Welcome to the Former Anarchist Jurisdiction of Capitol Hill Seattle

How it ended — Get your Former Anarchist Jurisdiction designs here from litlnemo

A limp attempt late in the Trump administration to punish Seattle for Black Lives Matter protests and seize on right wing panic around the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest has drifted into history.

Welcome to the Capitol Hill Not So Autonomous Zone of the Former Anarchist Jurisdiction of Seattle, Washington.

President Joe Biden this week reversed the September 2020 Trump administration designation that attempted to penalize three major left-leaning cities — New York, Portland, and Seattle — in federal funding decisions because they were not cracking down on protests following the police-killing of George Floyd. Continue reading

Seattle firefighter in Sawant email threat case charged with identity theft and ‘cyberstalking’

The most serious crime in the investigation of email threats against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant might not end up being the threats.

Seattle Fire Department firefighter Andrew Finseth has been charged with second degree identity theft — a felony — and two counts of misdemeanor cyberstalking. The King County Prosecutor’s office did not pursue a charge of felony harassment. “This charging decision is based on our independent review of the investigation materials referred to us by Seattle Police investigators,” the office said in a statement to media.

Both a felony harassment charge and a second degree identity theft charge in Washington are considered Class C felonies, punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

CHS reported here on Finseth’s arrest after police determined the firefighter had accessed the email account of another Seattle Fire employee to send threats targeting Sawant. Continue reading

Burglary suspect faces charges after being busted twice in high-end Capitol Hill business break-ins

A man police say is a prolific but mostly unsuccessful burglar is facing charges in two Capitol Hill break-ins part of a wave of commercial break-ins that have plagued the area.

Reported burglaries were up 60% across the East Precinct in 2020, according to SPD stats.

Anthony Swanson, 22, has been booked into King County Jail six times since May after arrests for investigation of burglary, vehicle theft, and possession of stolen items. The seventh booking in February for failure to appear in court on one of those burglary comes as Swanson has now been charged for three break-ins including two at high-end Capitol Hill retailers. Continue reading

FBI: Florida ‘hardcore leftist’ charged with federal threats traveled to CHOP to be part of ‘revolution’

From Baker’s now suspended Twitter account

The process of justice around a wave of political unrest last month including a violent crowd that formed in Olympia and the storming of the Capitol in Washington D.C. has netted another individual with a connection to our Capitol Hill.

Florida man Daniel Baker has been charged with transmitting an interstate communication “containing a threat to kidnap any person or threat to injure the person of another” after he “issued a call to arms for like-minded individuals to violently confront protesters gathered at the Florida Capitol.”

The FBI describes Baker as a heavily armed “hardcore leftist” who traveled the world including fighting the Turkish government with the Syrian Kurdish Army, the YPG, in the Middle East and allege the army veteran posted threats against military officers and police on social media.

According to the FBI, Baker’s 2020 travels “to participate in protests that have resulted in violence” also brought him to Seattle where he became part of the scene at CHOP including on the late June night of this deadly shootout that left a 16-year-old dead and a 14-year-old gravely wounded. Continue reading

State Supreme Court to decide on Sawant appeal in recall — UPDATE

The State Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision Thursday in Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s appeal of the recall case against her.

UPDATE 1/8/2021 9:00 AM: Any decision in the case has not been publicly announced as of Friday morning.

UPDATE x2: The court now says there is not a timeline for issuing its opinion in the case:

The Sawant Solidarity campaign formed to help the District 3 council representative if the recall moves forward is girding for the court to rule against Sawant’s appeal.

Sawant’s legal team launched the appeal in October following a King County Superior Court judge’s decision that allowed the recall effort against the longest serving member of the council to move forward.

Sawant’s lawyers from Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt LLP — “the Pacific Northwest’s largest union-side labor and employment law firm” — say the superior court erred in determining that the charges brought against Sawant were “legally and factually sufficient to support a recall.” Continue reading

Driver in Summer Taylor vehicular homicide case ordered released from jail as case moves slowly toward trial

The man charged with vehicular homicide after he hit and killed activist Summer Taylor on I-5 has been ordered released from jail and placed on home detention despite being held on bail of $1.2 million.

According to court records, Dawit Kelete was ordered released after a bid from his lawyers to allow the defendant to go under house arrest and electronic monitoring as he awaits trial.

Kelete pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, and reckless driving after he crashed into a Black Lives Matter protest on I-5 on July 4th, killing one demonstrator, and badly injuring another. Continue reading

Former Seattle University student speaks out on school’s response to her report of domestic violence after abuser is convicted of rape in New Mexico

Washington Governor Jay Inslee speaks with RedWolf Pope at a social gathering at Seattle University in 2013 (Image: Governor Jay Inslee/Facebook)

By Lily Hansen, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

Priscilla Moreno met Redwolf Pope during her first year of law school at Seattle University in 2011. She was initially flattered by the attention he showed her.

Pope, eleven years her senior, was a celebrity on campus: He was a well-known activist in Seattle with an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor to discuss Native American perspectives on Thanksgiving, and had received his undergraduate degree from the university a year earlier.

Within weeks of beginning their romantic relationship, Moreno says she saw red flags. He was controlling, called her names, and limited her interactions with other men. As months passed, she says Pope became increasingly violent.

In July 2018, Pope was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a Seattle woman in a Santa Fe, New Mexico hotel room. A month later, the King County Prosecutor charged Pope with two counts of second-degree rape after two of his business associates discovered video recordings of Pope with two unconscious women in his Capitol Hill apartment.

“[Pope] hid video cameras around his apartment in Seattle where he captured images of friends who he invited in his home, as well as his unwitting roommates,” prosecutors wrote at the time. “Most disturbingly, the defendant filmed himself raping women, women who were friends of the defendant.”

This September, Pope was convicted of rape and voyeurism in New Mexico. Following his sentencing later this month, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has confirmed it plans to extradite Pope to Seattle to pursue the 2018 charges.

With Pope now convicted, Moreno is determined to hold Seattle University accountable. Not only did university administrators fail to stop Pope’s abuse against her, Moreno claims, she says they enabled it.

Moreno first notified Seattle University of the abuse she was experiencing in February 2013. The university’s Department of Public Safety imposed a mutual no-contact order between Pope and Moreno, but that was the extent of the intervention.

By the time Moreno graduated in May 2014, she had gotten nowhere. Diploma in hand, she fled the state with no plans to return.

“This isn’t a story about silver-linings or optimism,” she said. “It’s as bad as it sounds. And that’s it. There is no happy ending.” Continue reading

Chamber sues to stop Seattle’s new payroll tax on large companies

Seattle’s budget for 2021 includes fewer cutbacks than expected from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Part of that is due to improving economic forecasts. The city’s new tax on its largest businesses planned to go into effect in January has also been key with an expected more than $200 million boost funding social and pandemic recovery programs in the city.

But Tuesday, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the city’s largest business group, announced it has filed a lawsuit to block the Jump Start tax revenue program. Continue reading

State Supreme Court will consider appeal in Sawant recall case in January

(Image: @try_thinking0 via Twitter)

December will bring new developments in Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s appeal of the recall case against her to the State Supreme Court.

Sawant’s legal team launched the appeal in October following a King County Superior Court judge’s decision that allowed the recall effort against the District 3 representative and longest serving member of the council to move forward.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to take up and decide on the appeal January 7th in a session in which legal briefs from Sawant’s team and lawyers for the Recall Sawant campaign will be considered but there will be no oral arguments. Continue reading

More legal fallout for Seattle’s handling of months of unrest: 50 protesters suing for personal injury, wrongful death, and civil rights violations

The July 4th medical response on I-5 (Image: @nowah_j)

Protesters and family members of Summer Taylor filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle and the state for personal injury, wrongful death, and civil rights violations during Black Lives Matter protests. The lawsuit was filed in September. 50 plaintiffs, including journalists, protesters, and family members of the Capitol Hill activist hit and killed by a speeding driver on I-5 are represented by Stritmatter Kessler Koehler Moore and Cedar Law PLLC. A new claim was filed Thursday on behalf of one of Cedar’s clients who they say was injured by police while protesting in the East Precinct Wednesday night. While being arrested out of a group of protesters on suspicion of a property crime, Kel Murphy-DuFord was slammed to the ground by officers. His attorneys say witnesses heard the crack on impact and saw his head hit the pavement hard. Murphy-DuFord is currently receiving care at Harborview where he is now listed in satisfactory condition according to a hospital spokesperson.

Police say Murphy-DuFord may have suffered a medical episode “related to a substance the subject had ingested prior to police contact” but offered no further details, an account his lawyers say is “designed to turn public attention away from police misconduct and towards a victim who currently is unable to speak or stand up for himself.”

The lawsuit is part of a wave of legal fallout from the City of Seattle’s response to months of Black Lives Matter protests. The largest could be a lawsuit brought by a collection of Capitol Hill real estate developers, property owners, and small businesses suing the city over the CHOP protest zone. In October, CHS reported on a key decision by a federal judge in the case allowing the suit to move forward. The SKKM and Cedar cases could also be costly for the city. Continue reading