(Photo by David Hutchinson)
ORIGINAL 8:31 PM REPORT: We are on Alki checking into a sizable police presence, after tips came in about cruisers heading this way. One tipster says a fight had broken out, but right now there’s no sign of that – the police presence appears to be more a show of preventive force, including a double-digit Gang Unit contingent. We would recommend avoiding driving this way – some traffic was being diverted a block inland, past Whale Tail. 8:38 PM: We just talked to police. A series of relatively small fights brought them out in force to make sure nothing worse happens, since there are many people here celebrating the 1st night of summer vacation. 9:25 PM: We’re back at HQ and adding photos. David Hutchinson‘s image of the gang-unit presence (which had broken up by the time we left shortly after 9) is the most dramatic scene we saw. Before our arrival, he says, a young woman had been cuffed and placed in a police car; we have not confirmed any arrests but will follow up on this tomorrow. 9:45 PM: Adding one more photo, this one from Benjamin Hutchinson, with a little more of an overview of the crowd that was out earlier – about the same density we saw when arriving around 8:15:
At least one of tonight’s fights, according to David Hutchinson, happened near Pepperdock – which, you may recall, was where last year’s most serious Alki incident happened, the shooting on May 1, 2009 (WSB coverage here). 10:39 PM: Worth noting – one commenter points out the mayor’s announcement today of a “Late-Night Safety Initiative.” Here’s the official SPD announcement. While its focus is on Friday and Saturday nights, and primarily neighborhoods near downtown, it’s noted “this model will work in any neighborhood” and the announcement’s concluding line certainly resonates given what happened tonight:
The hope is that the additional uniformed patrols will encourage citizens from all over Puget Sound to visit popular Seattle destination points and do so without fear of harm.