Seattle Parks hired private security leaves first night after harassment
Private security guards hired to keep people out of a Seattle-owned park during off-peak hours left on their first shift after being verbally harassed.
Cal Anderson Park has been closed since June 30 and was cleaned up on Tuesday so the city could repair a country house damaged during the protests. During a search of several tents, officers and park staff found a machete, an ax, makeshift shields and thongs of homemade spikes.
The city hired security firm Jaguar to place guards in the park to prevent people from entering the property between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., Ricky McGhee, owner of the facility, told Fox News. business. McGhee said he went to the park with two armed security guards and immediately encountered a group, some of whom were armed with “poles and sticks”.
MAN FROM SEATTLE ARRESTED ON SUSPECTION OF MAKING A BOMB THREAT, AFFIRMING EXPLOSIVES PLACED IN PORTLAND POLICE OFFICE
âI went there to make sure, as the owner of the business, that nothing bad would fall out. I wanted to make sure everything was okay,â McGhee said. “As soon as we entered this park, they started to verbally attack us … [telling us] what they would do to us. “
Someone also shone a bright light on McGhee and his employees, making it difficult to identify them, he said. He disputed media reports that he was kicked out of the park.
He said he called the police and was told to walk to the sidewalk and wait for the officers. Video shows three security guards walking towards the street as people, mostly dressed in black, yell at them.
The guards were armed, but weren’t looking to fight, McGhee said. They were âseasonedâ and âdid not try to go to jailâ. Jaguar Security did not return to the park on Wednesday.
Seattle Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Rachel Schulkin told Fox News the city is working with Jaguar “night after night” because “we re-assess the security needs of Cal Anderson Park on a daily basis.”
“Jaguar Security chose to leave the park on Tuesday evening because the large crowd of protesters did not respond to dispersal requests, continued to harass security guards and for the sake of not making the situation worse,” she said.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
McGhee told Fox News he is working with the city to come up with a plan for his employees to return safely.
âThese people who do this stuff, they put themselves in danger,â he said. “We could have engaged as soon as they put those lights in our eyes and had these guns in their hands.”
Some Seattle residents and business owners have complained about protesters and homeless people occupying and damaging parks and private property amid the ongoing protests. Others said they had been threatened verbally and physically by protesters for the simple fact of being in a park or filming in a public space.