Eviction of disabled vet can proceed, judge rules; mayor says it’s up to landlord, county now

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Jean and Byron Barton are threatened with eviction from their West Seattle home. (Photo: KCPQ-TV)

WEST SEATTLE — A disabled Vietnam veteran and his family are facing eviction once again — three weeks after protesters blocked an ambulance from taking him away from the home.

In July, Seattle police and the King County Sheriff’s Office tried to physically remove disabled Navy veteran Byron Barton from his home, but they gave up that day in the face of an overwhelming protest.

“It started off that my girlfriend and I, we chained him to the bed and chained ourselves to him, to keep them from taking him out,” Byron’s wife Jean Barton told Q13 FOX News in a previous interview.

After the protest, Seattle mayor Ed Murray instructed authorities to stand down from removing the Barton family until all options to help them had been explored.

A judge ruled Wednesday that Seattle police acted properly in exercising discretion for the past three weeks, but the landlords have the option of requesting King County to proceed with the eviction.

Murray said representatives from the city’s Office of Housing have been in contact with the family nearly every day giving them options for health and human services. He said the Barton family has not pursued any of those options while they continue to remain in the home.

“I want to add that, during these site visits, staff – who are mandatory reporters – observed conditions inside the residence that required them to submit reports to Adult Protective Services,” Murray said.

“I also said three weeks ago that the City would comply with any order from the court to proceed with the eviction, should it come to that.”

“Today, the judge decided that SPD acted properly in exercising its discretion over the past three weeks. The judge also ruled that the responsibility to execute any court order to remove the Bartons lies with King County. Triangle Properties now has the option to seek a writ against the King County Sheriff’s Office to proceed with the eviction,” Murray said.

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