The King County Prosecutor’s Office has presented Comet Tavern doorman Danny Walters with its annual citizenship award honoring “courageous citizens who have provided extraordinary assistance in aiding in a prosecution.”
In May 2013, Walters came to the aid of a man being beaten in the street at 10th and Pike in an attack in which five suspects were charged with hate crimes.
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg called Walters a “community effort” for his bravery and effort to aid in the prosecution of the case:
Danny was working at the front door of the Comet Tavern when he witnessed a group of men harassing pedestrians by calling them homophobic slurs. The defendants also started harassing an African American man who was walking by. The defendants yelled racial and homophobic slurs and then attacked the victim and continued punching and kicking him even after he fell to the street.
Danny jumped in and began pulling the assailants off the victim, and even had to fight with some of them to get them to stop. Danny was also able to flag down police and help identify the assailants. Danny came to the Courthouse twice to undergo defense interviews. Later, he was even threatened by one of the defendants. By coming to the aid of a man who was being attacked, and providing key testimony, Danny Walters is a community hero. He is the recipient of the PAO’s Citizenship Award.
Two of the suspects were required to attend classes in a court agreement. Three others facing the prospect of a trial on malicious harassment charges struck plea deals. Trey Amberson, Justin Echols, and Aaron Nelson, each in their 20s and each homeless without Seattle addresses, pleaded guilty. Echols is currently wanted on a warrant for failing to appear at his sentencing hearing.
The spring 2013 incident was part of a string of hate crimes and violent attacks reported around Capitol Hill that has lead to new efforts to speak out against intolerance and make the neighborhood’s streets safer.