[UPDATE 7:17pm: The Mayor’s office has released a statement, see below the jump.]

Recent footage released by Metro of a savage beating in the downtown tunnel last month has unleashed a firestorm of media coverage over the past few days.  But it’s not so much the beating that has everyone peeved, it’s the fact that there were three uniformed security guards not only present during the attack, but passively watching as the 15 year-old girl ruthlessly beat her peer.  Surveillance video shows the two girls fighting out onto the restricted trackbed and concluding with the victim lying on the platform with her head being stomped upon repeatedly.  All the while, the three guards seem to be unwilling to make any daring moves to save the victim, other than radioing for backup.

So who’s to blame?  The three officers?  Metro?  Olympic Security?  Witnessing bystanders?  The question has been very difficult to tackle because technically and legally, no one did anything wrong (attack aside).  Olympic Security, contracted to watch the tunnel, is discouraged by contractual language to physically intervene, leaving its personnel to only “observe and report” (PDF) at best.  The guards that witnessed the attack did manage to radio for emergency help, but were evidently powerless to stop or deter the beating.

More after the jump…

If security can only be charged with something as simple as two tasks of “observing” and “reporting,” then we have nothing more than ordinary civilians simply wearing more official-looking clothing.  And that is where the problem lies.  The guards’ only power rests in what their uniforms can do to deter crime.  When there’s anyone bold enough to test that, then the structure of authority collapses.  For the ill-intentioned criminal, the ‘SECURITY’ on the uniform reads nothing more than ‘Please don’t do anything bad, but I won’t stop you if you do.’

The Seattle Times is reporting that while nothing in the contract explicitly bars guards from intervening in fights, they are trained by Olympic not to do so for safety reasons.  However, given the extreme circumstances of last month’s incident, it seems that passive contract language may have been in itself a deterrent.  Coupled with Olympic’s own policies, guards are usually left fearing for their own job security when brazen attacks occur in their presence.  While the contract (PDF) does not stipulate specific protocol for what guards can physically do in the event of an attack, it does emphasize procedure for patrolling and reporting.

Interestingly enough, Sound Transit’s policies do give room for its contractors to do a little more than just observe and report:

While our contractor’s first responsibility is to observe and report on incidents, agency policy gives discretion to security officers to intervene when there is a clear threat. The policy states: “When necessary to protect self and others from a clear and immediate threat of bodily harm, a Security Officer must use only the degree of force necessary to repel an attack or threat of an attack.”

With Dow Constantine now ordering a review of the policies that stipulate what security contractors can or cannot do in events like these, Metro should probably take a leaf out of Sound Transit’s book.  Putting our faith in the spirit of the law instead of the letter might be the better step to take here.

UPDATE: McGinn’s office released a statement about his support for more SPD presence in the tunnel:

Mayor McGinn supports greater SPD presence in Metro bus tunnel

SEATTLE – Mayor Mike McGinn today released the following statement:

Anyone who has watched the video of the teenage girl who was assaulted in Seattle’s Downtown Transit Tunnel recently must have felt horrified, as I was. It is not only troubling but unacceptable to see images of uniformed security officers standing by and taking no action while someone is being beaten and robbed.

As we have learned, the private security company under contract with King County Metro Transit had been instructed to “observe and report” criminal activity rather than intervene. I applaud officials of King County and Metro Transit for reviewing that policy and committing to provide additional training to the security officers, if that’s what is required.

In the meantime, I want to reassure you that I consider it my paramount duty as mayor to keep our residents and visitors safe, not just downtown but throughout Seattle. And so I am exploring how the City of Seattle might assist King County and Metro Transit in policing the tunnel on an interim basis – using uniformed Seattle Police Department officers – until a longer-term solution is in place.

As always, if you ever feel threatened or unsafe please seek out a police officer for assistance.

Further information about crime safety and prevention is available at the Seattle Police Department website,http://www.seattle.gov/police/

Thank you,

Mayor Mike McGinn

156 Replies to “Who’s to Blame for the Tunnel Attack?”

  1. “Who’s to Blame for the Tunnel Attack?” How about blaming the young hoodlums who run rampant through–and under–downtown Seattle daily.

    1. Of course, but that’s not very helpful. I think the right question is how can we keep this from happening again?

      1. You can’t. People are assaulted every day in this city. The issue here is not the attack, it’s the security in the tunnel. The mayor is taking the right action IMO, by assuming authority over tunnel security in the short term. I hope they can find the funds to make this a permanent change. Our city just grew up a little.

      2. My feelings about this are that people aren’t so much mad about the assault, it is just something that happens, but they are mad that those that are in a position of “power” are actually powerless. The next step of thought is well if those people that I think have power don’t have power who does? Most people think well the police but when was the last time you saw a police officer on a bus? So effectively no one.

        When people feel that no one is in control they feel unsafe. Flight crews exude confidence. You notice that? They never seam flustered, and that give you confidence in them and makes you feel safer even if you aren’t.

        Right now I’m living in Stockholm. Stockholm is much much safer than any American city but still the subway system has a good amount of security, especially at night and when people are out on the weekend drinking. They have real power and I appreciate that.

      3. “I hope they can find the funds to make this a permanent change. Our city just grew up a little”Valko,2010). Forget the funds. You have daughters, The security have daughters, Transit Authority have daughters what is going on up there in Seattle? I have a daughter; the mother of the young lady beaten should have more than one lawyer(ABC on GMA interview). This is a major concern in the U.S. No one no matter what age should be subjected as an old rag doll. NCLB has attributed to placing our youth in this terrible state. You see how the bully was kicking her head?
        Many youth bullies need Real Counselors, Psychologist, and Respectful Real Adults. Too much Faking In Seattle.

        And that young lady, her bully friends/assaultants, knew they would have support and security, what kind of security is this and the leadership who instructed security? All of You have given Seattle a Bad Name.

        You have been Actually trying to be In Denial of Reality and let our AF-AM Youth Run Wild. Thank You God For Having This Camera for the World To See What They Think Is A Little Problem.

      1. There are things that can be done – easily, and in schools mostly – toward that end. It can improve things but not fix them completely.

      2. Who cares? We (the People) have minimal if any presence in their homes, so what could be done there save for blame placed? We are the presence in their schools; there, much can be done.

    2. No, blame these “young hoodlums.” I hate the mentality that because some youths did something bad, all youths are bad. It’s stereotyping and profiling, and is not constructive at all.

  2. I think security does need to be improved, but remember, this started up in the department store upstairs, and the Police had been called. They said that if they had known what was going to happen, they probably would have called a cab for her. Now there will be the usual attacks int he soundoffs at Seattlepi.com against everything transit related, one person even brought up Franklin High(just across the Street from Mt. Baker Station). Ignoring that great alumni came from that school. Fred Hutchinson and Gary Locke to name a few.

    1. I’d add Kenny G, David Guterson, Jason Terry, John Keister, and a whole lot more. I went to Garfield, and I’m still in awe!

  3. Charging papers for the tunnel eunuchs revelation:


    I am sure that the Witnessing Bystanders thought that the Eunuchs would intervene. As you can see in the tape, as soon as they realized that the Olympic employees have no testicular fortitude, many of them started to intervene themselves.

    I am just waiting for one of the Eunuchs to tell me to stop using a camera in the tunnel. Dickless Cowards!

    And as for SPD, they haven’t had any of my respect since about 10 am on 30 November, 1999.

    1. I’m surprised this one made it into this blog, which normally has policies against personal abuse. Question for you, Erik. Were you present at the attack? If so, why didn’t you step in and do something? From the video, if half a dozen ordinary people had just surrounded the fallen girl in addition to the guards, attacker might have just gone away.

      If not, you’ve got nothing to say to the people who were there: fifteen-dollar an hour service people with no training to intervene physically in a fight, and direct orders not to do so. And no union to protect them from being fired for insubordination.

      No idea of your own skills, experience, or abilities for dealing with somehing like this. If you’re male, I’m not sure you would have found it easy to deal with a girl attacker like that- she would have had no trouble hospitalizing you, but if you’d even grabbed her arm, her male and female friends would have taken you apart.

      Ticked about the system using people with no police training to deal with criminal violence? Write your County Executive and your King County Council reps to start finding the money and organization to get actual police where they’re needed. Or if you really want to set an example, sign up with Olympic Security, and do your own best to see to it this doesn’t happen again.

      Mark Dublin

      1. No Mark, I was not there. Otherwise you would have seen me in the video speaking up and stepping in.

        And yes, I have worked in a non-union position, making far less (in relation to the minimum wage at the time) where I had to, on multiple occaisions, separate two individuals, surrounded by potential allies, who were behaving like this. It is not hard to do, but it requires that you not be one of the many sheeple who hold citizenship in this country.

        As for Olympic, I think their contract is being prepared for termination as we discuss this.

      1. If I recall, “Just following orders…” hasn’t been a valid defense since the mid-1940’s.

        You get and keep yourself between the two parties. If you have a partner, and these eunuchs numbered three, one pushes away one party and the other pushes away the other. Ask a schoolteacher how it is done. Or watch any NHL contest.

      2. Erik G., Don’t break Godwin’s law.

        I don’t have any inside info but it’s pretty straightforward how this played out. Olympic sees that there’s liability in authorizing guards to do anything beyond what’s in the contract. They tell their staff in no uncertain terms not to intervene. This strict guidance overrides basic human impulses.

        If Metro/ST want security staff to do certain things they should contract for it.

      3. Then the Olympic company should not require their employees to wear a para-military or police like uniform, and they probably ought to be in plain clothes and not wearing any sort of insignia that might lead a desperate 15 year old child to seek out their assistance.

        And the Olympic Eunuchs need to keep their mouths closed when I am taking photos in the stations.

        And, no, Martin, recalling the standard of human responsibility that was held by among others, the United States until 2001, does not invoke Godwin. I am not comparing Olympic to the German government of 1933-1945, I am saying that Olympic needs to be held to the standards of universal responsibility to humanity that was also applied to the German government of 1933-1945 after they were removed from office. The same standard that has been applied and may someday applied to other governments; perhaps even the one that held power in this country from 2001 until 2009.

        As for Olympic, you state:

        Olympic sees that there’s liability in authorizing guards to do anything beyond what’s in the contract. They tell their staff in no uncertain terms not to intervene. This strict guidance overrides basic human impulses.

        And yet the contract


        clearly states on page 32 of 69:

        “The contractor shall provide all necessary services to assure the safety and protection of tunnel facility occupants, and protect real and personal property against injury, molestation, loss or damage from any preventable cause including but not limited to fire, theft, trespass, vadalism and/or sabotage at job sites covered by this contract”

        Time to terminate Olympic.

      4. I agree Eric G. It takes a decent human being to step in to protect vulnerable others, and most of us have had to do it many times if we’ve been in high school, attended parties, etc. Not hard to do, it should be harder to stand there and do nothing whilst someone could be suffering traumatic brain injury.

  4. I like the ST language. But it’s ambiguous as to what a security guard is supposed to do – it only says what they can’t do. An ST guard could have acted exactly the same and claimed they were just following policy.

    Not that I think we should arm them, nor should we have work to escalate violence. But I think it’s reasonable to have them try to break up fights, after calling the police.

  5. I don’t know, considering that security guards generally aren’t armed, aren’t paid very well, and aren’t trained in the use of force, I don’t think you can ask for much more than “observe and report”.

    If this had happened on a Metro or ST coach I wouldn’t have expected the driver to do more than pull the bus to the side of the road, open the doors, and hit the panic button.

    1. Indded, and because there is no uniformed security Eunuch on-board most KCM buses, the passengers would have stepped in to calm the situation. As they would have in the tunnel, but they didn’t because they thought their taxes were paying for the three lardbutts that were present.

      We saw that here:

      1. and lost their jobs in an economy with 10% unemployment. The security company would’ve canned them.

      2. and then retained a lawyer (they are also looking for work these days) who would sue to get them re-instated with damages.

        Try finding a jury who would not agree with the plaintiffs.

  6. Interesting that I noticed a lot more Metro Transit Police and ST Police in and around the tunnel today.

    BTW one thing that came up on a post elsewhere about the attack was the jurisdictional pissing match between SPD and the King County Sheriff’s department over the DSTT, vehicles, and other facilities. As I understand there is even a bit of a jurisdictional pissing match between the ST Police and the Metro Police even though they are ostensibly both part of the King County Sheriff’s department.

    In any case, all law enforcement assigned to patrol in a particular area should keep an eye on what is going on at transit facilities and not rely on the appropriate transit police to handle the situation. Similarly the nearest on-duty officers should respond to any incident involving a transit facility or vehicle. I don’t think a driver with a problem on their coach or someone getting beat up at a bus shelter really cares what uniform the cops who respond are wearing.

    1. I just came home from the meet-up in charming, sterile Bellevue on the 550 and there were two or 3 Olympic Stooges in each station PLUS at least 2 ST Police/MLKing County Sheriffs in each station.

      1. So Step It Up On “the Parent Patrol”; and there are concerned Real Parents and Seniors for a While to Teach the Ignorant Parents. Real Parents …can volunteer and can conceal their identity in the Bus Terminals to act as security(takes a village) who can later receive Honorary Citizen Certificates, etc., This video to me is the same or worse than the Haitian Earthquake. Our AF-Am Youth in America are suffering!

  7. “So who’s to blame? The three officers? Metro? Olympic Security? Witnessing bystanders?” Sound Transit should be included in that list because Sound Transit owns the DSTT. King County transferred ownership of the tunnel to them in 2000. But it’s operated jointly between ST and KCM. I’m not saying ST is to blame, I’m just saying they should be on that list because it’s their tunnel. The buck stops with them.

    1. Actually, Metro still owns the tunnel. The 2000 agreement was replaced a few years later when it became apparent that ST couldn’t complete the entire starter line as planned and that Metro would still be using the tunnel for years to come.

      1. Do they? This is off topic to the post but figuring out who “owns” the tunnel, who has responsibility for the tunnel and how makes decisions about the tunnel has been something that’s really hard to uncover. Mix in “Metro” (which was a City to county transition) and it’s a very strange “Ownership” arrangement.

    2. Wrong, Sam. KCM owns and operates the bus tunnel and provides the security services therein.

  8. thugs, drugs, pnahandlers, homeless…seattle has a long way to go before DT can be called “livable”..your city needs a Rudy Giuliani…just to clean things up

    as much as i hate that guy, he did clean up new york – for the better

    1. Mike-
      The reason I don’t ride Metro is largely because of the social problems (from violence to incivility) on its city buses, but the “It’s Giuliani Time” solution just switches who gets to be violent. It’s not the answer.

      More visible transit cops actually riding Metro buses would help greatly.

    2. Have you been downtown anytime recently? I don’t see much “cleaning up” needed. It is incredibly vibrant, and although there are homeless people, panhandlers, and some crime, those things are vastly overshadowed by the vibrancy of the streets down there. For every sketchy person, there are dozens or hundreds of respectable people. Reading comments on the Seattle Times or some here, you would think Downtown Seattle is getting like Detroit or something.

      1. Agreed in general, but I think the corridor between Third and Fourth on Pine is different and could use emphasis from the SPD. I don’t know that this is a recent development, though.

      2. I live downtown, and unless you’re mentally limp, I can’t see how DT Seattle constitutes anything scary or apocalyptic.

      3. Reading comments on the Seattle Times or some here, you would think Downtown Seattle is getting like Detroit or something.

        More like Klan infested Alabama.

      4. Agreed. I am disgusted by how much people will revert to bigotry when such things happen, as though white children are not and have never committed equally vicious and hyper-violent acts. Columbine and all of the rage shootings are examples of white kids/adults gone wild (University of Alabama just this week), but they are never referred to as animals and white families are never lambasted for mishandling their children or lacking humanity. Rage killers, serial killers are typically viewed as “bad apples” out of a great bunch. Well that’s enough bad apples to make up a bunch.

        Bad kids are bad kids who eventually become bad adults, point blank period. White, black, green or purple, if you don’t have discipline in your life, you’ll behave undisciplined. The real debate is whether the “observer and report” policy is an effective one. No one, whatever skin color or ethnicity, wants to be jumped while waiting for the train or bus. Everyone, especially folks of color, want to know that when they ask the police for help, they’ll be helped.

        But as someone from the Northeast, I’ve been warned about the Pacific Northwest’s difficulties with diversity and the huge presence of white supremacists living in and around the places like Seattle and Portland.

      5. Let me remind you, People there in Seattle walking around in denial about their Youth and school violence…and much more like this is happening there and in many populated and unpopulated cities. This incident just got caught on Camera; and Thank God for Camera.
        NCLB is ending soon and what will happen to our youth who are lost and denied
        counseling, protection to learn and grow in their own approach toward a quality education.

    3. This comment is absurd. Downtown Seattle is plenty livable. A lot more livable than a lot of our neighborhoods. And you are much less likely to be victimized by crime Downtown than a lot of those neighborhoods.

      1. I think your comment is ‘optimistic” at best. This is one of the harsh realities of density. We will more often encounter people and situations that are unpleasant, frightening and out of our control. That reality creates the strong attraction of suburbs. The perceived ability to better control one’s environment. It only takes one “crazy” person to ruin your day so to speak.

        And both Westlake Park and Occidental Park are full of indigents especially at night.

      2. I think you have this backward. It’s not the fright of density that attracts people to suburbs, it is living isolated in the suburbs that make people frightened by anything different. People see the homeless, or the mentally ill, or young black youths, or whoever else they are not used to seeing and they get scared and overestimate the danger.

        This creates the persistent American myth that more density equals more crime. The worst slums are always lower density neighborhoods. Think South Central LA. Think the cities of Oakland and Detroit. Or, locally, think the CD, Rainier Valley, Tacoma Hilltop. This is not to say that density equal less crime, necessarily, but that the relationship between density and crime is not a direct one.

        Yes, crime does happen Downtown, but it’s not out of control. Most of it happens in the middle of the night and is criminal-on-criminal (especially drug deals). Yet this aspect is usually downplayed when it gets reported on. And it always gets reported on, unlike many crimes that happen out in the suburbs.

      3. As a current resident of Chicago, I find that crime is rampant here. I’ve witnessed a few incidents of it directly even adjacent to my secure high rise building (in one of the densest neighborhoods in the city) Where there has been no reported property crime (robbery, burglary) or violent crime (murder (not sure about assault) in my building) in over 40 years but just a few hundred feet, away, lots and lots of incidents of robbery, intimidation, assault, car vandalism, murder etc. And this isn’t even the “bad” part of town.

        There is an epidemic of murder and assault in the schools here with upwards of 50 murders of students in the past couple of years. The west side of Chicago is a cesspool of blight, crime, despair and frankly dangerous people. A major prison happens to be located there. Its the county jail that is probably as large as the State Penitentiary in Monroe.

        So, your contention is that living an isolated existence in a suburb “creates” the fear. I would suggest it was the fear of people that are different as well as the “real” specter of crime they were seeing that drove people to make choices to move to the suburbs. In Seattle’s case it was probably desegregation of schools that started it in the 1960’s and 70’s.

      4. Charles,
        We have to be concerned about the night just as we are to be concerned about the day. From what I have been told, Seattle is like New York, they operate 24 hours a day. Safety is suppose to be 24 hours a day or violence will come into your home. Many Youth are not learning and sincerely practicing all that they should about… Love Thy Neighbor…Commend Those Who Are Helping Youth.

      5. I disagree. I live on Pine Street. Yes, Third and Pine is particularly unsavory, but it’s not a lot worse than many other corners in other Seattle neighborhoods.

      6. Pine Street in general does not scare me — however, Third and Pine at night (after 9 pm, not at 5:30 or 6) does worry me a bit. And that is where I get off a bus and go to the train station. I do wish that that corner was a little less sketchy than it is. But there is a lot of foot traffic there even at night, which helps somewhat.

        The time I was the subject of an attempted abduction, it wasn’t in a scary in-city area, but in a suburb-like part of Lake City. What thwarted the guy? A neighbor coming out of his house and seeing what was happening. I feel pretty lucky — in a quiet suburban street like that, the odds of someone coming out and seeing what was happening were relatively low. In dense city areas, you have “eyes on the street” which make it safer, not more dangerous.

        I think I would probably feel more comfortable at brightly-lit Third and Pine at 10:00pm than in the dark suburban-style part of Lake City I grew up in. Walking around there at night, if something happened to you it’s likely no one would ever see.

      7. What is the deal with Third and Pine? Really, downtown seems safe and vibrant, but that corridor is effed up. Since it’s such a high profile location (especially for tourists) I would think it would be a priority to clean up. It’s a disgusting block.

        On a side note…I went to NYC a month ago for the first time ever. That city has always seemed a bit intimidating to me(from movies, tv, cultural lore…). Anyway, the trip totally blew away any misconceptions I had, I walked everywhere, and it actually felt safer than Seattle…weirdly I didn’t get panhandled once (I didn’t really even see any panhandler types around). Even when I took the subway, I never encountered anyone the least bit threatening (unlike a few minor-sketchy Link issues here).

      8. shotsix,

        I think 9-11 had a whole lot to do with the change in New Yorker’s attitude. I experienced the same thing you did on a visit there this summer.

  9. For the most part well trained police officers, whom know and enforce the rules, detur crime, have some sense to them, and whom generally dont take the John Ashcroft, Jr. role in policing are far superior over any private security guard. (John Ashcroft, Jr role would be thinking everyone with a camera is a terrorist)

    As for the other peace officers that fall outside of those catagories, they are downright scary in their own right and probally shouldent even have a badge. Private Secuirty is a joke, not only are they useless, but they usually dont embody the above mentioned qualities and will do anything to make their report look better at the end of the day (so they can keep their job).

    1. You are wrong about security officers being a joke Z. When done right private unarmed security officers can play an important role in safety. However, noe the priority is on customer service. Sometimes we need to be agressive. I picked up the nickname Bulldog at my first account because I enforced the rules. I kicked tresspassers out. I chased harlots out of my areas, I , when nessassary, yelled t oshow I was serious, and I made clear that people who were trying to do harm to my client’s property or personnel would regret it. I did not go out looking for fights, I never got in to one, everyone who threatened me back downed. I just took nessassary, common sence measures to stop situtations before they could get worse.

  10. Along with Rudy we need a police chief like Bratton – focused on results and putting the resources where they are needed. Overall we need to beef up the size of the SPD. Also it might make sense to roll the police forces together like they did in NYC. If they can do it there there’s no reason we can’t do it here. Enough of the multiple agency waste.

    Also take a look at Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland and ask yourself why these types of incidents don’t happen there. No reason Seattle holds themselves to a lower standard. If only we cared about crime and civility as much as we do the homeless.

    1. I saw firsthand how the police departments from those cities behaved in downtown Seattle in 1999 during WTO. They have an easy way of “patrolling” their cities and that is to violate the 4th Amendment of anyone who is not white and/or dressed well. That kind of policing does not work in DT, in Belltown, on Capitol Hill, etc.

      And frankly, it is not working in Tacoma or Lakewood, FWIW.

      1. I’m neither white nor well-dressed and have never been hassled in Tacoma or Lakewood, and i spend a *lot* of time in both places, often in “good” neighborhoods where i stick out. In fact, other than Shoreline, i haven’t really ever dealt with serious racial hassle from cops, and even the Shoreline cops back off when they realize they’ve chosen a poor target for their crackdown on driving/walking/biking whilst brown.

        The 3rd and Union bus stops, though, is like dealing with the zombie apocalypse. People shove and push to get a precious, precious seat. I am a part-time wheelchair user (arthritis, thanks for asking) and i once had my hands off my wheels and some reprehensible freakbag pushed me off the curb. He proceeded to sit in the seats that fold up for wheelchair users. We need cops at the downtown bus stops, frankly. Crap like that is not cool and a police presence would intimidate people who act like that.

        WTO was bad. The police have come a long way since then. Cops are not the enemy 99% of the time in my life, and the other 1% are an acceptable loss in any case where there is a network of state power. Bad apples are everywhere.

    2. Bellevue, Redmond, and Kirkland are low-density, rich suburbs that can’t be compared to Downtown Seattle. And as I said above, crime Downtown isn’t even close to as bad as people are making it sound.

      1. As a former resident of Bellevue, I must protest (a little) your characterization of Bellevue. Bellevue is a demographically stratified city with incredible diversity. it has areas of low income, elderly, recently immigrated, as well as middle class families, wealthy and condo dwellers. It has challenges with gangs (notably asian and russian). It also is a very aesthetically appealing city with beautiful parks, wetlands, forest lands and parkways with large swaths of wilderness.

        Indeed, my most frightening experience so far in any city was being surprised by a drunk skanky woman trying to get into my car in the middle of N.E. 8th.

    3. I seem to notice a lot of really awful shootings going on in suburbs like Kent, Carnation, Lakewood…

  11. The rent-a-cops aren’t useful except for the psychological effects that, granted, do work rather well. But when somebody has a bomb or a gun or actually realizes that they’re nothing more than clothing, we’re all screwed.

    Pay more, get real cops. And train them PROPERLY (ie photographers aren’t terrorists). Imagine all the money and PR this little incident will cost ST and Metro.

    1. Agreed. The uniformed security is only a deterant, plus they have eyes, ears, and radios to call for help.
      IF they weren’t present, how many other acts of violence would have taken place?
      And flooding the DSTT stations (with at least 2 rent a cops each) would come right out of precious operating dollars for real bus or train service.
      Life is a series of tradeoffs.

    2. Observe and Report can be done with Cameras and remote worker drones. If the people on the scene can’t intervene in something like this, then there’s no point in having them.

  12. Whats FWIW? Are you saying that Tacoma and Lakewood are using your impression of how the eastside patrols? I agree that the Bellevue is very aggressive at stopping folks who don’t fit in for any reason (not just color) for bs stops. Seems to work. If its that much of an issue how come they haven’t been sued yet. Or have they?

    1. In 6 years of living in Bellevue, I was never stopped, harassed or even given passing attention by Bellevue police. And I certainly don’t fit with the “chic” image of Bellevue.

      1. the only times I see cops in Bellevue are ones giving out speeding tickets, just remember folks Bellevue way is 30mph south of DT for some ways!

  13. The contractors who do security in the Tunnel never do their job, they should be fired. They always hang out in three sums talking to each other.

    I have constantly complained about specific things the guards have done (specifically not done) for Months. If metro listened to it’s riders, this girl wouldn’t be beaten up.

    1. I was leaving Westlake station one day and there was someone smoking on the platform (in the nook between the stairs and elevator). These “security” guards are a joke.

  14. One of the stories I read suggested that the security guards can’t even call the cops when something like this happens; rather they have to radio Metro, who will call the cops if they see fit.

    I can kind of understand the non-intervention policy, but it makes no sense at all to not allow or equip your security personnel to call the cops directly when they see a crime occurring or about to occur. A Metro middleman serves no good purpose.

  15. Having grown up in the 70s in New York were only certain subway lines were ‘safe’ I hate seeing formerly nice Seattle descend into a world of violence. Graffiti covered tunnel stations next? Garbage on the tracks? I’ve see it happen…

    1. Now that’s a slippery slope if ever I saw one. One incident equals a citywide ‘descent into a world of violence’? This is a serious problem we’re discussing, but it’s an issue about security contractors, their responsibilities, and their limitations, NOT a discussion about what universal truths we can draw from a single particular. Seriously, grow up.

      1. Agree with your point, Zach; but in my experience problems on some Metro routes in Seattle have become part of the culture. Some are violent; most are of the harassing/disgusting/threatening/non-payment/rude sort of issues. Once or twice you can tolerate; when it becomes normalized- that’s the problem.

        The Stranger makes a regular feature about the conditions in the buses.

        I stopped riding Metro regularly because of the environments in my buses. Whenever I try again, there’s usually some incident that leaves me stressed and annoyed.

      2. I’m not sure which routes you use, Mike, but I’ve been a regular rider since 1980 (4 days a week average on routes 1, 2, 11, 13, 15, 18, 71, 72, 73 and 76 at all hours and all days), and have only been “stressed” by the goings on around me perhaps 6 times in those 30 years – far less that while driving and seeing carelessness, inattention, road rage, drunken drivers, etc, etc.
        However, it IS time to have a police presence in the tunnel at all times with sworn, armed officers constantly walking, walking walking the platforms and mezzanines and entries. They must be further trained in civility and in giving out correct transport information and/or knowing how to get it quickly for the wayward and the lost.

  16. The security guards are taking all the heat for this but the police need to take some as well. I just sent a letter to the mayor’s office. I probably shouldn’t post it all here, but here’s most of it.

    We just received a press release from your office, “Mayor McGinn supports greater SPD presence in Metro bus tunnel.” This is, of course, commendable, and since security staff in the tunnel are unable to protect us, it would seem to be a good thing to do.

    However, the release continues, “As always, if you ever feel threatened or unsafe please seek out a police officer for assistance.” This is well-intentioned advice, but the victim in this case says that she sought assistance and protection from the police before she even got into the tunnel — and they refused to help her.

    The court papers quote her statement:

    “…I saw the same two officers and I am trying to get their attention and told them the kids were following us. They were telling me that they had seen me hanging around the area and that I just needed to leave. I told them I couldn’t because the kids were following me. I asked them to take me to the tunnel and they said they couldn’t because they didn’t have time for kids who started trouble.”

    After the attack, the same police officers came into the tunnel (possibly called by the security guards) and the victim started yelling at them angrily “telling them stuff like did you see what they did to me?… I told them that the group was outside McDonalds… They told me to leave the tunnel and were escorting me out. As I leave the tunnel they just stood in front of the tunnel and didn’t even help me get to a safe environment. They just wanted me to leave.”

    A bit later, after her mom arrived: “My mom was going off on them and they were explaining that there were always fights down here and they can’t monitor them all. They were saying that I had so many opportunities to leave the area but I had told them that I was trying to leave and was trying to catch my bus. They told my mom that they were tired of all these kids downtown causing trouble.”

    It sounds to me that the security guards are taking (rightful) blame, but the police officers in question are also to blame — and perhaps, more so. It is their job to “serve and protect,” and unlike the security guards, they are allowed to do the job properly. Like many kids, this victim was probably taught to find a police officer when in need of help. Seattle Police failed her, and though that part of it wasn’t captured on film, it is as shameful as the part that was.

    I would like to know that a 15 year old girl in need would be able to contact the police for help in our city without being put in further jeopardy by those she thought would protect her.

    1. Good letter, [nemo]. I’m curious about what these officers were doing that was more important than protecting a 15 year old girl that says she’s in danger.

  17. Everyone is to blame, except the victim. You see someone getting hurt you do what you can to stop it and worry about your job later.

  18. Let’s also remember that the presence of police is no guarantee of safety. Anyone remember the 2001 Pioneer Square Mardi Gras riots? The police stood back and watched as dozens of people were assaulted, robbed, and one person, Kris Kimes, was even killed. That said, I believe Metro and ST police do a poor job in terms of their allocation of resources. Metro police doesn’t utilize plain clothes police patrols on buses, or in the tunnels. And if they do, it’s a very rare. From what I understand, they feel it’s safer for them to remain in their patrol cars. I think plain clothes transit police would be an effective tool in patrolling Metro’s system, but they refuse to do it. Another thing that should be employed is using more police and security personnel during those hours when it’s been shown large packs of teens and young adults tend to congregate at popular downtown bus stops. And bust them for the little stuff. Littering, blocking the sidewalk, smoking in the shelter, etc.

    1. I would like to see plain clothes police officers because it is impossible for there to be police on all buses but by doing their work in plain clothes it makes it harder for evil doers to anticipate where police are. You could be a police officer, I could be a police officer. In increased the uncertainly for those that want to brake the law.

      The first time I got on a the tram in East Berlin my ticket was checked by one. Just after that they arrested someone for something. I don’t think it was fare evasion though.

  19. I would like to think that I would have called 911 if this happened while I was there. Alas, there is no signal for my phone from Westlake until the bus/train gets to the International District.

  20. I believe the security guards dropped the ball. They’re not quite at fault, only the attacker is. After watching the video, you can clearly tell the victim was scared and did not want to fight. She approached the security guards to tell them what happened and they did nothing. Had they had no prior knowledge to the fight and just saw it happen, then following procedure and not intervening makes sense. The cops should have been called as soon as the victim alerted the guards of the situation. They also should have escorted her to a safe location until the cops arrived. “Observe and report” makes perfect sense when the guards have no previous knowledge that violence will take place, but when they do they should be required to intervene.

  21. Why the exclusive focus on increasing security in the Bus Tunnel? Why should the Tunnel be more policed than the above-ground stops– or inside the buses themselves?

  22. The guards should have protected that girl. If they were trained not to, they were not trained correctly. If Metro’s policies are the reason for the bad training, change the policy. Don’t wait. This is an outrage.

    It is not reasonable to expect any adult to stand by as a young person is getting beaten by anyone.

  23. I’ve got three words for those thugs – concealed carry permit. Try a stunt like that with me and you’ll end up with a hole in you just like Emmanuel Salters after he chased a family off the Metro last year.

    1. Oh yeah and don’t forget that other tired canard ” An armed society is a polite society”.

      BTW do you look like Charles Bronson as well?

  24. It’s ridiculous how if anything happens in Downtown Seattle it gets turned into an anti-urban thing. When a bus driver was viciously assaulted in Tukwila a couple of weeks ago, no one was talking about how the suburbs are dangerous hell-holes. Nor when someone was murdered at the Federal Way Transit Center a couple of months ago. But the urbanaphobic streak of our culture springs up at any slim justification. And anyone who argues that Downtown Seattle is descending into a world of violence is totally clueless. Downtown Seattle is way less sketchy than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Or even 10 years ago.

    1. umm Federal Way is a dangerous hell hole that I will never visit. Seattle lets large groups of youths with nothing better to do than assault and rob people roam around DT. In NYC cops seem to be everywhere, in Seattle they are more interested in giving jaywalking tickets…

  25. I’m suddenly very interested in how much money Olympic Security is making from their contract versus how much is paid out in wages/benefits to the actual security guards.

    In fact, I’m not even sure if they get benefits. They’re certainly not union…

    Do they have any real utility given their current mission? I mean, we don’t really need to pay for extra sets of eyes in a place so heavily and constantly populated, and are there not security cameras?

    So what *are* we paying Olympic Security for?

  26. Who is to blame? There are many to blame. First, the girl who attacked the other. I hope she gets real punishment for her crime. Second the security guards, I don’t care about policy in this situtation. If you see someone getting beaten like this you do something. If I had been one of those guards that did nothing my dad would have given me a beating and I would have deserved it. (Yes my dad is still the toughest guy I know. In his 50s he is still strong and a great fighter.) Those guys should be ashamed of themselves. Third, the mentality that we are not supposed to do something. I was involved in a similar incident once. I stopped a drunk guy from choking his girlfriend. I was told be most people later that it was none of my business. Fourth, the family of the girl who did the attack. They are out there saying that it is no big deal. That the girl who was beaten and had her stuff stolen was not a victim. If a girl is being raised like that she is bound to get in trouble. Also it has been said that the girl was attacked for acting to white. That is just a discrace. How someone acts should not bean excuse for attacking them. There are so many more problems. I am ashamed for all of us. This never should have happened.

  27. Heard this story on the radio today. Of course the coverage was crap. If I’m reading this right, we’re talking two 15 year old girls??? First, that’s way off the radar of common crime statistics. Old guy attacks young girl.. common. Young guy attacks anybody… common. This is two barely teenage girls attacking each other? It’s just plain weird that it would escalate to this point and anybody in the tunnel should have been able to break this up. Armed security is more of a problem than a solution. Pick them up by the hair and say knock it off, cops are on the way. Adding guns to this bizarre situation could only be worse. Think about it, the hired personal were a failure, ergo… we should give them guns? Sigh, we have a social issue but this is not a tunnel security issue.

  28. These Olympic Security clowns have mildly irritated me in the past. I see them standing around, doing absolutely nothing every time I’m in the DSTT. They aren’t even able to provide confused passengers with simple assistance. (I know that’s not their job, but if you worked in the tunnel all day every day, you’d think you’d pick up enough transit knowledge to help passengers find their way). Now I’m just outraged. Why are we paying them? I really don’t think there’s enough of a security problem in the tunnel to warrant THAT MANY of them in the first place, but now when there is a problem they don’t do ANYTHING? Let’s save our money and hire a few officers to patrol the tunnel. You don’t need three or four at every station; you just need enough to show presence of actual authority figures. We already have transit cops in King County. Is it asking that much for them to patrol the tunnel?

    I’ve never worried about my own safety in the DSTT; not once, but now that I know that everyone knows those “security’ guards are useless, I’m going to be watching my back every day.

    1. One person, monitoring the TV cameras, assisted by modern intelligent video surveillance software, could watch all 5 tunnel stations and report any incidents to real LEO’s.

      Mr. Constantine, tear up this contract!

  29. I am a security guard. I am told that my job is to observe and report. However I am also a man. I cannot stand by and let something like this happen, no real man would. Those so-called guards and everyone else there were cowards. The “guards” were hiding behind procedure.

    1. Matthew,

      The entire incident – start to finish – took 22 seconds.

      What exactly what would you have done in that time frame?

      Give us a play-by-play.

      Those guards are no less “men” than you, do get off that horse.

      1. They could have grabbed the girl attacking the other. They could have block the attacker when the victim was down. They were standing right there and did nothing. Nothing. Thney are wimps.

  30. This incident is getting lots of coverage (and contrasting follow up) in the Portland area, mostly on KATU, KOMO-TV’s sister station. However, I found the contrast interesting.

    Here, security are required to take many more hours of training as well as on-the-job training hours that are well beyond state law. They also respond to incidents. Then again, I’ve never felt unsafe on TriMet- I know their drivers radio for help and cops appear… which may or may not happen on Metro.

    I also think NJL makes a good point – there are incidents at Federal Way (and sometimes other transit centers) all the time, but rarely is the attention played out in the same manner.

      1. I found it on a Malaysian Newspaper website.

        All the resources spent to promote Seattle as a tourist destination have been wasted too.

  31. Who’s to blame? Lots of people. I put the blame squarely on the Mayor’s office (not McGinn necessarily, but the office of the Mayor in general).

    Seattle, and downtown in particular, has a huge problem with a) hoodlums, and b) aggressive panhandlers. These problems are most visible in the 3rd/Pine area but generally visible between 3rd and Western through the length of downtown. It’s sad because this is the retail and tourist hub of the city.

    So why is the Mayor’s office to blame? Because nothing is being done about it! The police need to take a harder line against hoodlums causing trouble, drug dealers, and aggressive/drunk homeless. Other cities have taken (legal) steps to addressing these problems, but in Seattle the status quo seems to be fine. Tacoma bans it, Seattle “studies” it. Yes, there are greater underlying societal issues leading to the existence of these problems, but for the time being, the rest of us shouldn’t have to accept walking through it when we just want to go about our business.

    I think it’s time for a crackdown on this sort of violence downtown. We need many more beat cops, especially in the Pike/Pine corridor between 3rd and the market. We need to take an aggressive stance against drunk/high/aggressive handhandlers and hoodlums. We need, dare I say it, a Rudy Giuliani-style clean-up of downtown Seattle.

    Downtown Seattle almost went to the brink of dying. We need to take measures now to ensure that downtown has a safe, clean, and pleasant reputation.

  32. I think most view this wrong. we have security for what reason? They didnt do a damn thing! This is whats wrong with this country. the people who have a place to actually change things and make a difference dont. They just stand there and complain but do nothing. kind of like a Glen Beck sort of thing.

    1. They didnt do a damn thing!

      False. Repeating this is a lie. Those security personnel did do things – they called for help, they protected bystanders, they intervened in word and gesture – all within a 22 second period. This “did nothing” canard is a LIE.

  33. in fact after watching it again? The security standing right there as the girl was being kicked in the face should be fired, and i mean it. at the very least they should consider retireing from the human race.

    1. No, they should not be fired, they did as they were instructed and given the circumstances exactly what they SHOULD have done. You don’t fire people for doing the job that they are expected to do by their employer, and their employer’s contractor.

  34. I wonder if those so-called security guards gave a talking to the victim since she dared drop her packages in the roadway. While one of guards was able to pick up the dropped package, the others just stood there probably to make sure no one stepped onto the roadway.

  35. Claiming that these guards were “passively watching” is quite simply false – and a canard repeated over and over by the media.

    It’s quite simply a LIE.

  36. FWIW… no one ever likes to blame the victem, but according to the Seattle Times and other accounts, there was a history there of this “victem” and the others.

    Further, the “victem” was told to go home after being tossed out of Macys… there was another confrontation prior to that… but some how the two groups kept crossing paths in downtown. If one was following the other, the “victem’ being followed PRIOR to the beating still had a cell phone, and found an officer. At the point the officers did not respond, how about a call to Mom? Mom could come to her rescue after the beating… Mom – come pick me up… Still being followed?, continue to hang by the SPD or go to the SPD offices – file some paperwork, see a social agency…. but based on the account that privously the “victem” had pepper sprayed the other person before?

    There is far more going on here, and far more could be done by all, INCLUDING the victim before she became a victim…

    1. Seattle Greg,

      I keep seeing this incident being portrayed as an “attacker” beating up on a “victim”. Having watched the video many times now, while the girl who wound up doig the (shocking) kicking had the upper hand, the other girl gave back a LOT, including slamming kicking-girl against the wall.

      The entire way this thing has been reported is completely off-base, and those guards damn well don’t deserve having been heaped on the way that they have. They don’t deserve to be fired – they deserve a damn medal for putting up with all the crap that they’ve had to.

      1. Just because she defended herself does not mean she’s not a victim. She clearly didn’t want to fight and the attacker did attack her first.

      2. That girl was/is no victim, and she and her mother are now making the rounds on television going for the Oscar crying crocodile tears gearing up for a huge lawsuit or series of same, echoing talking points fed by this idiotic media-fed hysterical reactive nonsense.

      3. Jeff Welch: “Those guards deserve a medal.”

        Congratulations. You now have less credibility on this blog than I do.

      4. So did the guards at least tell the people in the roadway to get back on the platform, fights and other conflicts notwithstanding?

        I see them yell at “jaywalkers” in the tunnel all the time.

    2. Seattle Greg, if you read the entire report in the charging papers, it addresses some of the things you said here.

      First, she was told to go home and the BUS was how she had to get home. That is why she was in the tunnel. She was trying to go home.

      She was in contact with police officers more than once before the beating and asked for an escort to the tunnel because she felt unsafe. The officers refused, and the implication from the girl’s description is that they did not take her concerns seriously.

      After the beating, she did contact her mom (must have been through someone else’s phone at that point). Her mom came down there quickly.

      It is irrelevant whether the victim (not “victem”) had on another date pepper-sprayed one of the attackers, or dated the other girl’s boyfriend, or called her a bitch on MySpace, or any of that stuff. NONE of that is relevant. None of that legally or morally justifies a head-kicking beatdown and theft of her goods. Anyone who tries to use that as justification for what happened has a moral screw loose themselves.

      (I find it interesting that the attackers’ family and friends are using this very, very weak justification for what happened. Hey folks, if your kid got harrassed previously by the victim, that doesn’t mean your kid is allowed to stomp on her head in return. If that’s what you’re teaching your kids… well, no wonder this happened.)

      It is certainly possible that the victim in question isn’t a saint. But the part of the incident that IS on film does back up her account. Trying to blame this on her is despicable.

      Incidentally, the police chief has initiated an internal review into the incident:

      1. Litlnemo,

        I agree with you… nothing justifies a kick in the head… but if I was feeling threatened and the first set of cops did not respond, I would find other cops, or go to the station, or fire house… if the cops would not respond, why not call mom THEN?… KEY POINT – If I was feeling threatened, I would avoid anyplace the other folks might be. Macy’s has security… explain it to THEIR guards. Westlake Mall has security, explain it to THEIR guards… why risk jumping on the same bus with the other folks? If the first set of adults don’t offer options, find others…

        The history IS relevent. The Previous Pepper spraying may or may not have been so self defensive… it might have been as well… but we don’t know. What we do know is the facts that these two sets of kids have no sense of right and wrong and think the whole damn world is their playground or boxing ring or whatever, and we all now get to pay for the doubling up of the guards, and the increase in arms, and so it builds… the money this costs takes from other areas, bus service or total security budgets… now that this set of star crossed 15 year olds had a row in the mall, we get video world wide, and get to pay the difference in new costs. Before you sentence the thugs, I would also have them, and their parents pay the new increased costs their actions now cost the rest of us. What should have been defused, or avoided will now run us a half million more or more.

        IT still ain’t right… but this crap sadly happens around the region… under bleachers, after games at the drive in, inner city and rural, etc… It does not make it right… but now that it is caught on film in our spiffy shined tunnel, we all knee jerk react and then get to pay the bill.

        I don’t expect anyone to take a beating for $15 an hour… but why aren’t these folks trained to diffuse the issues… they sure can yell at those who jaywalk the tunnel…

        Where was the crowd response demanding norms? Its like Seattle’s version of Kitty Genovive…38 witnesses and no one comes forward.

      2. “if I was feeling threatened and the first set of cops did not respond, I would find other cops, or go to the station, or fire house… ”

        I don’t think this makes a lot of sense. Where exactly would you go to do this? Is there a police station near Westlake? Where is the nearest firehouse? She went into a place where, not only did she know a bus would come to get her out of there, but she knew there were security guards. Additionally, she probably knew there would be a lot of people there in general, and so it would be relatively safe. I think this is a completely rational decision.

        “KEY POINT – If I was feeling threatened, I would avoid anyplace the other folks might be. Macy’s has security… explain it to THEIR guards. Westlake Mall has security, explain it to THEIR guards… why risk jumping on the same bus with the other folks? If the first set of adults don’t offer options, find others…”

        The adults she talked to told her to leave the area. She was attempting to leave the area. The cops had already made her leave Macy’s. Possibly she ducked immediately into the tunnel to hide from the attackers and go home (I don’t know which tunnel entrance she used) — since she knew the group was on the street near Macy’s I can see why she wouldn’t take Pine over to the mall, perhaps. Then it seems that she knew they were probably following her. I certainly would have felt safer in the station, all lit up and full of people and security guards, than I would have out on the street if I were her.

        “The history IS relevent. The Previous Pepper spraying may or may not have been so self defensive… it might have been as well… but we don’t know. ”

        Why exactly is it relevant? Unless you believe that beating up and headkicking someone because they may have pepper-sprayed you in the past (and we don’t know that it happened) is appropriate, it’s not relevant.

        And beating someone up as they did is not appropriate.

      3. Again, I agree with you… it was beyond inappropriate… on the other hand, just around the corner from Macys is the Town Precinct. In back of the Federal Court House, which also has armed security… There is a ‘Community Station’ IN Macys. And if told to go home, and I spotted my nemisis in the tunnel, I would exit out… I would avoid where they were… amazingly, they ran into each other THREE TIMES in 5 square blocks. At the point of being tossted out of macys… CALL MOM.

        The Pepper spray comment is valid. The attacker had been sprayed before and was obviously out to return the favor…… I would have called Mom and insist to stay by the side of the SPD even if he told me not to.

        Again… We have had kids killing each other in the south end… where is all the hubris about an armed officer on every block there? Now that agencices are making sure it does not happen again in the tunnel, I want the extra COST born by the rat pack involved. And if we can suddenly find funding for THIS, how about finding funding to stop the shootings at the SOUTH end of town…

  37. Metro can save $1M immediately by ending its contract with “Olympic Security in Tukwilla.” Metro can also save millions of money by having its drivers enforce fare collections and getting the SPD involved. This was done in major cities and afterawhile, the public learned that they had to pay the fares. Actions (or lack thereof) speak louder than words. I ride the buses, lightrail frequently and carry mace since I do not feel safe – this video shows to the world what I already know.

  38. By the way…

    In 2007 I spent ten days exploring Mexico City, mostly by subway from my hotel next to Allende Station.

    One day, down on the platform during the morning commute hour, a plain-clothes cop approached me, quickly and discretely displayed his identification, and asked if I spoke Spanish. I replied, in Spanish, that I did, but not too well.

    Then, in good but heavily accented English, he explained that I should carry my backpack in front of me rather than on my back to keep it safer. (Something I knew to do but wasn’t worried about as I had nothing of value in the bag)

    I thanked him for his advice and noticed his partner waiting for him several yards away. It would have been impossible to know that these guys were cops, although the fact that they were wearing their jackets rather than carrying them was probably to conceal their weapons. They then dove back into the crowd and boarded the next train.

    That…that right there was someone who’s job is to actively help make a place more safe. Seattle certainly isn’t Mexico City, but I’d expect nothing less from our transit cops or any private security guard.

    Instead, what I see in the tunnel here in Seattle are people wearing silly yellow reflective gear, waddling around bored out of their minds.

    A news stand or someone selling coffee down there would probably have a better security effect than these guys.

    1. Actually, I would love to see some vendors down there. (I bought pastries in the U-Bahn station in Munich… nice.) And, yes, they’d be additional eyes in the station to watch things and call in reports when things don’t look right.

  39. One last thought…

    In my last 5 years of commute downtown, I have never witnessed one-on-one violence. But what I HAVE experienced is a lot of folks using Metro as a way to stay warm, a place to sleep, a place to sell drugs and other stolen goods, and a meeting place to exchange money for whatever.

    There is a contingent of young men and woman who seem to just hang out at the entrances and by some doors. They seem real intent at studding the crowd, but not taking a bus or train. They are not involved in selling God or LaRouche or specific “culture”. I may be taking a big hunch here, but I would use the word “Mules”. If unarmed eunuchs are the eyes and ears, why not have a bunch of these folks surround the loitering masses. They are there daily “hanging out”.

    It makes for a rather frustrating gauntlet of panhandlers and mules to get to the tunnel… While they do not directly threaten me, they DO add to an overall “canvas” of life by Metro stops “painting” a tableau where other types of activities find it easier to flourish unchecked.

  40. Question not related to the actions of Olympic “Security”:

    In the video, we see the two children go into the tracks/busway and then leave, and then we see a train approach. What if the head-injured child was still lying in the path of the train?

    Is there any way for occupants of the tunnel, contracted or not, to shut off the power to the cantanary and stop any train from entering the station?

    I have seen this shut-off button system (behind glass like a fire alarm) installed in Vancouver and Paris. Is there an equivalent in the DSTT stations?

    1. Erik G.,

      There is no “head injured child” in this case, and in the video that I saw, the girl who wound up on the losing end of the fight at that point was wailing the living crap out of her “assailant” and SLAMMED HER INTO THE OPPOSITE WALL.

    2. There’s an emergency intercom but I don’t think it stops the train, it probably goes to someone in the control center. Our system isn’t automated and driver-less like Vancouver’s and some Paris metro lines.

      If I saw someone injured and fell on to the tracks I would (or someone else) try to get them off. My friends recently saved someone’s life in the DC Metro after they fell on the tracks.

  41. why is this not attempted murder? assault and robbery? she didnt quit after she has assaulted and knocked unconscious the girl, and stolen her stuff. then she went back and did more kicking. I hope these filthy pieces of trash are locked away and put in a cage for years with hardened criminals who are shown this video. Then we will see just how tough they are.

  42. The use of the term “eunuchs” as a synonym for disgraceful powerless cowardice requires a response.

    In many past civilizations, an operation rendering a man incapable of reproducing also opened career opportunities of extremely high esteem and great actual power. The reasoning was that these individuals would never be able to physically produce a claimant to the throne, and so became invaluable as “disinterested” professional advisers and technicians.

    At one period of Chinese history, the operation became such a career boost that the authorities had to forbid men from rushing to the clinic to become eunuchs so as to put themselves ahead in line for a government position, as the supply was so far outstripping the demand.

    The founder of the legendary Chinese commercial “Treasure Fleet”, Zheng He, involuntarily became a eunuch when he was captured as a prisoner of war at a very young age. But he rose through the court to become both China’s most famous admiral and, by contemporary account, a huge and imposing man seven feet tall.

    Who, had he happened to be at Westlake Station, would definitely have prevented the assault, especially if Olympic Security had provided him with a uniform.

    So fairness requires some other term meaning “overly risk averse and excessively budget-conscious.” English is pretty weak for insults sometimes, so maybe some other language can sum it up better.

    Mark Dublin

  43. Of course we must execute the police officers and hired security guards for not doing their jobs….Let’ put their information in the public r realm and let their wives and children be tortured to death as gruesomely as possible!

    It’s only fair they they and their families s should die horrible deaths…let’s all make sure that that occurs!

  44. Jeff you seem to me to be one of those types who say that victims of crimes got what they deserved. The attacker is nothing but a punk and a thug. I hope she gets some serious time in a correction facility.

  45. I understand the difficulty of wording the title of any article. However, the increasingly bad taste this particular list of comments leaves in a reader’s mouth indicates that anything headed with “Who Is To Blame…” is not the most effective question with which to begin any public transit discussion, especially around Seattle.

    Of the public officials I’ve known over the years, especially with Metro and Sound Transit, few if any have been stupid, malicious, or personally corrupt.
    Having lived in places where every public project budget needs column space for things that fall off trucks and contracts that have to go to somebody’s brother, I think we can be grateful for the general condition of the city and the transit system.

    And that the footwear used in this last attack had rubber toes instead of steel. I’m not the only blog reader who’s seen worse.

    After thirty-odd years here, there are things about this place that drive me nuts, including the official hesitancy to call things by their right names. After Chicago and Detroit, I’m still easier with aggressive aggression than the passive kind.

    Does anybody remember the “Almost Live” takeoff on “The Fugitive”, where the hero frantically runs around Westlake Center asking if anyone’s seen the one-armed man who killed his wife? And encountering first a man who offers to cut off his own arm if it will help, and then a woman who scolds him for not using the term “upper-extremity challenged?” And someone from the Downtown Seattle Association demanding that he sign a petition to keep people with unsightly physical conditions out of the CBD?

    Unfortunately, the only group or element I can think to “blame” for the loss of this necessary civic corrective are the executives who canceled “Almost Live,” and if they’re still in the industry, having to watch their network’s current programming is punishment enough.

    The worst thing about the “Who’s To Blame” approach is that it pretends every problem is simply an HR matter. There’s no individual whose termination would have prevented that attack from happening, and no “new hire” who can make future ones less likely- given the same budget and operating orders.

    As voters we can fire the elected officials who ultimately run the transit system- but if we as voters don’t give them the necessary tax money and organized political assistance to get problems fixed, a year-round recall election season won’t make the transit system any safer.

    Knowledgeable citizens can present ideas and experience, work on campaigns, testify in court against malefactors, and position themselves between attackers and victims- which is exponentially effective relative to the number of people stepping in. That’s where the energy ought to go.

    The Seattle Transit Blog is an excellent tool for organizing the defense of our transit system in every sense, and is doing a good job. Just next time, a better title would be: “What Do We Have to Do to Fix This?”

    Mark Dublin

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