SEATTLE - After a brief reprieve from an eviction, the King County Sheriff’s Office removed a disabled Vietnam veteran and his family from their West Seattle home, but this time, activists staged what they called an “eviction blockade” and blocked an ambulance outside the home.
Activists from the organization Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction stood on the porch and chanted when a deputy arrived to serve the court-ordered eviction notice to Jean and Byron Barton again on Friday.
The couple at first had chained themselves to the bed in another effort to stay in their foreclosed home.
But medics arrived and Byron Barton, who cannot walk and has had a stroke, was put into an ambulance to be transported to the VA hospital, but protesters lined up underneath it, lying down. Seattle police then arrived, along with multiple deputies, who worked to remove protesters from the yard and away from the ambulance. Some were dragged away, screaming.
Byron told KIRO 7 he wants to stay at the home and was being forced out against his will. After Barton was loaded into the ambulance, he was taken back out and placed outside on the sidewalk when the protesters refused to budge. But by then, the locks on his house had been changed and his family had nowhere to go.
After police left, protestors said they "discovered" the house was unsecured and put Byron back inside. As his wife hooked up his IV and put him back into bed, Byron said, "What are they going to do, arrest me?"
The Bartons have lost their home to foreclosure and a deputy first arrived last month to evict the family.
But the Bartons said when the deputy went inside the house, what he saw made him change his mind.
"When he saw how disabled he was he said 'Oh, I'm not going to throw you out on the streets, this is ridiculous, they didn't tell me he was this disabled,'" said Jean Barton.
Jean Barton said it was an act of mercy.
She said because of Byron Barton's condition, the deputy gave them more time to try to get their eviction stopped, even arguing on the phone with the company that purchased the house at auction.
Byron Barton is spending his life in a wheelchair or a hospital bed. His wife, Jean, works for Mary's Place, a homeless services agency in Seattle. They have two teenagers, Brandon and Bryan.
The Bartons said the deputy gave them at least another week to get the eviction stopped or move out.
On Friday, another deputy returned, but this time, faced with tenacious protesters.
When KIRO 7 contacted Triangle Property Management about the incident last month, it said it made several attempts to resolve the matter amicably, which included offers of assistance, but were forced to seek relief from the court.