This past weekend, police arrested Marcelles Orr in downtown Seattle on a probation violation.
The 15-year-old was hiding out in a notorious tent encampment on 3rd Avenue near City Hall, smoking fentanyl with several other teen runaways.
Ironically, Marcelles’ grandmother Selina Daniels is the one who called Seattle Police on him.
She arrived on the scene after the arrest to show her grandson some tough love.
“I’m still running after you. I’m still running after you Marcelles. You got to stop” Daniels told him.
Daniels is now begging authorities to keep her grandson locked up so that he can get mental health and addiction treatment. She says, “Marcelles is a danger to himself and a danger to the community.”
The last time around, Orr only served a few months in juvenile detention for throwing rocks at a gas station. Daniels says a King County judge released him before he could get any help.
Marcelles came back home and ran away the very next day.
Daniels laments that “the system is so broken, it’s just really sad.”
Technically, Daniels is Orr’s foster parent. But she has full custody of him and his two other siblings. She explains, “and before that, I took care of their mother.”
I ask her, “so where’s his mother right now?” Daniels replies that she’s “on drugs. On the streets. Living wherever.”
The children have never met their father.
Prior to his run-ins with the law, Orr attended South Shore School in Seattle.
Marcelles’ special education teacher, Alex Rankin, says the young man was lured onto the streets by other peers using hard drugs. “He got mostly A’s and B’s. Right around this time last year, he ran away or just stopped going home consistently” he continues, “I don’t think it’s a housing issue. I think he just got caught up in the street life. It doesn’t seem like the system is helping him out.”
Victoria Beach chairs Seattle Police Department’s African American Community Advisory Council and says there needs to be juvenile justice reform: “Not to lock up our youth for years and years and years…but to require treatment for drugs and mental health disorders. As a holding place to get them help.”
Beach notes that “so many young men and women say being locked up saved my life.”
After missing for weeks, Daniels says she saw her grandson in the viral video I recorded last month at the problematic encampment near city hall.
Daniels tells me, “I seen him running across third avenue. From one side of the street to the other with an axe or hatchet in his hand. I’m like, that is my grandson.”
That’s when she realized it was time to ask the entire community for help. Daniels says even with a loving home, she can longer do this on her own: “I’m begging for someone to help me.”
Listen to Selina Daniels and Victoria Beach explain why we need the Juvenile Detention system: