Private Security Guards Hired by Seattle Parks Leave On First Night Over Harassment

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Private security guards hired to keep a city-owned park free of protesters left their posts after just a few hours when they say they were verbally harassed and threatened by would-be activists.

Cal Anderson Park in Seattle has been closed since June 30. It was cleared on Tuesday so that the city could make repairs to a field house that was damaged in the protests. During a search of several tents left there, police officers and park staff found a cache of weapons including a machete, a hatchet, makeshift shields and homemade spike strips.

A private security company, the Jaguar Security Firm, was hired to keep the park clear from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday.

As soon as the private security detail arrived they encountered a group, some of whom were armed with “poles and sticks,” says Jaguar’s owner, Ricky McGhee.

“I went there to make sure, as the owner of the company, that nothing serious would go down. I wanted to make sure everything was going to be cool,” McGhee said. “As soon as we entered that park, they started verbally attacking us…calling us all kinds of names like ‘sellouts’ and [telling us] what they would do to us.”

He said he called police and was instructed to walk to the sidewalk and wait for officers. Jaguar’s guards were armed, but were not “looking for a fight,” McGee said.

Jaguar Security did not return to the park on Wednesday.

Photo by Joe Mabel

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