Mayor Murray released the following statement this afternoon regarding an alleged beating of a homeless man in Pioneer Square on Saturday evening:
“Fire Department Chief Gregory Dean and I have discussed the unfortunate incident that occurred at Occidental Park over the weekend.
Our firefighters are often the first responders for homeless individuals in crisis, and a key measure of their performance is how they treat our most vulnerable residents.
And we hold Seattle firefighters to high standard: whether they are on duty or off, Seattle firefighters are expected to treat every member of the community with care and respect.
Regrettably, that did not happen in this case – and, for that, we both apologize.
I have instructed Chief Dean to work with the City Attorney Pete Holmes and Personnel Director Susan Coskey to identify an outside investigator to conduct a full review of what occurred. I have asked Police Department Chief Harry Bailey to analyze SPD’s response time after this incident was first called in. And I’m seeking the perspective of City Attorney Holmes and the labor relations department to assist Chief Dean in evaluating the disciplinary options he will need to consider.
I am also asking Chief Bailey for a review of the Police Department’s staffing in Pioneer Square during professional sports games to make sure we have the police presence required to prevent violent behaviors from breaking out, and to be responsive and timely when they do.
Over the years, Pioneer Square’s residents and businesses have asked for greater attention on public safety issues.
The unfortunate incident Saturday sheds light on this important request, and so over the next few weeks and months I will be meeting with businesses and social service providers in the neighborhood to work with them in ensuring that Pioneer Square is a safer and more welcoming environment for all people.”