These are the people who face criminal charges in Seattle after the protests
Prosecutors in Seattle say people arrested for nonviolent protests of racism and police brutality are not being held in jail, or facing criminal charges.
But they are moving forward with roughly 20 cases, which tend to involve firearms, burglaries and assaults that occurred in the midst of recent protests.
King County Prosecutor
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg says his office has filed 15 felony cases related to Seattle and Bellevue protests, including three for actions within the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone.
“The cases that we are filing involve people using illegal guns, people shooting each other, people running over each other, or stealing from businesses that has nothing to do with the protest itself,” he said.
This includes the man who drove into a crowd of protesters on Capitol Hill in Seattle and shot Daniel Gregory. It also includes the man accused of driving his car into the Black Lives Matter protesters on I-5, killing Summer Taylor and injuring Diaz Love.
Two men are charged with a drive-by shooting in Seattle “that targeted victims going to check on a family-owned business” during the protests, the prosecutor’s office said. Another man is charged with a hate crime and attempted robbery for targeting a 65-year-old woman and trying to steal her camera gear during the protests.
Two men are charged with unlawful gun possession and “accused of taking advantage of the protest and burglarizing a jewelry store” in Bellevue, according to the prosecutor’s office. Others are charged with burglarizing Target and Old Navy stores in Seattle the same weekend of May 30.
In the CHOP, one man is charged with arson for allegedly starting a fire outside the East Precinct while it was vacant. Another is accused of burglarizing Car Tender as part of a “crime spree.” He’s also charged with assault, accused of slashing at a teenager with a box knife while inside the business. And a third man, Robinson Ritchie, is accused of repeatedly breaking into the East Precinct building and stealing various items including a “rolling office chair.”
The prosecutor’s office says no one has been charged in the shootings that left two teenagers dead in the CHOP, but those investigations are ongoing.
Satterberg said he won’t pursue any charges related to assaults on police officers until he sees all available video footage including from body-worn cameras.
“Frankly, there was bad conduct on all sides,” he said. “A case like this, a trial like this, would be necessarily a review of the conduct and force that was used by all parties.”
And he said he’s reluctant to add to the 5,000 felony cases already backlogged in King County Superior Court due to the pandemic. The county just resumed its first jury trial this week, questioning potential jurors remotely.
“We have huge numbers of cases to resolve and we don’t need political show trials that involve protests and pushing back and forth on a police line,” Satterberg said.
He said he’d rather start looking at policy solutions being demanded by protesters.
Seattle City Attorney
Dan Nolte, the spokesperson for Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, says all nonviolent misdemeanors such as “obstruction, resisting arrest, and trespass cases stemming from the recent (July 1) CHOP clear-out will be declined.”
Nolte said the city is pursuing just one protest-related misdemeanor case, against Robinson Ritchie, the same man facing felony charges for burglarizing the East Precinct. The city has charged Ritchie with “unlawful use of a weapon to intimidate.” He said Ritchie “allegedly threatened officers with a knife and metal pipe.” Ritchie's attorney declined to comment about his case.
Nolte said they’re seeking to refer up to three additional misdemeanor cases to the nonprofit Choose 180; those people will not face criminal charges if they complete the community-based program. Those cases include someone who “allegedly threw a traffic cone at a passing police car's driver's side windshield” and another person accused of stealing from a business that had been broken into.
“If the participants engage in the Choose 180 workshop, those charges will be dismissed,” Nolte said. He said they’re still awaiting information on a possible third case.
In a recent statement, Holmes said he supports expanding the Choose 180 diversion program beyond its current focus on 18-24 year-olds.
“We’re about to witness a small test pilot of this expansion proposal,” he said. “I’m hopeful we can identify the right funding, the right community-based non-profit partners, and the right programs to prevent fewer people from experiencing the life-long consequences of a criminal record.”
U.S. Attorney for Western Washington
Two people are currently detained on federal charges for acts they committed when large-scale protests first erupted in Seattle. Those protests took place in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, the weekend of May 30.
Devinare Parker has been charged with “unlawful possession of a destructive device” for bringing an improvised firearm to the protests and threatening to kill police. He was arrested after hitting an officer in the face with a can of beer. Parker could still face additional charges in King County once the federal case is concluded.
Margaret Channon of Tacoma has been charged with five counts of arson for burning five Seattle police vehicles parked downtown. The U.S. Attorney’s office for Western Washington says, “While other matters are under investigation, no other charges have been filed.” Spokesperson Emily Langlie said the detainees have not been indicted.
“Due to Covid-19, the grand jury is not sitting,” she said. “That is expected to change later this summer, but is up to the chief judge.”