Seattle business owners react to city attorney's interview on repeat offenders

SEATTLE - Seattle business owners are reacting to Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes' sit-down interview with Q13 News.

Holmes answered some tough questions on repeat offenders and business owners across Seattle who are upset over the level of harassment and crime they say they are seeing every day.

“They deserve to be frustrated,” Holmes said.

During Thursday’s interview, Holmes acknowledged that he's seen our station’s stories revealing the kind of chaotic crimes Jay and Trevor Boone have been dealing with at Emerald City Guitars.

After watching Pete’s interview, both men say they are still frustrated.

“That they don’t have things in line to address this situation,” Jay said.

“It just seems like you're dancing around the heart of the city to keep it healthy and clean, they are completely underwhelmed,” Trevor said.

Holmes highlighted the many hurdles and lack of resources within and beyond the criminal justice system to help repeat offenders who are mentally ill or drug addicted.

“We cannot by law impose criminal penalties on someone who is incompetent to stand trial that is just an absolute given,” Holmes said.

We pointed out to Jay and Boone the complexities facing the issue.

The Boones say they understand that it’s a complex issue with long term solutions. They are, however, disappointed that city leaders do not have some new plans yet.

“That's not our job these people are elected to have a grip of some sort,” Trevor said.

“I can understand his frustration because he's taken a lot of heat,” Jay said.

So has Mayor Jenny Durkan, the Boone's say they got some face time with her recently.

“It’s encouraging that we got to meet the mayor and at least they are paying attention,” Jay said.

The city has formed a working group with all relative parties to come up with some solutions.

“We will see right if change starts happening, her working group is effective. If nothing happens it's lip service,” Jay said.

Seattle business owners say they would like to see Gov. Jay Inslee get more involved.

“I don’t think he's interested in getting involved in what's going on here and I think he should,” Jay said.

Trevor called the activities going on in Pioneer Square a ‘disaster.’

“It's a dirty little secret because you want people to come down here as business leaders,” Trevor said.

It’s a disaster because the business owners say their community is not safe.

The most notorious incident for them was when Jay chased and tackled a repeat offender who had a gun out of his store.

Jay says it was against his better judgement and showed the level of frustration he is feeling.

Jay and the suspect struggled with the gun and it went off, but no one was hit.

Since that shooting incident 4 weeks ago, the Boones have continued to call police multiple times, including last week when they witnessed a man outside having a psychotic episode.

“One of these people running around with a hatchet cutting everything in site, cops showed up and 15 minutes later took the hatchet,” Trevor said.

The men say they are compassionate to the misery they see every day.

“There are some awesome people down here down on their luck .we know that those are not the guys chucking rocks at our store or taking a crap on our sidewalk, trying to pull a knife on people,” Jay said.

He says we need to distinguish people and go after them a different way, including treatment for those who suffer from a mental illness.

Holmes made it clear, the state and the county have to step up with mental health and drug resources.  As for next steps, again Holmes is a part of a working group formed by Mayor Durkan to come up with solutions. At this point, they do not have any specific programs or timelines to share with us. Gov. Inslee’s spokesperson also released a statement which reads in part:

"The governor has long been supportive of programs to divert people out of the criminal justice system to address their needs more effectively and reduce their rate of recidivism. His budget includes funds for programs that help people get the care they need before they enter the criminal justice system.”