Seattle police issue $1,025 ticket to homeless man
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle police this week issued a costly ticket to a person living in a tent near Green Lake.
Police issued the $1,025 ticket to a man on Monday night while he was by his tent, the SeattlePI reported .
Community organizer Matthew Lang said the man and several other people had arrived at the site the day before with help from Lang and two neighborhood action councils. Lang said the encampment was not one specifically sanctioned by the city.
The man, who has not been identified, said police pointed to the man’s tent and other belongings stacked nearby as signs of litter, according to Lang. A photo of the ticket provided to the SeattlePI shows it was issued at 10:41 p.m. and that the penalty was over a thousand dollars.
Police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said Friday that the ticket had been canceled after review by police supervisors. He also said the matter would be referred to the city’s team comprised of specially-trained officers and outreach workers who try to connect people without homes to services and shelter.
Seattle police also issued tickets to people camped in a city park in December. In that case the tickets were issued for trespassing and had a $500 penalty.
“This type of enforcement is atypical,” Whitcomb said. “We share the city’s goal of referring our unsheltered homeless population to city services.”
Mayor Jenny Durkan’s homeless response spokesman, Will Lemke, said Friday that it’s not the city’s policy to issue tickets in these cases.
“The city does not use citations as a mechanism for encouraging people to take shelter,” he said.
Seattle, along with the entire West Coast, is struggling to respond to the problem of homelessness. The city is slated to spend more than $63 million this year on programs for unsheltered people.
Information from: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, http://www.seattlepi.com/