Cops… in Pioneer Square

By kate on September 1st, 2005

My office overlooks Pioneer Square. Today, I walked through the square on my way to get some lunch and walked past two policemen apparently arresting two homeless-looking men. As I passed, I heard Bad Cop screaming at one of the men.

“This is a family park! It’s not a place for your narcotics use! You can’t abuse narcotics in my park! I get paid to protect this park! Don’t tell me you’re not using narcotics! What’s this!? It’s a crack pipe bong!”

I walked out of earshot feeling mostly sympathy for the poor man being yelled at. Obviously a drug addict, he was probably just trying to sit somewhere quietly and get high, and being (probably) homeless, had nowhere to go. During the cop’s tirade, he was standing quietly, not resisting or doing anything I could see to provoke it (and his companion also stood quietly with his head bowed).

Drug dealers are one thing, but it didn’t seem that this man was being accused of selling, just using. Now, as well as being arrested (likely, although I didn’t see it), he was also being bawled out in public by a mustachioed asshole.

Today being First Thursday, I’m guessing they were rounding up all the homeless so that the park will be less scary for rich art-loving sub/urbanites.

Working in this neighborhood, I see more than my share of homeless people and drug users. I try to keep up a strong and purposeful facade so nobody will bother me, but to be honest, the great majority are so much lost in their own worlds/heads that they don’t talk to anyone (or even get up very much).

It’s hard to say what the answer is that will solve the homeless problem. However, I feel like it needs to be addressed with sympathy and compassion, rather than anger and accusations.

Filed under: justice
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