King County’s Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) on Tuesday, Mar. 12, 2024 applauded Monday’s decision by King County Sheriff Patti Cole-Tindall to refuse enforcement of a Burien ordinance that criminalizes homelessness, and to seek relief in federal court declaring the code unconstitutional.

As we previously reported, Cole-Tindall filed a legal complaint with the United States District Court on Monday to determine the constitutionality of the latest expanded anti-camping ordinance (Ordinance 832) passed by the Burien City Council earlier this month. A motion for preliminary injunction addressing the Burien ordinance will be filed later this week for the court to decide in early April. 

“Since his hiring in late 2022, the Burien city manager has seemingly been carrying out a vendetta against unsheltered persons in Burien,” said Tamer Abouzeid, OLEO Director. “The extremes to which the city has gone, and the city’s continued refusal to utilize support offered by King County to help with issues of homelessness, belie any pretense that these actions are taken to improve public safety in Burien.

“Based on current case law, the code is prima facie unconstitutional; in addition to that, Burien’s anti-homeless policies are ineffective and counterproductive, whether at combatting homelessness itself or at improving public safety.”

As it has done throughout the past year, OLEO will continue to monitor the situation in Burien and to discuss the issues with community stakeholders, the Sheriff’s Office, and King County’s Community Advisory Committee for Law Enforcement Oversight (KCSO). 

“Research has shown that the criminalization of homelessness, especially in areas like Burien where there is insufficient housing and support, neither improves public safety nor ameliorates the factors leading to homelessness,” said OLEO Senior Policy Analyst Katy Kirschner. “As early as 2012 and as recently as last week’s State of the Union address by President Biden, the federal government has reiterated common-sense, uncontroversial ideas about homelessness: things like building affordable housing, lowering rent costs, and increasing access to behavioral health services help people escape the cycle of homelessness, while criminalization ‘creates a costly revolving door that circulates individuals experiencing homelessness from the street to the criminal justice system and back.’”

According to its website, OLEO “represents the interests of the public in its efforts to hold the King County Sheriff’s Office accountable for providing fair and just police services. It conducts audits, reviews, investigations and policy work, informed by community engagement and stakeholder partnerships.”

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.

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  1. OLEO Director Tamer Abouzeid has opinions. Here’s his opinion about the October 7, 2023 Hamas attack on Israel, reported on the King County website:

    Note also that despite receiving authority in November 2015 to investigate police deadly use of force, his OLEO has not implemented any such investigations, according to OLEO’s website.

    But don’t worry. We’re not wasting money on this man. His total King County pay for 2022 was only $180,000.

    In return we get these interesting opinions.

  2. Adolfo Bailon is a neighbor and a friend. He is one of the fairest people that I have. ever met. I don’t even know his political opinions. He looks at a situation and evaluates it according to the law and what is best for Burien and its citizens.
    I have no idea who that other person is and I don’t want to know more about him. He sounds biased and an advocate against the majority of Burien citizens. Negativity like his breeds more negativity. His opinion does not matter to me.

    against the citizens of Burien as a whole.

  3. Adolfo Bailon makes me embarrassed for my city.

    If you think he represents “majority of Burien citizens” then either, you’re majorly wrong, or this city sucks.

  4. When someone gets too rowdy, or too drunk, shows indecent exposure, smokes drugs openly or goes to the bathroom in random areas, or maybe is just acting mentally crazy inside of a bar/restaurant, or sporting venue, or dance hall, or grocery store, matter of fact all public establishments…. what happens to that person???? Well that person has accountability and is dealt with accordingly. But apparently if you say your homeless you can get away with all of that without being held accountable. Can’t imagine how many people have already and will start saying their homeless to get away with w/e they want. (We need a real sustainable solution that has strong enforced boundaries asap.)

  5. I don’t understand how this went full circle to having tents along 152nd again. There is garbage all over the place. I hate it! What happened to all the other plans? There has to be a path to make this better, For me, all along whether in Burien or Seattle, its the garbage that bothers me the most. If any homeowner left that much garbage on the sidewalk in front of their home they would get some sort of fine or citation. Why do we accept unacceptable behavior from people who live in tents?

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