Included in the records we got back from a recent FOIA request was a report about an encounter with Andrea Suarez by a Seattle Parks Department employee, and an accompanying note written by his manager that further elaborated on the incident Suarez cited during her discussion with him.
As it was told, Suarez attempted to take an encampment resident’s tent, to which he responded by throwing a hatchet at her. Suarez reported the incident to the police via a 911 call, and the hatchet thrower was taken into custody later that day.
Following the incident, Suarez approached the Parks employees and informed them of her plan to remove the remainder of the encampment. She acknowledged that she does not follow the advised guidelines that the city does for handling encampment removals, and told them she intended to leave what she collects during the effort in bags next to the garbage cans so that it just looks like regular trash.
It boggles the mind that Suarez seems not to understand why the city government wants nothing to do with her when she is so unapologetic about her willful noncompliance with the guidelines recommended by the city, and that they adhere to, for anything related to removing an encampment from city property.
Incident occurred at about 11:45 am (during lunch break)
Pete and I were in our separate trucks talking to each other when we were approached by a woman who wanted to speak to us. She told us that there was an occupant in the encampment at Sandel Park (west side, above play area) that threw a hatchet out of the tent at her. We were told she had called 911 to report it and that she wants to press charges on the individual.
She then began to tell us her plan on removing the encampments at Sandel, specifically the encampment that she said the person threw the hatchet at her. She told us her plan was to bag all of the items and tents and everything there and leave them at the nearest garbage can. She explained that she’s aware of the Parks Department having protocols on how to properly remove encampment items, but she said if it is left by the garbage cans in liners that it would look like we were just removing garbage from the park.
At this point I asked if she was working with the encampment team on this removal and she said no because she has been trying to get them to work with her for a year and a half but they do not respond to her at all. Pete and I were confused about the situation because she didn’t explain who she was or whether this was a project being ran by volunteers working with the city so that’s why I started asking her questions about who she was working with and if the city was involved. I was told she knows Christopher Williams very well and Donna Walters knows her as well, but it sounded like she was there on her own and was trying to conduct a removal on her own. She then said that she just wanted us to know they would be leaving all the garbage by the cans, gave us her business card and left.
The director’s note
We had district staff onsite when this occurred. We Heart Seattle was attempting to remove this campers tent and he threw a hatchet at Andrea. Below is what our district staff reported. Currently there is a pile of debris that the crew will remove tomorrow.