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Busted again: “Traveller’s” appearance at City Hall violated Anderson’s court order, police say

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Nov. 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm with 23 Comments »
November 11, 2009 4:55 pm

UPDATE: (4:20 p.m.) I just got off the phone with Robert Hill, and have updated this post to include his comments.

Police on Tuesday arrested well-known figure Robert Jesse Hill after he walked into City Council chambers just before the Tacoma council was set to meet, violating a restraining order taken out against him by Deputy Mayor Julie Anderson.

Locally infamous for his political antics and odd-ball behavior, Hill, 39, who often goes by the self-styled nickname, “The Traveller,” was held late Tuesday in the Pierce County Jail.

The many faces of The Traveller
The many faces of The Traveller

The arrest, for violation of a civil anti-harassment order that prohibits him from entering City Hall, was Hill’s fourth since Oct. 30, jail records show.

“When people don’t have personal boundaries, sometimes we need to provide them for them,” said Anderson, who was granted the order against Hill on Friday.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Hill claimed he hadn’t been served with the anti-harassment order when he walked into City Hall Tuesday. A police officer “waved a page in front of my face and said, `50-feet, 50-feet!,'” said Hill, adding he paid $200 bond and was released from custody Tuesday night.

“They don’t want me there, I guess,” Hill said. “And I had stuff to say. I don’t know why I don’t have a right to public access to City Hall anymore.”

A Pierce County District Court judge granted Anderson’s petition for the emergency order after she alleged that Hill recently has engaged in a series of bizarre behavior towards her, including communications “laced with sexual overtones and references.”

Anderson’s petition states Hill showed up at her home uninvited on Oct. 28.

“I clearly told him that I did not want him to be on my property again,” Anderson wrote.

The petition also alleges Hill distributed hundreds of Election Day flyers — sources described them as sexually charged — that advertised a party for Anderson’s successful campaign for Pierce County auditor.

“He also came to City Hall to deliver roses and a greeting card, saying that he liked our `date’ and asking me to go out with me this weekend,” Anderson’s petition states.

Anderson noted she sought the protection order against Hill on the advice of Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell and Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor.

Julie Anderson
Julie Anderson

“Although he has never threatened me, TPD reports that Robert Hill’s behavior appears to be escalating rapidly,” Anderson wrote. “Also, in my years of interacting with Mr. Hill, I have never seen him so aggressive and so disrespectful of personal boundaries.”

The court granted Anderson’s requests that Hill be prohibited from attempting to contact or follow her, and from coming within 100 feet of her home. Though Anderson did not specifically ask for it, a judge also included a condition banning Hill from going within 100 feet of Anderson’s work place: City Hall.

The temporary anti-harassment order remains in effect until a hearing later this month to consider whether it should be made permanent. Under state law, the court must review the petition within 14 days and decide to grant an order effective for up to one year. Hill said today that the hearing is set for Friday afternoon.

Throughout the day Tuesday, Hill phoned several reporters at The News Tribune to say, among other things, that he will seek the city council’s appointment to Anderson’s seat, which she will vacate later this month when taking over the auditor’s job.

Shortly before Tuesday’s council meeting, Hill walked into council chambers with a hat pulled down to his eyes and leading a small dog on a leash, a city security guard said. Tacoma police arrested Hill without incident a short time later.

“He violated the court order just by showing up,” said Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum.

Hill may have violated the order again after his release from jail. On Wednesday afternoon, he told a reporter he had just called Anderson.

“I just called her a half an hour ago, saying, `Hi. What’s going on,'” Hill said. “We’re on talking terms and stuff. I mean, I left her a message. What’s wrong with that?”

A frequent attendee of public meetings who has run for sheriff and other elected office, Hill has been removed from several council sessions for disruptive behavior. In recent years, he has showed up at public meetings in various costumes and with signs promoting masturbation. At one meeting, city officials say he wore loose-fitting shorts and sat in the front row in a way that exposed himself to at least one council member.

“At one meeting he dropped his pants,” city spokesman Rob McNair-Huff said. “At other meetings, he has used his time at the podium more for performance. Last week, he started singing.”

Hill’s long rap-sheet includes an arrest last year for bringing a replica-gun into the County-City Building, after which he was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital. Hill has tallied at least a dozen arrests since 2008 for charges including obstructing police, forgery, assault and weapons violations, jail records show.

In September, “The Traveller” traveled to the U.S. Capitol, where he waved around a $10,000 U.S. gold bond “trying to get on CNN,” said Sgt. Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman.

After disrupting a Congressional sub-committee hearing and unsuccessfully trying to meet with several politicians, security escorted Hill “out of the building to make sure he was not following the congressmen,” Troyer said.

Hill’s trip home garnered more trouble. Police confronted Hill at the Newark airport for illegally distributing campaign literature, and later removed Hill from an airplane, Troyer said. Hill ended up in a New Jersey mental hospital for evaluation, Troyer added.

Anderson’s court petition came three days before Hill allegedly distributed an Internet link to a list of scanned images, including one entitled “The Face of Julie” that contained a pornographic photo. Hill allegedly emailed the link to local politicians and others as part of a plea for contributions to his “legal defense” to three recent arrests, for which he denies wrongdoing.

“It’s rather hard to prove I’m being harassed,” the email says. “However, considering that I seem to be making progress on a number of fronts, leads me to believe that there are a collusion of interests in seeing me fail.”

The email, which promotes a presidential run for Anderson in 2020, added: “I believe I will be arrested… for something … again … before the month is out.”

News Tribune Reporter Adam Lynn contributed to this report.

Leave a comment Comments → 23
  1. pegsterdtown says:

    This is very disturbing. I am glad that Julie took action on this matter. I also believe that Robert Hill’s behavior has escalated. I believe that Robert needs help and I believe it should be done in a very timely matter. I am afraid of the outcome if he does not get the professional help that he so very obiviously needs.

  2. paulandsoon says:

    I get a kick out of “the Traveller”. That’s why I vote for him.

    Considering the ballot each time, a vote for the “Traveller” isn’t much of a waste.

  3. pegsterdtown says:

    Would you also like to watch the sideshow freaks of the circus of yore. These people were abused and freaks of nature, people like you think that this is fun. I believe this to be sad and very disturbing. I see that you like to see someone that is in pain and suffering and making it a “fun thing”. This makes me wonder about you as a person and human being.

  4. I believe is ‘escalation’ is a symptom of the LAW trying to put him away for being different. After the patriot act there is no room for visibly ‘nutty’ people in the world.

    – sending roses to political leaders is a non-violent positive-reinforcement practice widely used in India.

    – saying you’re having a wet t-shirt contest to celebrate your candidate is funny (Hustler made whole movies about Sara Palin)!

    – an artistic nude photograph is not ‘pornographic’

    – the forgery charge was a scribble on a piece of paper and a technicality

    – fake gun thing is weird but supposedly ‘sane’ people are bringing machine guns to anti-obama rallies… which to me is truly INSANE.

    this ‘wrap sheet’ is as flimsy as a 2 dollar bill.

  5. When an unpredictable, likely mentally unstable person starts obsessing over you, leaving you phone messages, writing you harassing letters, showing up at your house… You SHOULD get a protective order against someone who is doing what Hill has been doing. He is not being singled out for being different; he’s facing the consequences for harassment.

  6. TPD is making mental illness into a crime.

  7. AND what a sneaky way to prevent a citizen from speaking at public comment.

  8. pcinsider1 says:

    I wonder if Julie will get a permanent anti-harrassment order and extend it to prohibit him from coming into the Pierce Co Public Services Building once she become auditor? He was just arrested in the building on Oct 31st and she hasn’t even taken office yet. Those of us in public service are very familiar with Jessie, have received his obscene “gift certificates” and know about his obsession with the Co Exec and the current Auditor. He’s “crashed” private campaign events and been removed by local law enforcement, but this is the first I’ve heard that he has gone to someone’s home. That is scary and since he often carries fake weapons, its not such a stretch to think he might someday have the real thing. Mentally ill or not, his persistance is unsettling.

  9. pegsterdtown says:

    NineInchNachosII :
    regarding your comment above it is good to see that you do think there is some mental illness there. I was beginingto wonder……….

  10. Bummer he has the restraining order keeping him from the County City Building. He’d fit right in as a superior court judge.

  11. The dude is running like 100 campaigns, is it not customary for candidates to ‘doorbell’ ? Did I get a restraining order against that Kevin Robelifski after he kept leaving strainge fire fighter cards in my mailbox? No. Because I am living in a democracy where people are fighting a futile war for our rights and the illusion of freedom.

    God Bless Turtle Island

  12. PolarBear53 says:

    This is funny………..

  13. m9078jk3 says:

    I always vote for the Traveller as well (even as a write in on many other positions) and encourage others to do the same.My friends family voted entirely for him when he ran for the office of Pierce County Sheriff.
    Robert Jesse Hill is a legend in Tacoma and he is absolutely harmless (well except for attempting to peacefully overthrow the status quo establishment by election).
    He is being continually persecuted by evil and dangerous people (those in power).

  14. I think hes insane .

  15. DrWernerKlopek says:

    I clicked on the “Perennial candidate jailed for violating City Hall restraining order” link expecting it to be about Will Baker. I had not heard about the Traveller since he went to jail for several months. A Julie Anderson fixation? Well she is kind of nuts.

    I agree mostly with NineInchNachos’ points. That is all.

  16. ClownPosse says:

    Don’t flatter yourself Ms. Anderson !

    You probably remind him of his foul tempered, agressive, ill-mannered mother !

  17. Davidson100 says:

    Wasn’t a couple of his arrests for attempting to buy REAL firearms and silencers for weapons?

    Anyone who has ever interacted with him can tell he is VERY intelligent. He knows where the limits are, but chooses to cross the line.
    I used to think him harmless, but he has elevated it from sparking civic dialog about uncomfortable subjects to menacing and harassing.

    Before he sought the spotlight, people would have described him as quiet guy, keeps to him self alot. where have i heard that before?

    I wish the TNT would not continue to re-enforce his behavior with coverage.

  18. PolarBear53 says:

    Franks and beans franks and beans. Whatever you do don’t touch the ear muffs.

  19. I don’t think they can or should restrain him from Council Chambers. Chambers always has Police presence.

    Anderson’s home is fine.

    At this point the situation has escalated enough that the responses of government may be the biggest mental health problem Hill faces.

  20. crappyemailname says:

    Hey, NineInchNachosII, is this Robert Hill guy a pal of yours, cause you sure speak like it and you sure provide a lot of excuses for some very odd behavior. This Robert Hill guy sounds like he doesn’t have much of a life and gets his jollies by being in the limelight by givng politicians a bad time. Sounds like the guy has a dangerous obsession with Julie Anderson as well, as he’s cleary displayed some stalker behavior. I think the guy needs some help and probably swift punch to the face.

  21. crappyemailname says:

    I’d also like to state that while this jerk offs behavior may seem funny to some of the more juvenile individuals ot there, it accomplishes nothing. If the guy wants his 15 minutes of fame and wants to comedy routines or make some sort of social statement, try YouTube. City Hall isn’t there for his personal amusement. Just being a jack ass for the sake of it at council meetings is a waste of time and resources, resources that are ultimately payed for and funded by the tax payers. In this state, both the state and local governments have a hard enough time getting ANYTHING accomplished as it is, so the last thing they need is some mentally unstable idiot disrupting them.

    Also, I guarantee that his disruptve/disturbing behavior continues to escalate and this guy does something horrible. Mark it down. Maybe not next week, or next month or within the year, but it will happen, the guy has some serious issus.

  22. norse1943 says:

    Ms. Anderson did the right thing. And it is not amusing to be stalked by anyone. Mr. Hill needs. It is obvious that he is mentally ill. Hopefully he will get it before he does hurt someone.

  23. Ms. Anderson did the right thing. This man needs help BADLY before he hurts himself or someone else, or someone hurts him. He’s damned lucky he didn’t get himself shot with the gun incident at the C-C Bldg.
    Those of you that think he’s cute and interesting and like voting for him are only throwing gasoline on the fire that is his mental illness. STOP IT. It’s gone beyond being funny or cute. If you truly support the man, convince him to get the help he needs before he gets hurt. It’s not fun or funny to be on the other end of a harrasing man. You don’t know how far he will go.
    I don’t agree with every policy that has been made at City Hall. When I don’t I write and tell them why. Politely and respectfully. Hill doesn’t get it. Maybe he will get some help and guidance before serious jail time makes him get it.

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