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Downtown Spokane violence ‘an epidemic,’ man’s family says

Thu., Jan. 30, 2014

The family of a man whose nose was broken during an assault outside a downtown restaurant Monday night plans to appeal to the city to address what his son calls “an epidemic” of downtown violence.

Bruce Palmer, 56, was leaving the Steam Plant off South Lincoln Street with his wife, Billie, according to the family. Police say a group of teens stood in their path, striking their van with their palms and claiming Bruce Palmer had hit one of them with his vehicle. When Palmer got out to check for injuries, he got into an argument that became physical, police said.

Palmer’s son Riley said his father’s nose was broken in the altercation and he later went to the hospital. He said the family plans to publicly ask at a news conference this morning that the community address what the Palmers perceive as a violence problem.

“It’s not because our cops aren’t doing a good job, or that the mayor doesn’t care,” Riley Palmer said. “The truth is, it’s going to take a united effort to address this.”

Police said Tuesday the incident does not represent the downtown culture, where violent crime has seen a reduction from the same period last year.

Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder, who represents the downtown district, said he believes the area is safe, but several high-profile incidents in recent years have caused him to question whether more could be done to address crime.

“I think we have a safe downtown compared to a great number of cities,” Snyder said. “I bring my kids down there all the time. That doesn’t mean we still don’t have problems that need to be addressed.”

A 17-year-old male was taken into custody following Monday night’s incident, police said. He faces a fourth-degree assault charge.

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