Security cameras at Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop on 15th Avenue in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood recorded a woman with a hammer as she vandalized a brightly lit sign outside the business.
The sign said in big letters, “Please refrain from donating to panhandlers. Instead please consider donating to the Country Doctor Community Health center at our collection box inside. Thank you.”
Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg posted the surveillance video on Facebook along with a screenshot of tweets that criticized him for dehumanizing the homeless.
"We have a problem in this neighborhood of houseless people kind of blocking the sidewalk,” said Eisenberg. “Since we’ve opened, we’ve had a lot of neighborhood people come to us upset that there is an increased number of houseless people on this street, making them uncomfortable, blocking the sidewalk.”
Eisenberg said he put the sign inside his store about six months ago after the complaints from neighbors. He said he then moved the sign to the outside entrance of his business several weeks ago; days later, he said, the woman came with a hammer.
“What would you say to someone who calls you anti-homeless?” asked KIRO 7 reporter Michael Spears.
“I think we're trying to show compassion giving money to a free clinic or giving to any organization that's a nice charity, that's properly run,” said Eisenberg.
Uncle Ike’s next-door tenant on 15th Avenue, Raymond Angel, owner of Angel’s Shoe Repair, is on the board of directors for Country Doctor Community Health Centers, where Eisenberg said money donated inside the pot shop is sent.
"This is something that's helping the homeless people,” said Angel.
Uncle Ike’s has since fixed the damaged display case and replaced the wording of the sign that now does not include the word “panhandlers.”
Eisenberg said because of the vandalism, his business is now matching donations.
"Hammer girl did have a good effect for the houseless population because we are now doing a 100-percent match,” said Eisenberg.
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