Late night teen violence plaguing downtown businesses
A group of ragtag kids and teens are terrorizing downtown businesses, with multiple reports of cars being broken into, knives pulled on patrons and employees getting beat up. Before police can respond though, the kids scatter.
Two Saturdays ago, Dave Reynolds was jumped by a group of 20 kids and teens. The combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan didn't stand a chance.
“I've been to Iraq, Afghanistan, I was an infantryman, I've been in very vulnerable situations,” Reynolds said. “It's a group of teenagers and when you look at that and put it into perspective it doesn't seem it would be that big of a deal, but when they get into a large group or in a pack well... a lot of fists can do a lot of damage.”
Reynolds is a bouncer at Jimmy'Z and was walking to his motorcycle around two a.m. when one of the teens asked if he could have his helmet. Reynolds said no and when one of the teens reached out to shake his hand and apologize for being rude, he was punched in the side of the head by another teen in the group.
“I was completely unconscious in the middle of the road and they were stomping me in the face and kicking me in the head,” Reynolds said. The teens also knocked Reynold's girlfriend unconscious when she tried to defend him.
Reynolds was rushed to the emergency room and learned the group fractured his cheek bone, his eye socket in two places and broke his nose. Two weeks later you can still see bruises and broken blood vessels in his left eye.
His story is echoed throughout downtown Spokane businesses. Two cooks at The Satellite Diner have been beaten to the point of being hospitalized – one with a skull fracture. The owners of the Satellite keep a log of the incidents yet, they say, police aren't doing enough.
KXLY took the stories and pictures of Reynolds to City Council President Ben Stuckart.
“That's horrible, that's absolutely horrible, we can't have that happening in our downtown, it's vital to businesses that people want to go downtown,” Stuckart said upon seeing Reynolds beaten and bloodied.
Stuckart has been working closely with The Satellite Diner and even recently stopped by at 2:30 in the morning to witness the “mayhem” himself. The idea of a curfew for certain age groups has been brought to the table, but Stuckart says most cities that try to enact a curfew are shot down by the courts because they violate freedom of movement and expression.
“Me, frankly, you might have told me two years ago 'Oh a curfew' and I'd say 'What? What's that all about?' but in reality I think that's one of the solutions and we're looking at trying to craft an ordinance that's restrictive enough that it meets the state constitution but also meets our citizens needs,” Stuckart said.
Police have increased their bike cop patrols downtown and they've seen a slight improvement in the number of incidents that occur.
“This was on our top priority list of our public safety meeting last week, we had a long discussion with the police chief about what he can do, part of it is a resource issue,” Stuckart said. “If we could just throw a couple more cops downtown maybe we'd solve it but with looking at budget cuts next year that's not a solution we're just able to do."
Reynolds and the rest of the downtown businesses hope the solution comes sooner rather than later.
“People doesn't want to get harassed when they go downtown, they don't want to worry about 'is someone going to try and steal something from me' or 'am I going to get a knife pulled on me?'” Reynolds said.
Tuesday night, the Riverside Neighborhood Council, which includes many of the downtown businesses raising concerns about escalating violence, are meeting at the downtown library at five o'clock to address the issue.
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