1.6
July 26, 2011

This is how Democracy works. {Slacklining in Seattle is not a Crime}

Know your rights. Make eye contact. Be respectful. Don’t be intimidated.

Fear of police, and police intimidation (particularly around use of cell phones to video police activity) has been in the news too much, lately. Here’s a lesson in how to treat the law.

(…with openness, friendliness, respect—and knowledge of your rights)

Informed citizen meets uninformed ranger meets informed ranger meets respectful, humorous, fair police officer…equals happy ending.

Slacklining is not a Crime:

A confrontation between noted Seattle slackliner Adam Burtle and Seattle Parks and Recreation security officer D. Waterson. Mr. Waterson asserted that slacklining in parks is illegal, even with tree padding.

MR. WATERSON’S NOTABLE QUOTES:

“This is considered not legal in the park”
“We don’t recognize federal [safety guidelines], this is a city agency.”
“[The Seattle Park Rangers] work for me.”
“You need to get a park use permit.”
“Destruction of city property.”
“The police will come and cite you.”
(Have you ever cited someone for this before?) “Yes.”

POLICE ARRIVE:
“There’s nothing that I can … I can’t force you. I can ask as nicely as, you know, anybody.”
“You’re padding the trees, you’re conscious and aware…”
“There’s no type of violation that I know of.”
“Can you just walk like a little bit, I just wanna see…”

The last few minutes of the video should speak to the likely veracity of Mr. Waterson’s claims regarding legality, past citations issued, and so on. I also take issue with him, someone representing Parks and Recreation, asking us repeatedly to call 911 for what was clearly a non-emergency (especially when he later revealed he knew the non-emergency number from memory; I suspect he was simply trying to prejudice the police against us by inducing us into wrongly calling 911. The EMS system is not for personal or political mind games.).

More slacklining awesomeness.

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