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Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Story Behind the Occupy Seattle Artist House Raided Last Night by a SWAT Team

Posted by on Sat, Dec 24, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Cammi Morgan with the key anonymously given to occupiers
  • Cammi Morgan with the key anonymously given to occupiers
As Central District News reported, police last night raided a house at 19th and Spruce, arresting three men for charges including "Criminal Trespassing, Property Damage and weapons violations. Other criminal charges may be forthcoming."

According to the SPD's account, the raid was in response to a 911 call that afternoon that alerted them about "multiple male and female subjects who had unlawfully entered and occupied a residence. ...Preliminary investigation indicates that the suspects entered the house and subsequently damaged the interior of the house with graffiti. They also left garbage, open containers of food, and were cooking inside the house on a portable, gas-operated stove."

The house had been bought out of foreclosure in August by Mountaincrest Credit Union, according to CDN. The way the CDN story reads, the house was under renovation and the occupiers were interrupting progress and damaging it—and they'd broken in.

This mural on Fir Street between 14th and 15th was painted yesterday, by Drinkwater, the same Occupy artist who created the Rise & Decolonize banners for the recent port action.
  • Neil Vandervloed
  • This mural on Fir Street between 14th and 15th was painted yesterday, by Drinkwater, the same Occupy artist who created the Rise & Decolonize banners for the recent port action.
But that story doesn't match what I learned in a meeting just now with two of the 10 or 12 occupiers who had been in the house for about two weeks.

They held up the house key. An anonymous "elf" had come by the Occupy Seattle encampment at SCCC a few weeks ago and handed them the key and the address, they said. (A different anonymous donor also gave them a sailboat that they'll begin using and painting in the spring.) Inside, they'd begun painting a forest landscape, and planned a waterfall down the staircase; they titled the house "Water." They denied doing damage or being a haven for any kind of destructive activity and said they didn't know of any complaints from neighbors. Instead, they saw the house as a home base for adding art to the immediate neighborhood. To that end, they'd completed a mural nearby yesterday, on Fir Street between 14th and 15th, on a garage wall offered to them by a resident. Also yesterday, another donor gave them furniture: a futon, bookcases.

Two of their fellow occupiers are still in jail, set to be released on bail this afternoon. The third person arrested was not part of the occupation and never had lived in the house, they say. He, along with about 50 other protesters against the raid, had come to show his support, and when he stepped onto the grass, he was arrested, the occupiers say. He is the one charged with weapons violations, they say: He had a pocket knife in his pants pocket, which he then offered to the police, for which they booked him on the weapons charge.

Another painting made by Drinkwater during the occupation at the house at 19th and Spruce.
  • Neil Vandervloed
  • Another painting made by Drinkwater during the occupation at the house at 19th and Spruce.
The police did not give the squatters 72 hours eviction notice, and when Cammi Morgan, one of the occupiers, asked whether the police had any contact with the property owner, they said no, she says. It is unclear why the scenario at 19th and Spruce is so different from the other house where Occupy Seattle is squatting, at 23rd and Alder—where anarchist squatters have a court date December 28 and have had plenty of notice of removal.

"This house wasn't about anti-police at all," Morgan says. "Our intention was to show that we could give back to the community. It wasn't about having a roof over our heads—we're all pretty resourceful. We were excited to use the house as a pathway to create art for everyone. We'd offered to touch up the fading murals at the food bank at Saint Mary's. I wanted to offer guitar lessons at the boys and girls club near there."

Neil Vandervloed, creator of the cartoon hand signs that have been the most visible graphic for Occupy Seattle, was bringing community dinners cooked by his wife to the house each night.

"I'm really disappointed," Vandervloed said. "Especially this type of reaction. There were something like 13 cop cars and 30 cops there, with assault rifles, shotguns, and handguns out and drawn—to arrest two artists on Christmas Eve. The neighbors made us hot coffee and stood in solidarity with us as the police raided."

 

Comments (94) RSS

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1
Seattle cops: doing their best, every day, to uphold their abusive reputations. Heartwarming.
Posted by sahara29 on December 24, 2011 at 2:33 PM · Report this
2
Thanks, Jen.
Posted by bdurruti on December 24, 2011 at 2:56 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 3
"Our intention was to show that we could give back to the community. " To create art of everyone....WAIT! What makes you think we want your art? How about you ask us first if it's for us? Huh? It's shocking to me that some people think they can just take over a house, that DOES NOT belong to them. Would they be so casual if some one took over their house with out asking? No No this is not the America I want. If the 99% are going to act like the pompous 1% (you don't need money to be an ass) I don't support them. Taking other's property, for any reason, is not the America any one needs.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on December 24, 2011 at 3:07 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 4
So this is the SPD: Showing utterly no self-awareness about its actions, not even a week after the harsh DOJ report.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on December 24, 2011 at 3:10 PM · Report this
5
I want to add on to my own comment about the the space not being purely about having a roof over our heads. This house (like many others) sat abandoned for years while thousands of people with beautiful hearts and minds and creative gifts are left to freeze, get sick, and be overlooked on the streets.
Posted by freemindsoul on December 24, 2011 at 3:11 PM · Report this
6
The story doesn't match with the Occupiers? I'm outraged!
Posted by Jennifer Fox's fetus on December 24, 2011 at 3:17 PM · Report this
7
Wait, wait, wait.

They were given a key and an address by an anonymous benefactor, and they somehow think that entitles them to enter and deface the property?

Our Occupy "movement" is a fucking joke!
Posted by Not How It Works on December 24, 2011 at 3:22 PM · Report this
8
Go back in the house. I heard the boards were ripped off the front door on Facebook. The police illegally evicted you all and the owner elf gave you the key so go back in there with people you like and trust. Never open the door to the police, ever, make sure everyone knows that if you go back in. Seriously, you should do that because most people in the neighborhood, regardless of what the trolls say, is on your side given what you all have done. No, for real, you guys should go back. At least give it another look. Fuck the SPD. Long live Water!

-a guy who knows an elf
Posted by bdurruti on December 24, 2011 at 3:22 PM · Report this
9
So I guess we're supposed to abandoned private property rights now? Everything for everyone?

Only 0.1% of America supports you. The rest of the 99% tells you to fuck off.

Btw did the little elf look like Jennifer Fox's mystery fetus?
Posted by Lets make up a story for Slog! on December 24, 2011 at 3:23 PM · Report this
10
BTW, off duty and on duty cops regularly troll anything related to occupy or anarchism, so don't listen to this crap. Did I mention you should go back in and that the police acted illegally? Love, a guy who met an elf once.
Posted by bdurruti on December 24, 2011 at 3:24 PM · Report this
11
All you have to do is read the post on the Puget Sound Anarchist website on how to supposedly occupy a house. It instructs squatters to get a cheap deadbolt at the hardware store and change the locks because the anarchists believe that if you have a key, you're not burglarizing the house. The logic just baffles. So if I go to OS's Cammi (pictured above) and give her the key to just anyone's house, it's now hers? Grow up. Get a job and stop DESTROYING what was a great movement with your entitlement antics. Btw, why are you only trying t "occupy" in neighborhoods with a "dont call the cops" policy? Go Occupy in Ballard, or Madison Park, or Greenlake if you dare. Lastly, does anyone else hear the me me me tone? "I wanted this house so I took it. I value graffiti as art, so I was going to share my wonderful art with the neighborhood. I think I'm an awesome guitar player, so I'm going to offer free lessons in the area without a criminal background check, to children, because you know, being a homeless, squatter and thief makes me someone you should all be so happy to have next door! Behold my fabulousness!"
Posted by Resourceful? Get a job then. on December 24, 2011 at 3:24 PM · Report this
12
The house was bought by a Credit Union. Aren't the Occupy folks telling us all the Credit Unions are God and Banks are Satan? Now you're shitting on an investment bought by a Credit Union? Make up your minds!
Posted by Delia on December 24, 2011 at 3:28 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 13
I smell a lawsuit.

Regardless of ownership. If people were residing in the house and there was not probable cause, such as immediate evidence of breaking and entering or another crime, the police would need a warrant to enter.

In order to evict the occupants of a structure the owner would need to go through the formal eviction process, like what is happening at the Immortal Jellyfish house on 23rd and Alder.

However a few steps must be taken to establish residence, like mail being sent in your name, utility bills, coming and going through the front door (however while it is illegal to break in, it is not illegal to enter through previous vandalism, basically act like anyone else who lives in a house etc.

This seems like a very heavy handed police response, especially with some of the other crap that happens in the neighborhood. In fact there is a crack house by my workplace that the cops would not enter because they said they needed the permission of the owner.

Squatters or not like all Americans they are entitled to equal protection under the law, which includes not having AR15 wielding police kick in you door in the middle of the night without a warrant.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on December 24, 2011 at 3:59 PM · Report this
14
The credit union no doubt has an agreement with SPD preauthorizing them to take "proactive" action. No notice necessary. Many public buildings have such arrangements. Small property holders often do not. That's the difference between Spruce and Alder.

Do your research kids.
Posted by artful_bodger on December 24, 2011 at 4:01 PM · Report this
15
I was there last night. This sounds accurate. The CDN story and Jonah's on Publicola both read like the reporters simply repeated what the police told them.
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on December 24, 2011 at 4:02 PM · Report this
16
" off duty and on duty cops regularly troll anything related to occupy or anarchism"

Don't flatter yourself.
Posted by Sugartit on December 24, 2011 at 4:08 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 17
Occupy. We got a burn notice on you. You're blacklisted.

Try and pick up the pieces with Fiona and Sam.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on December 24, 2011 at 4:23 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 18
@13
In order to evict the occupants of a structure the owner would need to go through the formal eviction process, like what is happening at the Immortal Jellyfish house on 23rd and Alder.


As always, too much bullshit on the internet. If people occupy my house--or any privately held house--and don't have a legal right to be there (tenant contract)--you don't need any eviction process. If some guy takes up residence in my yard, shed or garage? Please, I call the cops and they bust him out on trespassing on the spot if he doesn't leave. There is no right to squat or trespass. If you have permission, and are a tenant--yes, eviction process.

The only questions here are:

1. Did the person who owns the house or has the legal right to allow someone to live there allow the Occupiers in as a guest?

If "yes", they have every right to be there UNTIL that person asks them to leave, or per the terms of their contract, if there is one.

If "no", whomever gave them the keys fucked up, and they were straight up trespassing and could be arrested on the spot.

2. Did that person ask the police to kick them out?

If "yes", SPD are legally fine.

If "no", Seattle Police really fucked up and violated people's Constitutional rights. Only the owner/person with those rights can do this.

That's what matters.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on December 24, 2011 at 4:28 PM · Report this
19
enter the address into King County Department of Assessments. According to the site, this house that has been vacant since 2008 is not owned by a credit union. Owners must be called before police enter the house. apparently kids can do research while others simply repeat what they hear. wake up brothers and sisters.
Posted by eARTh on December 24, 2011 at 4:30 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 20
And yes, Jen, I sort of wish this had been ran down by you and the Stranger. Who called the cops? Who gave them the key? What's the house address? What do property records say (simple Google/County search)? Did you call the realtor if the house is on sale to see if the owner gave their OK (simple Google search again).

I'm all for the Occupy movement, but squatting in private homes is a different can of worms. Lots of these houses in various stages of un-occupied ownership are in various phases of sales. There's one in the city, for example, that my family is in the process of buying to live in. It looks vacant. If the Occupiers went in there and fucked up the house or even modified anything, I'd be furious and demanding that the realtors call SPD to kick them out. Your good natured help might be costing some poor incoming future homeowner thousands of dollars in clean up, flooring, painting, whatever else.

Private houses are a whole other can of worms from public spaces.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on December 24, 2011 at 4:32 PM · Report this
21
@20 Fuck you. Everything for everyone!! 99% of Americans agree! Especially the artists!
Posted by Famished Artist on December 24, 2011 at 4:38 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 22
@19 and since it's so hard to just list the address:

307 23rd avenue, seattle, WA 98122

Here is the King County records page: http://info.kingcounty.gov/Assessor/eRea…

More records: http://info.kingcounty.gov/Assessor/eRea…

Walter Lewis (whomever that is) or Chase Bank (yes, I know, fuck them) are the only ones who can give permission to move in there.

What part of the site says it's been vacant since 2008?

My point stands, though -- just because something is bank owned doesn't mean it's a candidate for Occupation, because you could be just fucking a little guy in the process. My hopefully future house is unoccupied and has been since summer, but if Occupy Seattle found it, they may think, "Hey this would be a great base for people to stay between protests," and they may modify it. Well, sucks for me, deep in the 99% then. The damn thing aside from a changed kitchen floor was move in ready. Now I get to undo anything the Occupiers did!

Do we know Walter Lewis is taking a bath on this house? Does he stand to lose nothing, or to lose something from this? Is he OK with it? The point is that even if it's occupied, it's not like it's hard to track down the actual former/current owner to see if they may be screwed somehow by the occupation. Some people may not be totally foreclosed or underwater, but the possible damage/modifications by occupation could still cost them.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on December 24, 2011 at 4:41 PM · Report this
Ian Awesome 23
Thanks, Jen. It was really ludicrous how many cops showed up for so few people. My question was: were all those resources really needed? On a Friday night?
Posted by Ian Awesome http://oneangryqueer.blogspot.com on December 24, 2011 at 4:44 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 24
@23 did the homeowner call the police for trespassing?
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on December 24, 2011 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 25
I smell a lawsuit.

Regardless of ownership. If people were residing in the house and there was not probable cause, such as immediate evidence of breaking and entering or another crime, the police would need a warrant to enter.

In order to evict the occupants of a structure the owner would need to go through the formal eviction process, like what is happening at the Immortal Jellyfish house on 23rd and Alder.

However a few steps must be taken to establish residence, like mail being sent in your name, utility bills, coming and going through the front door (however while it is illegal to break in, it is not illegal to enter through previous vandalism, basically act like anyone else who lives in a house etc.

This seems like a very heavy handed police response, especially with some of the other crap that happens in the neighborhood. In fact there is a crack house by my workplace that the cops would not enter because they said they needed the permission of the owner.

Squatters or not like all Americans they are entitled to equal protection under the law, which includes not having AR15 wielding police kick in you door in the middle of the night without a warrant.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on December 24, 2011 at 4:45 PM · Report this
26
I like some of the positions the Occupy movement holds, but most of the way they handle themselves, particularly related to their goofy approach to squatting, makes them look like dumb, spoiled kids - and, yes, many of them are. I've been curious about the average age of protestors; I'm guessing it's 23 or under. It REALLY shows.

They "planned a waterfall down the staircase" - man, grow up. I haven't visited the place at 23rd and Alder in a while but, damn, talk about an eyesore. And the name "Immortal Jellyfish" - yeah, you dolts really seem like a lot who should be taken seriously.

I really like what the other poster said about the "art" you've decided to provide the neighborhood. Did you take a poll to see how the surrounding blocks feel about it? Also, sorry to burst your bubble but it's not very good.
Posted by sqo on December 24, 2011 at 4:45 PM · Report this
27
@19, but King County parcel records actually do show it's owned by the credit union. Here:
http://info.kingcounty.gov/Assessor/eRea…

And thanks for referring us to look on Publicola, Phil. Jonah's story does have some other detail, doesn't it? I look forward to learning whether it turns out to be as inaccurate as you say. Pretty scandalous if so, it's very inflammatory:
Another man read quotes from the Department of Justice’s report on the Seattle Police Department—which says officers frequently misuse force—while another man suggested that ”since we outnumber them, how about we make a citizens’ arrest” of the police officers at the scene.
Several protesters chanted “free Chris Monfort,”—referring to the man accused of fatally shooting one Seattle police officer and wounding another less than a mile away from the scene of Friday’s protest—before shifting to “pigs will fall, people will rise.”
Another protester yelled back at the group, “police are people, too.”
During the back-and-forth, a woman walked out into her yard behind protesters and grumbled, “I’ve got two kids sleeping. This isn’t downtown Seattle” before she went back into her home.
http://publicola.com/2011/12/24/police-a…
Posted by gloomy gus on December 24, 2011 at 4:46 PM · Report this
28
no no. wrong house. wrong address. 1909 Spruce.
Posted by eARTh on December 24, 2011 at 4:49 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 29
This is the problem where all these sites on news never actually fill out all the details. All of you are guilty -- PI, Times, CDN, Publicola, Slog. Why not just SAY THE ADDRESS? We've got like 3-4 now in these comments of which house it is, from guesswork and various sources.

Fucking baffling. Journalism 101.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on December 24, 2011 at 4:55 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 30
woops double post

@18 If people occupy my house--or any privately held house--and don't have a legal right to be there (tenant contract)--you don't need any eviction process.

Yes if you are occupying the residence, someone ca nnot live in your shed, also if you were the owner you could hire private security to evict the tenants or have the police kick people out if they had not established residency.

Squatting is leagal, the legal term is adverse posession and it applies in WA state as follows:
In Washington State, the elements that must be met to have a claim of adverse possession are as followes:

The possession must be..........

1. Exclusive. Only you, or people authorized by you, can have possession of the land in question for the required period of possession (which is 10 years). Courts have ruled that the possession does not have to be absolutely exclusive, so you will want to discuss your particular situation with an attorney (see below).

2. Actual and uninterrupted. That means that you actually have possession and control over the land in question, and that possession is not interrupted by an adversary.

3. Open and notorious. An adversary must be aware that his land is being taken. But you don't have to write the landowner, or anything like that. Your possession must be in a manner that is overt, not covert.

4. Hostile. That means that you treat the land in question as your own, and defend it against the world. Adverse possession is not created when you have the permission of the landowner to use his land (so a long-term tenant cannot claim adverse possession).

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_la…

Regardless of permission of the owner The police would need a warrant to enter as rights to entry are held by the occupant not the owner rental contract or not. Like how a landlord can not enter your apartment without permission. Shit even crack houses tend to have a warrant issued before they are raided.

If SPD did not seek a warrant before this raid the occupants rights were violated.
More...
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on December 24, 2011 at 4:55 PM · Report this
31
@28, I see my mistake - I was going by the address posted at Central District News - I hadn't seen another one. Thanks.
http://www.centraldistrictnews.com/2011/…
Posted by gloomy gus on December 24, 2011 at 4:56 PM · Report this
32
from someone who is connected to the house. I can say with 100% certainty....1909 Spruce Street.
Posted by eARTh on December 24, 2011 at 4:56 PM · Report this
33
no worries. misinformation is what most mainstream news circuits do best.
Posted by eARTh on December 24, 2011 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 34
@25
Regardless of ownership. If people were residing in the house and there was not probable cause, such as immediate evidence of breaking and entering or another crime, the police would need a warrant to enter.


Wrong. All it takes is a realtor or annoyed neighbor calling in. Bang, there's your probable cause. And there is no "regardless of ownership". Property law is extremely potent. If some guy camps or occupies my or your yard, they have zero claim or right to it.

In order to evict the occupants of a structure the owner would need to go through the formal eviction process, like what is happening at the Immortal Jellyfish house on 23rd and Alder.


This is pure bullshit. Go camp someone's detached garage without their permission. Let us know how long it takes the cuffs to come on when you don't leave and they call the cops to report an intruder.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on December 24, 2011 at 4:58 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 35
You know, even if the cops were right to evict the occupiers/squatters, do they really need to send in a whole squad armed with assault rifles drawn? Really?

Gee, I can't imagine where the DOJ got the idea that Seattle police use excessive force.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on December 24, 2011 at 4:58 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 36
@30
Regardless of permission of the owner The police would need a warrant to enter as rights to entry are held by the occupant not the owner rental contract or not. Like how a landlord can not enter your apartment without permission. Shit even crack houses tend to have a warrant issued before they are raided.


Crack houses get warrants as a legal CYA and because ownership is often muddled; they're derelict houses most often.

Seriously, go break into someone's fucking garage and camp out while they're on vacation, or have moved into another house or something. When they return and find you and call 911, I can guarantee you 101% that SPD will arrest you, cuff you, book you on trespassing if the homeowners say you're trespassing, and haul you and your shit out of that garage, and you'll have 0.00% legal recourse in the matter.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on December 24, 2011 at 5:02 PM · Report this
37
"It's shocking to me that some people think they can just take over a house, that DOES NOT belong to them." -posted above.

Yes, it IS SHOCKING....and the banks do it every Friday on the courthouse steps. They have NO AUTHORITY ON TITLE and they are literally stealing homes from homeowners without recourse.

You people are shocked by Occupiers doing the same thing? Pull your heads out.
Posted by GuyFawkesSEA on December 24, 2011 at 5:04 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 38
@37 we're almost all on your side and the occupiers, pull your own head out of your ass. There is a difference between occupying public assets and private ones, and the idiot ideas flying widely here in these comments. Not every foreclosed property, by virtue of it being foreclosed, has cleared the prior owners from financial commitments to it. The "work" done by the occupiers may STILL BE DOING HARM to the former owners. Get THEIR permission.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on December 24, 2011 at 5:09 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 39
@36

Why do you refuse to abide the laws outlined both by the RCW and the Constitution of the United states

As I already stated breaking into the garage of an occupied residence is not the same and taking up residence in a VACANT house. Also a neighbor cannot institute a police raid based on being annoyed, they could have the police drive by and knock on the door, like for a noise complaint, but the police cannot enter the residence. The people residing there must be formally evicted just like if they were tenants who quit paying rent.

http://www.ehow.com/how_8478926_evict-sq…

Even with the garage example there could still be some issues evicting the residents as the linked article explains
http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2009/ap…
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on December 24, 2011 at 5:13 PM · Report this
40
@33 fair enough, but it was a bulletin board post at a community newspaper, not exactly MSM.
Posted by gloomy gus on December 24, 2011 at 5:13 PM · Report this
41
@37 Guy Fawkes was a catholic absolutist, by the way, who wanted to reimpose Vatican rule over England and its rebellious Protestants. Glad to see you oppose self determination and support the imposition of central authority from Rome.

You people are stupid beyond belief.
Posted by Sugartit on December 24, 2011 at 5:15 PM · Report this
42
"if they were tenants who quit paying rent."

These are the same morons who walk down Pike St yelling "everything for everyone". Paying 'rent' is for squares.
Posted by Sugartit on December 24, 2011 at 5:18 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 43
@39 From the spokesman article:

The police say the case falls under the Landlord-Tenant Act, because people moved into the shop at the invitation of Peggy Bain’s son, and a court order is needed for an eviction. The Bains’ attorney says it’s a case of trespassing or burglary – no lease was ever considered, no rent paid, no permission of any kind granted by the property owners – and that police should have moved the people out.


As usual, things are never so clear cut. I'm as fucking liberal as people can be 99% of the time, but my point stands: go break into someone's garage as a stranger, with no permission implied or otherwise, when they're on vacation. If the neighbors call it in as a break in, it's a break in. If I call it in when I come home and find your camping gear in my garage, it's a break in and jail. If I or someone in my family gives implied permission? Whole can of worms open and it's a civil matter then.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on December 24, 2011 at 5:20 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 44
I'm done arguing. You're simply wrong. By this dipshit logic police couldn't respond to/enter my home when I'm vacation to answer a burglary report, even if the neighbors say "Those people don't live there", in regards to the burglars.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on December 24, 2011 at 5:22 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 45
@42
As a patriotic, gun toting American who supports capitalism, I am opposed to most of what occupy believes in, however they still have rights.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on December 24, 2011 at 5:23 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 46
@44
You can't burglarize a vacant empty house and the definition for burglary entails intent to commit a crime against the persons or property that reside there. You cannot charge someone for trespassing without first contacting the owner to see if the person is not supposed to be there. Typical dipshit liberal.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on December 24, 2011 at 5:29 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 47
@46, whatever, Merry Christmas. if someone with standing asked the cops to remove them (probably the attached realty company) it's a clean, legal removal of trespassers with no legal right to be there.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on December 24, 2011 at 5:32 PM · Report this
48
" the Rise & Decolonize banners"

BTW how do we 'decolonize' Seattle? Do I have to give my house keys to the next drunk Indian I see and catch a flight back to Dublin?

Can someone explain?
Posted by Sugartit on December 24, 2011 at 5:34 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 49
The REAL Address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue! Now can we all just have some EggNog and Rum (Hold the Nog I'm on a diet).
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on December 24, 2011 at 6:21 PM · Report this
50
What jerks ...... it just keeps getting worse and worse. I am so angry right now.
I'm sorry your having to deal with this on Christmas Eve.
Solidarity from Oakland and Merry Christmas XoXo
Posted by Kimid on December 24, 2011 at 6:51 PM · Report this
raku 51
Meanwhile, I was on E Madison last night when tweets starting popping up about the raid. I saw two drunk drivers almost hit pedestrians, one of them running a red light - same street where 3 pedestrians were injured in the past week. No police in sight all night - obviously many things are much more important to SPD than keeping people safe.
Posted by raku on December 24, 2011 at 7:01 PM · Report this
Kinison 52
Im sorry, but it sure didnt sound like any of these people had the right to live there, yet alone paint murals which will no doubt get painted over. Cops were called, people got arrested, whats the big fucking deal here? Its not like this was a family of 8 getting evicted here.
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on December 24, 2011 at 7:37 PM · Report this
53
Slightly off subject, anyone notice parking enforcement activity increasing the last few days?
Posted by cracked on December 24, 2011 at 8:35 PM · Report this
54
Y'all going on and on about stealing someone's rotting years-vacant property have your priorities all fucked up. You seriously telling me you'd rather some people live out on the street than take refuge in a shelter that's not being used?

You think property is more important than human life, point blank. You are sick.
Posted by thinkharder on December 24, 2011 at 9:29 PM · Report this
55
"Ian Awesome" It is not up to you to determine how many cops are appropriate to send to any event, especially an Occupy Seattle fiasco. All one has to do is look at the Chase Bank protest video, where Occupy Seattle members are clearly assaulting police, to know that it's LIKELY there will be violent resistance. The cops are not obligated to risk injury to their persons if they have the staff for massive back up support. More power to them. Those of us who have been in Seattle more than your 5 minutes know what it's like when cops get murdered here. Cop hater that you are, you would be unaware that the LEA murders that occurred not long ago were a gash in the heart of this city as evidenced by the thousands who turned out to say thank you and mourn, filled the streets enroute to the funerals, etc. Who are YOU, Ian from podunk wherever, to determine what is or is not an appropriate number of back up officers responding when your group has already shown that (a) they care nothing about OWS and (b) they care only about grandstanding, fighting the police, and creating bullshit reasons to sue. You're nothing more than a scam artist capitalist as evidenced by your frequent declarations about lawsuits. You've said you are going to sue for your arrest in DC. You've said you're going to help sue for the mystery fetus. Sue, sue, sue. The whole "movement" is just a money maker for you. How does that make you anything by a capitalist and a scammer? Up OWS. Boo to the Ian litigious let's be so outrageous (but really boring) cult. Zzzzzz.
Posted by Dramatic AND Boring on December 24, 2011 at 9:34 PM · Report this
56
Y'all going on and on about stealing someone's rotting years-vacant property have your priorities all fucked up. You seriously telling me you'd rather some people live out on the street than take refuge in a shelter that's not being used?

You think property is more important than human life, point blank. You are sick.
Posted by thinkharder on December 24, 2011 at 9:42 PM · Report this
57
I say, could someone point me to the bits of OWS history that suggest police departments need only send in a scant handful of officers to remove protesters from a particular bit of property?

I might be reading the wrong news reports, but my impression is that our modern radicals aren't entirely agreed on this strategy of meekly surrendering en masse whenever two beat cops and a meter maid show up and politely ask everyone to vacate an Occupied space.
Posted by robotslave on December 24, 2011 at 10:37 PM · Report this
58
@57 My friend! Merry Night Before Christmas! And in reference to #occupyseattle. At recent GAs the organization has repeatedly stated violence is always an option for the protestors. This is in keeping with the idea of a "diversity of tactics".

Since #os has decided they reserve the right to use violence to further their ends, I understand the PD sending in whatever forces they feel necessary to ensure their own safety.

Posted by Corpulace on December 24, 2011 at 10:56 PM · Report this
59
It seems like most of the posters in this thread (and on the SLOG in general) have a very poor understanding of Squaters' Rights Laws. If this ends up going to any kind of higher-level court, pretty much any and all charges against the squatters will be overturned. PLEASE do your reading on this stuff before starting to attack well-meaning (and in this case pretty well-informed) activists. I'm sorry they're not doing things exactly how you want... but perhaps many of you will change your tunes after YOU LOSE YOUR HOUSES.
Posted by Dr.Devo on December 24, 2011 at 11:25 PM · Report this
60
All I want from Santa is more so-so, inconsequential public art. GIVE IT TO ME NOW.
Posted by squattrsrdumb on December 25, 2011 at 12:18 AM · Report this
61
@59 So show us the links for "Squaters' Rights Law"
from the WA state code please? A link in the RCW? They must be in our code somewhere since you capitalized them!
Posted by Squaters' Rights Law on December 25, 2011 at 2:32 AM · Report this
Amoroarboles 62
Are they trying to up the US Dept of Justice's recent investigation which yielded a rating of one in five unconstitutional arrests by the SPD?
Posted by Amoroarboles on December 25, 2011 at 3:57 AM · Report this
63
I like how people are going "Why do they think they can just take over a house?" Um, because it'd been given to them...?
Posted by Pete2734 on December 25, 2011 at 5:11 AM · Report this
64
" Um, because it'd been given to them...?"

By whom? An elf? Jennifer Fox's imaginary fetus friend? Santa Claus?
Posted by Sugartit on December 25, 2011 at 6:21 AM · Report this
65
@59

Add me to the list of people interested in knowing which laws you've got in mind that would compel a judge to throw out trespassing charges against squatters.

I'm guessing this "Squatters Rights Law" is a bit of an intellectual figment cobbled together from obsolete homesteading laws from the 1800s plus unusual interpretations of the constitution.

We saw this sort of legal "expertise" in the claims of some Occupiers that permanent camping on public land is "constitutionally protected speech," or that clearing an ad-hoc, non-permitted crowd out of an intersection is a violation of the right to peaceably assemble.

There's a long history of Anarchists pursuing both squatting and squatters' rights. I'm sure there are well-established law-flavored arguments within that movement, but I think we'll find they don't square too well with current statute, or court precedent, at least in the US.
Posted by robotslave on December 25, 2011 at 9:35 AM · Report this
Posted by iamkatia on December 25, 2011 at 9:38 AM · Report this
67
What does this do to advance the goals of Occupy Wall Street?
Posted by doceb on December 25, 2011 at 1:20 PM · Report this
68
@67 When white, middle class 'artists' get free shit, the Revolution has been won!
Posted by Peoples Front of Judea on December 25, 2011 at 1:51 PM · Report this
69
" one in five unconstitutional arrests by the SPD?"

Shame this isn't one of those cases eh? What does a middle class college kid have to do to get 'oppressed' in Seattle? Ride a bike? Be an anarchist? Act like a wigga?
Posted by Help, I'm being oppressed! on December 25, 2011 at 1:55 PM · Report this
70 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
Y.F. Redux 71
They didn't break into or take over this house. Someone gave them keys to it and told them they could use it. The police raid, even if they were squatting, sounds ridiculously over-the-top. A swat team to evict hippie artists? pfft! Macho bullshit!
Posted by Y.F. Redux on December 25, 2011 at 2:46 PM · Report this
72
@71

You've almost got it-- an anonymous "elf" gave them a key, which they then used to break in and take over the house.

I think some people are terribly confused by the fact that entry was gained with a magical christmas key, instead of a sledgehammer. A copy of an emergency key held by a friend or neighbor of a former occupant is a quite a bit less than a document that allows you to lawfully move into an empty home.
Posted by robotslave on December 25, 2011 at 3:10 PM · Report this
73
@71 Take over my property, I hope they drag your stealing, dumb, privileged, whinny white asses out by your earlobes and publicly spank you.

But you're artists, you're special. Hell, it almost makes you black and oppressed!
Posted by Sugartit on December 25, 2011 at 3:19 PM · Report this
74
@72 Documents, contracts, papers are what fascists and racists use to keep the People down! All we need are keys and it's ours!
Posted by Fight the Power! on December 25, 2011 at 3:24 PM · Report this
Rich Jensen 75
I wonder whether double-time holiday pay might have influenced the decision to raid on Christmas Eve?
Posted by Rich Jensen http://bit.ly/donateSAWANT on December 25, 2011 at 8:38 PM · Report this
76
I wonder what the ownership status of the property actually was. For many foreclosures, ownership can't be established, since the property title was transferred into MERS' name and then the loan was transferred multiple times behind the scenes by lenders. The result is no valid chain of assignments for the loan.. nothing linking the loan to the property that will stand up in court.

This could have been staged to create a precedent-setting court case.
Posted by R Foreman on December 25, 2011 at 8:50 PM · Report this
77
Why is squatters' rights and adverse possession even mentioned here? Were they occupying the house continualy for at least 7 years, and paying taxes on it? No? Then they're not eligible for adverse possession.

The cops may have been a little heavy-handed, but the moral of the story is don't just take a key anonymously donated to you as an indication that the owner has given permission to enter their house. If you're occupying as some sort of protest, or guerilla art project, then be ready for the legal repercussions.
Posted by madcap on December 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM · Report this
78
@76, to answer that, first off it appears the accurate address is the one @32 listed, 1909 E Spruce. Using the same King County Parcel Lookup shows it has been owned for ages by a man and woman who live in Renton. Taxes late this quarter, but paid up otherwise. The Recorder's Office website not only shows no foreclosures, it shows no mortgages at all. This suggests the couple own it free and clear. Back in the early 90s they transferred it from a company name for themselves to owning it as individuals. I wonder if at some point they were using it for a rental property.
http://info.kingcounty.gov/Assessor/eRea…

https://payments.kingcounty.gov/metrokc.…

As for its status as abandoned vs. "under remodeling" or whatnot, the DPD website shows no permits for any remodeling for that address. In fact, the most recent entry DPD has for that address is a 2009 resolved complaint about a couple doors being "open to entry" at what is described as this "vacant building". 
http://web1.seattle.gov/DPD/permitstatus…

Best I can tell, it's a long-vacant property an old couple in Renton have owned free and clear for a long, long time. It's possible they are Occupy-supporting oldsters like Dorli Rainey, and one of them slipped the key to an Occupier. But it seems pretty likely one of their kids (or even grandkids) had an extra key made for a lark, and when a neighbor called to say there were squatters the owners called the cops and then gave their kid a Christmas yelling.
More...
Posted by gloomy gus on December 25, 2011 at 10:32 PM · Report this
79
This smacks of times and happenings long ago - the police being the puppets of the evil that brought this country to its knees, and with very little malice on their parts but spurned by the same dark forces that reared their ugly faces back then, as well...
Posted by Duendeu4ea on December 26, 2011 at 3:56 AM · Report this
80
Ah yes, the paint brush is mightier than the gun. If that had been tea baggers with high powered rifles the cops wouldn't have raided. I see some didn't read that part where they actually had the key to the building. If you don't like their art don't look at it. Oh wait, I'm sorry, that was a tea bagger making those comments. They don't HAVE to make any sense.
Posted by Solurius on December 26, 2011 at 7:54 AM · Report this
81
@80

I don't think you get it at all. You definitely don't understand keys-- they don't mystically confer the right to enter a building. And:

Teabaggers are property rights fetishists. They'd never squat an empty home as a protest. But if they did, you can bet your boots the cops would raid it, no matter how many rifles they had in there with them.

In fact, if you had any interest in events outside your information containment sphere, you'd know that there's no shortage of examples in recent history of feds and cops raiding heavily-armed right-wing nutjobs.
Posted by robotslave on December 26, 2011 at 8:31 AM · Report this
82
SPD fascism is getting old. Has someone let them know that the DOJ is onto their cute little games?
Posted by suddenlyorcas on December 26, 2011 at 9:29 AM · Report this
Geraldo Riviera 83
Are these the same people that just sprayed:

"Rise Up and Take Back What They Stole From You"

at Spruce Park on 20th and Spruce? I mean, we're entering the Fox News Israeli fetish zone in the protection of historically Jewish property. Where do you want the African Americans, non-Jewish whites, Latinos, Ethiopians, Buddhists etc to go? Kent? Don't you want to try to get to know me and my family first? Does it make your life easier to view the world in black and white (or Jewish and non-Jewish)?

We're not rich. We barely get by. We give our time and money to our community. We've known our neighbors for decades. Why do you hate us?

Posted by Geraldo Riviera on December 26, 2011 at 9:31 AM · Report this
84
Hopefully SPD will just start shooting these cockroaches.
Posted by sonder on December 26, 2011 at 10:56 AM · Report this
85
Doesn't Cammi just look like the stereotypical spoiled white girl; trendy gloves, black turtle neck, trendy cafe on cap Hill filled with other white hipsters. All she's missing is the beret and Che Guevara pin.

So tell me again, how is this moron being 'oppressed'?
Posted by Flaky white girls against oppression of flaky white girls! on December 26, 2011 at 12:09 PM · Report this
ryjan 86
she looks like the future owner of some gross dreadlocks.
Posted by ryjan on December 26, 2011 at 1:54 PM · Report this
Agent Michael Scarn 87
This story makes the occupiers seem as blindly naive as the SPD is heavy-handed.
Posted by Agent Michael Scarn http://twitter.com/Jukebox_Hobo on December 26, 2011 at 3:11 PM · Report this
88
#85

Don't you understand she's fighting for YOU? Being 24, she TOTALLY understands the complicated geopolitical and economic nuances of a multicultural global economy now because her community college teacher explained it to her. You just don't 'get' it.

SHE is stepping up to take direct action in your name. You are just ungrateful because you can't see that she's effecting WORLDWIDE CHANGE with poster paint murals and ALMOST coming close to being totes arrested that one time before she left to make sure the camp was okay.

Her boyfriend John aka 'whiteleaf' agrees that they have 'won a victory' because people are TALKING ABOUT IT NOW. Despite the fact we have all been talking about it for the last year...NOW we are TALKING ABOUT IT, man. Don't you get it? Can't you see how important token rebellious action completely peripheral to the real current of social and economic change in this country is? Come on man go outside and do something USELESS!
Posted by sonder on December 26, 2011 at 3:16 PM · Report this
AsraiyaOnFire 89
@81 what else would being given a key and an address imply if not permission to enter? What makes it suspicious is that it was given by an anonymous donor. If he/she did not intend to grant permission to enter by the gesture what did they intend to come out of it? A set up? Either they did or didn't have the authority. Who reported the trespassing? Anonymous caller or the owners? Something is fishy about this story and it's not the part about what legal rights they had to occupy the property...
Posted by AsraiyaOnFire http://www.heartsinspyre.com on December 29, 2011 at 3:50 PM · Report this
90
Another example of top-shelf journalism from The Stranger. I like how the occupiers were protesting the gentrification of the Central District and Cap Hill (which happened like 10+ years ago, BTW) just a couple weeks ago, and now they decided to move in. Nothing says gentrification like a bunch of white hippies moving-or squatting- into the neighborhood.
Posted by stet on December 31, 2011 at 11:46 PM · Report this
91
Did anybody get the right story i do i was there the whole time.. first the address is 1909 spruce.. no banks was involved that was 1913 spruce.. by looking in washington state laws.. police officers didt say that the swat team was arriving around 10:30 that night.. the police were there earlier... they did break some laws when on of the people ask if they could call her lawyer "they said that she couldn't and threated to arrest her for not giving her name.. and lawyers were after she got arrested..they also said the next time they come ack they were going to bust the door down and also go though the windows and break the backdoor and arrest people that were in the house.. they also said that they had contact with the owners..and they got ok to do that... somehow they never got hold of the owners in court documents.. and they were faselify about alot of things.. so understand that.. i was there the whole time..remember the police will faselify to get permission to have just cause to enter... they did all this illegally.. and look getting double time tax paying money well spent.. the officer in charge was Lt. long so if you need to understand what really happened.. yeah.. for arresting artisstwith such a force and lieing about it ..
Posted by uncle@ waterhouse 1909 on January 2, 2012 at 12:28 AM · Report this
92
Did anybody got the right story??? really first of all i work 40 to 50 hours a week yes i work yes i did stay there...second the police did do something wrong they said that they did get hold of the owners.. but that was false.they never got hold of them in court records. when they ask for our id's one of us said let me call my lawyer and they said the she could not.." you can call after the fact after i arrest you".. you can call your lawyer.. hmmm that polce officers falsefied that...you can call during and after you get arrested.!!before that the police officer put his foot in the door after she said i was going to close the door.. third they threated that next time we are going to knock down the door and arrest everyone..going though the windows come though the basement. after two hours they came back and shined the lights on for at least two hours.. they told use that swat team was coming.. around 10:30 that night.they never got a""" search warrant from the court''..to enter the house.. and on christmas eve getting double time... taxpayer money well spent..not really???the person in charge LT.Long was in charge.. arresting two artist for crimmal tesspassing after.. not having the right documents.. from the court.illegally. and use of swat team was excessive force.. for two artist???really needing that force..
so looking at the washington law on how to get people out a place.. 72 hour evictoin no matter what. this is your taxpayers money well spent right...???so as a person i know this really i know don't talk to police.. they will lie to get something on you!!! uncle of waterhouse on 1909.. thank you for reading this..;-)
Posted by uncle@waterhoue on January 2, 2012 at 1:15 AM · Report this
93
the hose that was 1909 not 1913 spruce.... just getting the facts....uncle from the waterhouse...
Posted by uncle @waterhouse 1909 spruce on January 2, 2012 at 1:30 AM · Report this
94
Cammi, Love you. Please call. Dad
Posted by Jim Morgan on January 21, 2012 at 7:58 AM · Report this

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