SEATTLE -- Police say Francisco Calderon, a prolific offender, randomly attacked a toddler by throwing coffee on them outside the downtown Gap store along Pine Street.
“It’s shocking, it’s terrible. It’s not what you want to see in the middle of our city,” Downtown Seattle Association President Jon Scholes said.
The 2-year-old didn’t have to be taken to the hospital, but police say the child appeared to be “staring off into space, possibly in shock.”
“What we are doing now with a small population of people who are dealing with mental illness and substance abuse is not working,” Scholes said.
Scholes says it’s not a good look for the city. He says the family of the toddler was visiting from out of state. Police reports state the father of the boy punched Calderon several times to protect his son.
But before the coffee throwing incident, police say Calderon was disruptive inside and outside of the Gap.
Scholes says he’s frustrated over the city’s handling of repeat offenders.
Calderon was one of 100 prolific offenders named in the System Failure report commissioned in part by the Downtown Seattle Association back in February.
“We need to develop a whole new approach,” Scholes said.
But the approach is complicated, even leading to infighting within the legal department.
Back in April, City Attorney Pete Holmes together with the Public Defender’s Office publicly called on Municipal Court Judge Edward McKenna to step down over the handling of Calderon’s case.
Holmes says instead of going with a plea deal that included treatment, McKenna went with an extraordinary sentence of a year in jail for a 2018 assault case.
On Tuesday, Holmes declined an interview about the latest developments. But his office pointed the finger at McKenna again.
Deputy City Attorney John Schochet released a statement which reads in part:
“We sought to address the defendant’s underlying behavior through mental health treatment, which he was willing to undergo for the first time in his lengthy criminal history, together with random UA’s and the ability to reimpose 10 months of suspended jail time. The Court chose to impose the 'maximum' sentence for a gross misdemeanor, without treatment, which, as expected, was reduced by the jail for good behavior.”
“Don’t think finger-pointing within the criminal justice system is going to get us anywhere,” Scholes said.
McKenna’s spokesperson says the judge could not make a comment since it’s an open case in Municipal Court.
But back in February, McKenna spoke with Q13 News and he was critical of what was not working. He said the legal system was not equipped in dealing with many of the repeat offenders. He also said judges were expected to follow plea deals worked out by prosecutors and defense attorneys.
But in Calderon’s case, he said safety concerns pushed him not to take the plea deal. Instead, he sentenced Calderon to a year in jail, the maximum sentence that could be imposed in Municipal Court.
Criminal history was a factor, as well as the fact that previous interventions did not work.
Despite what the City Attorney’s Office is saying, Q13 News obtained court documents from 2016 showing that Calderon had requested treatment before, specifically chemical dependency treatment.
In 2016 he was charged with assaulting a woman, and a judge released him on the condition of the requested treatment. But he did not follow through and about four days later he was accused of burglary.
“We can’t leave it to them to get this treatment, risk the safety of the public; state laws allow for involuntary commitment for folks who are a danger to themselves and others,” Scholes said.
Since February, 86 of the 100 people listed in the System Failure report have reoffended.
And 20 of the 100 have had three bookings. In all, there have been 175 additional bookings.