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KIRO 7's previous coverage of courthouse attacks in Seattle

Below you can find KIRO 7's previous coverage of courthouse attacks in Seattle

July 11, 2018 - Three assaulted at King County Courthouse on same day

According to investigative documents, a defense attorney was body-checked on his way into the King County Courthouse June 19 by 29-year old Ibrahima Diallo of Des Moines, who then allegedly attacked another man in the same way, seconds later.

A female court clerk was then hit in the stomach, also allegedly by Diallo.

“Before she could get outside, the suspect ended up punching her in the stomach,” King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ryan Abbott told KIRO 7 Wednesday about the apparently unprovoked attack.

“We don’t know why.  He’s never met her, she’s never met him,” Abbott said.

Diallo was arrested for assault, but despite three alleged victims, he was released from jail without having to post bail.  According to King County District Court documents, “court does not find probable cause” to keep him behind bars.

Charges on two of the alleged June 19 assaults are still pending. The third alleged victim declined to stay at the courthouse long enough to be interviewed by investigators.

Meanwhile, Diallo is again behind bars.

He was arrested July 9 on suspicion of two unrelated assaults and a criminal trespass. Sgt. Abbott told KIRO 7, since Diallo was booked for the courthouse incidents he has been rearrested and released from jail “four or five times, for different things.”

Crime at the King County Courthouse is an ongoing problem.

Alicia Damon of Seattle told KIRO 7 she “absolutely” does not feel safe at the courthouse. “I’ve seen people get stabbed, get shot, fights.

People sell drugs all night long, sleep on the streets all night.  It’s just dangerous right here,” Damon said.

A judge who asked not to be identified told KIRO 7 that multiple jail and law enforcement officers, court employees, jurors, lawyers and an intern have all been assaulted, harassed and spat-on -- by multiple suspects --- in just the past six months.

Both the King County Sheriff's Office and Seattle Police Department have stepped-up their presence in the area in recent months.  Power-washing now happens two-three times a week, instead of once a month, and meetings between court and city leaders continue to address what can be done to make the courthouse more safe.

Abbott said, despite the three attacks in one day, “I feel like improvements have been made.”

“It’s supposed to be a safe place.  You’re supposed to feel safe here,” he said.

May 31, 2017 - Homeless felon charged in random assault on juror

A man arriving for jury duty in Seattle was brutally assaulted outside the King County Courthouse just before 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Because of the random attack, both the Seattle Police Department and King County Metro bicycle officers have increased patrols in the area in order to keep all visitors and courthouse employees safe.

According to a Seattle Police Department incident report, the victim was struck four to five times in the face and then was head-butted as he lay on the ground.

A homeless convicted felon – 41-year old Marcus DeWayne Wilson -- was arrested and charged with one count of assault in Seattle Municipal Court.

During his arrest, Wilson told officers the victim had “bumped into him and that’s why there was a fight,” according to court documents.

Wilson is still behind bars.

He has an extensive criminal history that includes felony convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm, eluding police and tampering with a witness.

He’s also been convicted of assault, theft, obstruction, resisting arrest and multiple drug crimes.

Sgt Sean Whitcomb of the Seattle Police Department told KIRO 7 on Wednesday that the area outside the courthouse “is an important area for us.

People coming to court can expect to see a uniformed presence, and we will continue with these patrols as needed.”

While being interviewed by police, the victim said he “never goes downtown” but had arrived to fulfill his civic duty if seated on a jury.

Whitcomb told KIRO 7 that Wilson is also suspected of getting into a physical altercation with someone else outside the courthouse Tuesday morning but that there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest him or pursue criminal charges in that case.

Click here to read the full story.

July 11, 2017 - King County to examine growing attacks on jurors, employees near courthouse

King County leaders, judges, and other employees are raising concerns about growing attacks on people outside the King County courthouse, with judges calling the violence an urgent and escalating problem.

A public meeting with King County councilmembers, the King County sheriff, judges and others is being held about the issue at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart will testify in front of the King County Government and Oversight Committee about the attacks and the possibility of bringing in deputies on overtime to help provide more foot patrols, at a cost of as much as $10,000 a month.

In addition to a juror who was brutally attacked in May, KIRO 7 has discovered another juror was assaulted outside the courthouse in June. She said she was coming back from lunch when a man pushed her against a wall, hit her in the chest, broke her coffee cup, then stood over her before running away.

Sirens have become commonplace on Third Avenue outside the courthouse.

“Honestly, I come down here very rarely for that reason,” Seattle resident Corinne Romano said.

Shouting is common as well.

“Even when we were waiting just now, we saw random people shouting,” said Amy Lam, who works in the area.

Frustrations and concerns have been growing.

In a Facebook post, Superior Court Judge Sean O’Donnell asked, “Is 3rd Avenue, between Jefferson and James Streets, safe in Seattle?” He described “open air drug deals, assaults, robberies, people defecating and urinating on the streets,” adding, “I've worked at the Courthouse on 3rd and James in Seattle for 15 years, and I've never seen conditions worse.”

KIRO 7 also learned in the month of June, a court employee was shoved walking across Third Street, a witness in a trial was harassed, and there were several other incidents with court employees being physically assaulted or being the victims of indecent exposure.

Click here to read the full story.

April 24, 2018 - King County commissioners get updates on attacks on jurors, employees near courthouse

King County commissioners got an update Tuesday morning on violence and security outside the county courthouse.

Last July, KIRO 7 first reported about the about the growing number of assaults on jurors and courthouse staff, especially on Third Avenue.

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht and Seattle police leaders briefed county commissioners on the safety situation after October’s initial meeting.

The issue heated up when a number of people, including judges, called the violence an urgent and escalating problem.

In addition to a juror who was brutally attacked last May, another juror was assaulted outside the courthouse last June. She said she was coming back from lunch when a man pushed her against a wall, hit her in the chest, broke her coffee cup, then stood over her before running away.

"We've have people at the courthouse retire early because they've been assaulted on the streets outside here," said King Council Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer.

Tents populate the area under the Yesler Bridge in downtown Seattle, less than a block away from the King County Courthouse.

Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen said while riding a bus downtown, she saw how a coworker avoids confrontations with the people living in them.

"I was perplexed that he didn't get off at the same time. Later he told me, 'Oh, I never get off at that bus stop. You have to walk through all the tents that are blocking the sidewalks,'" said Inveen.

Seattle police said as temperatures heat up, they will be performing more emphasis patrols on Third and Fourth avenues, corners they say are among the highest or second highest response areas in the entire city.

Homeless tents are already regularly cleared out in the nearby City Hall Park, power washing of sidewalks where people are urinating and defecating happens two to three times a week, and police say by making themselves more visible, they are getting a slowdown in assault numbers.

But all agencies at the meeting agreed, the problem is complex with solutions that take time to implement.

At one point, KIRO 7 was told that assaults outside the courthouse were so common that staff had simply stopped reporting the harassment.

Court safety and facility operators say they're also encouraging jurors and court staff to report every incident of harassment that happens to better inform police.

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