“Open Air Drug Market” Cited As Source Of Violence In Townhall
March 4, 2020
In a recent KOMO News special “town hall” hosted by KOMO journalist Eric Johnson, police, business leaders, and residents highlighted the many challenges and forces behind downtown Seattle’s seeming surge in violence in the last several months.
One overriding factor that business leaders pointed to was what they described as an “open air drug market” operating unobstructed in downtown Seattle.
Scholes described the drug market as “firmly cemented” in the middle of Seattle’s downtown.
JOHN SCHOLES: As the CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association, this is not the storyline I want to be broadcasting. But we’re going to be honest about the challenge we face. And the challenge is that we have a drug market that is firmly cemented in the middle of our downtown. And it’s been that way for three decades. It’s the worst kept secret in Seattle. Everybody that passes through there, they see the criminal activity.
Eric Johnson described the drug market downtown as something that almost anyone can easily see. He pointed out that he and a camera crew were able to easily shoot video of drug deals happening in a specific area.
JOHNSON: You two have seen what I have seen and also our viewers have seen I stood on that overpass next to season look down on the corner and watch the drug eels happen, left after right after left. One after another. You could just see yet. We shot video of it. How could this be happening?
Attorney Scott Lindsay said the open-air drug market “invites and generates crime.”
SCOTT LINDSAY: it does, we should be skeptical that the stop that the city is taking will change the environment right now. for these two folks, rather than focusing on them, i want to focus on the place. because, for me, it is the open- air drug market that invites and generates crime. yes, we all wish that the didn’t have guns, yes, we wish that there were greater interventions in their life along the course of the 60 prior arrests that could have disrupted their activity. but you have to understand that it is that environment, there is a reason this happened there at that corner on pine street. there is a reason why they were at that location. it is because this is the place where drug dealers are rubbing shoulder to shoulder and that kind of contact creates friction, creates violence, and, unfortunately, the fatality and the injury here.