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By Amber Randall

A Seattle, Wash., councilman implied that a new effort to clean excrement off the side walk outside the local courthouse could be racist Tuesday.

The crime and smell of urine and excrement have gotten so bad outside a King County courthouse that two judges are scrambling to find ways to fix the situation, reports the Seattle Times.

Seattle councilmember Larry Gossett isn’t a fan of one solution to power wash the feces sidewalks to tamp down on the smell. Power washing the sidewalks is too reminiscent of civil rights activists being hosed down, he said.

The area around the courthouse is surrounded by a homeless shelter and other social service organizations. Multiple assaults, harassment and drugs have been reported to the police in the area near the courthouse. Jurors have taken to asking judges to release them from jury duty and two jurors have been assaulted over the past two months.

“When they come to this courthouse they’re afraid to come in,” said King County Sheriff John Urquhart. “They’re afraid to walk down Third Avenue because what they see.”

Urquhart is asking for an $8,000 increase in budget from the King County Council to have deputies patrol the street. “There is public urination, defecation. That’s a crime,” Urquhart said. “There is smoking marijuana in public.”

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