On Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, the Department of Justice labeled Seattle, Portland and New York City “anarchist jurisdictions.”
This memo – published by U.S. Attorney General William Barr – is in response to President Trump’s memorandum of Sept. 2, 2020, entitled “Memorandum on Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients That Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities.”
The labelling could be the first salvo in a push by Trump’s administration to cut federal funding to these cities, all of which have opposed him politically.
Later on Monday, King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg (who grew up in this area and now lives in Normandy Park), responded with the following statement:
“This allegation suggests that laws are not being enforced in King County, which could not be further from the truth. The deputy prosecutors in our office are working hard in the pursuit of justice and are addressing a record numbers of cases from around the county. This official DOJ designation seems more of a political statement than a factual one, and we were never contacted by them for any actual data. In the interest of providing more accurate information, we felt it was important for everyone to know the following facts:
- “The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has filed 20 felonies related to the protests, including shootings, gun cases, assaults, burglary cases, cases involving two deaths, and an arson at the Seattle Police East Precinct.
- “Every Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) case that has been referred to our office by police for a felony filing decision has led to criminal charges or is in the process of being reviewed. The cases that have been filed were reviewed individually, and charges were filed by our office after an independent review of each police investigation, including available video evidence. Those cases are detailed below, including one case that federal authorities filed on their own after our office filed the case.
- “Four of the cases that are now being handled by federal prosecutors were cases first filed by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Federal authorities made the decision to file their cases independently, and our cases can continue if those federal cases do not move forward.
- “Other high-profile protest cases – including the Jacob T. Little case, the Margaret Channon case, the Kelly Thomas Jackson case, the Kyle Robert Tornow case, the Sami C. Horner case, and the Desmond David-Pitts case – were not referred to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for a felony filing decision before federal charges were filed.
- “We also are addressing an unusually violent year overall in King County:
- “This year our office has filed 59 murder, manslaughter and vehicular homicide cases. At this point last year, we’d filed 47. Last year, we had 70 cases overall.
- “Our office also is addressing an increase in domestic violence. There have been 12 domestic violence homicides in King County this year. In each of the last two years, there were seven domestic violence homicides county-wide.
- “This year The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has filed 357 sexual assault cases through the end of August. That 357 number includes 98 rape cases across King County.
- “Each business day, our office continues to file felony cases with a focus on public safety. On this past Friday alone, for example, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed the following cases:
- Five burglary cases, including one in Seattle
- Six felony-level drug crimes, including three in Seattle
- Two cases of violating domestic violence court orders, including one in Seattle
- Five assault cases, including two in Kent
- A stolen vehicle case in Lake Forest Park, identity theft in Auburn, a theft case in Renton, a felony DUI case out of Auburn, and two charges involving child pornography
“We continue to work well with our partners at both the federal and municipal level. I have for more than three decades worked with our local U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington. Many of the Assistant United States Attorneys there started their careers in the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office – they are smart, dedicated, independent prosecutors. It is essential for public trust that our work not be swayed by political rhetoric, but grounded in facts and in the pursuit of justice. We are proud of the work we do in our office every single day as we strive toward a fair, equitable and safe county for all.”