaction. Second, begin to watch over itself in non-authoritarian way and not cooperate with police or state workers. third, once no longer dependent on imperial resources, break away and don’t pay taxes or rent. Four, generalize everything (strikes, causes, movements, availability of mutual resources), use open spaces & schools for public meetings, inspire more communities to support you / strike for you. You strike for them too. Keep enemies on their toes – never centralize resources like they do. They will not know what to do and collapse.

  13. Good luck with that…. I like my “imperial resources”…. water, nat gas, electricity, sidewalks, roads….someone has to run them and pay for them. I prefer the police to vigilante justice, which is what you’d end up with if you abolished an organized police force…. Cities are too crowded and too socio-economically diverse to expect people to simply be able to agree, work together and abolish all forms of governance. I would suggest you move to somewhere much more remote to live as an anarchist.

  14. police are organized, centralized vigilantes. courts are there to defend them. they are an extension of the courts.

    you don’t need the system to get water, electricity, or sidewalks. each place has different answers. you can catch rainwater. you can generate electricity. there are anarchist neighborhoods. diversity is better – different solutions to the same problem.

    compassion is better than luck. give compassion and solidarity rather than wish luck. “I wish you luck” = you’re on your own. stronger understandings of the social life leads to compassion for others in that space – and a better understanding of what your community is capable of. you cant see or imagine this if you’re alienated from them.

  15. There’s been one modern anarchist community in the world that survived for any period of time (Christiania in Denmark) and, I think, it likely owes it existence to a very liberal, tolerant public and government that allowed it to exist. This country would never tolerate it…. Even at that, it failed eventually. It no longer exists as a truly anarchic enclave – the residents now pay taxes and fees to the city of Copenhagen and are subject to the laws of the greater country.

    Sad as it may sound I have no faith at all in most of my fellow citizens to do the right thing… I think the great majority people are basically selfish and would never contribute enough to a libertarian system (which I think is probably more what you advocate than actual anarchy) to create a functional society. I also have no faith in most of my fellow citizens to mete out justice. Judging by the poor judgment shown by folks like those who choose vandalism, why should I? At least with the police we have, there is a system in place when something goes wrong. Whether you think that system is good enough or is used properly is open to discussion.

  16. But if we organize into a community that watches over itself then we won’t be Anarchists anymore! WE BECOME THE ENEMY! Nobody watches over me, because I’m a badass Anarchist! Chaos is my god, not community.

    Who’s in charge of watching over ourselves? Who’s in charge of fighting the Imperial forces of evil and their Death Stars? Who’s in charge of the top-secret black-clothing warehouse and spray paint stockpiles?

    Your 4-step ebook sounds like a 4-step guide to OPPRESSION and rampant douchebaggery.

    You’re really a cop, right? Come on, be honest. You certainly seem like one.

  17. Something tells me Spiffy has about as much faith in his fellow men as I do… I just have a less colorful way of expressing it :)

  18. Chaos 101 — You and a friend are trapped in cave full of poisonous snakes. Both of you have torches are looking for a way out. Your friend says, “Watch my back!” You stand there and ponder if he is asking you to be in charge of him, or whether he is suggesting that survival could depend on solidarity. If you agree to watch his back, then who is in charge of you, to make sure youre doing a good job? You could stab him in the back. It looks like there’s no higher authority to appeal to except your friend. “OH SH*T!” he yells, “That one almost got me, pay attention!” Is he telling you what to do? Maybe. “OK I got your back, will you get mine?” And so now two people are watching over each other, but no one is in charge. How is that possible you might ask… you might ask… you might ask…

    Where is Christiania? Ohhhh somewhere between hippie tourist destination and experimental art village, which, because it was overcome by force and regulation does not mean it cannot bloom and cannot be an inspiration. How many times was Rome destroyed? But is that really the best example of anarchy you can come up with?

    What is a tendency? Glad you asked – instead of speaking in absolutes like, “anarchy doesn’t work,” it’s more realistic to acknowledge the drives that compete with anarchy. For example, a commune can co-exist with tendencies that want to destroy it — like the Danish government — unless those tendencies overpower it. Think tendencies within tendencies and you’re really getting somewhere.

    What is alienation? That’s what happens to people when society disconnects them from social life. It’s hard to have faith in people you never listen to, never fight with, never work with, and never share your dreams with.

  19. Yes, Christiania is the best I could come up with – because anarchy doesn’t work in modern society…. If you can come up with a working, lasting example of an actual please do tell…

  20. Neighbors taking turns raking leaves out of the storm drains is an example of anarchy. Mutual aid, people realizing that they can only depend on eachother for support. I see people helping people more than I see cops helping people in the CD. I don’t know if you lived here during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 80′s. The cops were helpless to stop it, don’t talk to me about Weed and Seed, none of those programs that paid for that police kiosk on 23rd did a thing. I watched old women chase drug dealers off their street, when people got together and decided they weren’t afraid anymore, they made a block that they wanted to live on. That’s anarchy.

  21. Pdonahue: The example you provided happened within our current social system not in Anarchism. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the attribute of helping each other and forming a bonded community of like minded people can exist in our current “rule” as well. You will find many similar examples on any given day and within any given social class and political leanings. Anarchist: I would think in order for Anarchy to establish itself and survive the participants would have to possess a great deal of wealth and/or power otherwise they would be subject to conquests from groups more powerful. Or perhaps they are under protection of great power and then therefore not truly self governing. A recent Rolling Stone article did a great job at exposing a modern example of effective Anarchy. They presented how financial institutions and the government have established their own ethics and moral codes and how their willingness to help each other has established a very effective, streamlined, independent and mutually beneficial judicial and cost distribution system. So it appears that Anarchy can also be used to enslave. I feel Anarchy exists in all of us. Ultimately, a person’s actions can only be ruled by their own moral code be it deemed fair or ugly by anyone else. You feel it is justified to steal, you will steal no matter how many times you get caught. Only after you determine for yourself that stealing offers you no benefit, will you stop. So without rules reigning in one’s group benefits over another’s how do you establish fairness? Take the example of chasing drug dealers of a street. Does this not imposes one person or a group of people’s dominance, morals and principles over the needs of others. Obviously there is a demand for what the dealer is providing. So others, not just the dealers, are benefiting and wanting the dealer’s business. Both groups are strong. Who is to say who was there first. How do you decide who stays? And in your Chaos 101 example. One person has to watch the other’s back first, leaving one party more vulnerable and also acting under the direction of another. I say the person making a demand of the person to watch “his” back is definitely exhibiting dominance over the other.

  22. I think I used a small case “a” when I spoke of anarchy. The examples I see are all around us, they are anarchist if they don’t rely on authority or state control to accomplish. I think you miss the point entirely when you think Anarchy with a big “A” needs to be established with wealth or protection of a great power; the point is when people use the natural tendency of mutual aid, self rule, autonomy, ect to establish ways of working with other people rather than reliance on authority.
    I read the Rolling Stone article too, the collaboration of wall street and its regulatory agencies is like all other alliances of power, they cooperate to further consolidate their control over our economy. They rely on controlling the levers of authority, managing individuals to work against their own self interest to enrich the few, complete opposite of anarchy.
    Recently I have seen some circle A graffiti in the CD honoring the shooting of cops last summer, extolling the street fighting abilities of black bock anarchists. This is what I like to call Infantile Anarchists, people who think direct democracy is putting a claw hammer through the window of a patrol car. I know these people live in the neighborhood and may participate in other more effective forms of self governance; to that extent I may cooperate with them. Firebombing a police kiosk is not extending the ability to live without authority, only bringing more misery to a corner of the CD that has seen it’s share of violent death and power play.