SEATTLE, WA – It looks as though federal prosecutors are slowly starting to pick things up over in cities like Seattle, Washington – which happens to have local defense attorneys rather perturbed.
— Amy Radil at KUOW (@AmyRadil) September 10, 2020
While certainly not rising quite as high to the occasion like federal prosecutors over in Portland, Oregon, the feds are certainly able to hand down more lengthy sentences against these rioters in Seattle.
— Pradheep J. Shanker (@Neoavatara) September 9, 2020
U.S. Attorney Brian Moran is based out of Seattle and has noted that his office is going to be continuing to tackle the likes of arson and firearms cases that crop up during these ongoing riots. From the May 30th riot in the city alone, federal prosecutors have racked up three cases.
But it’s not only the feds crafting cases – they’re also nabbing investigations from local authorities, such as the May 31st case involving an alleged firearm that was homemade.
The suspect involved in that case was identified as Devinare Parker, which senior deputy prosecutor Stephanie Knightlinger with the King County Prosecutor’s Office said she was working the case and getting ready to file charges before the feds swept in and took the case:
“We really worked with the Seattle police detective. We had to make sure he did things like test-fire the firearm, it was an unusual sawed-off homemade shotgun that [Parker] brought to this protest… [The feds] simply say, ‘look we’re interested in this case, we want to look at the firearm.’”
From there, Moran’s office brought some charges against Parker for possession of a destructive device. Now Parker is being housed in federal custody, away from much of the state-related rigamarole that has been non-conducive in quelling the riots and removing bad actors.
Some of the implements of the so-called “peaceful protesters” from this weekend.
Hint: beer is not what goes in those corona bottles pic.twitter.com/ygf6l5URlP
— Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) September 8, 2020
Despite what some may misconstrue as malicious prosecutions on the federal level, Moran is among those that support the protests – as long as they’re only protests:
“[The riots are] destructive to that important conversation that we in Seattle have had going on since Jenny Durkan was U.S. attorney with the consent decree. So, lots of emotions.
And unfortunately what I’m spending most of my time on now is the criminal agitators and not the more important message of, what do we need to do to get this ship righted.”
Long story short, Moran is among the crowd that is all for a deep conversation nationally on policing but setting things on fire isn’t the best way to carry on said discussion. Furthermore, Moran’s office has been handling cases such as arson, use of Molotov cocktails and firearms during the riots more than anything.
#SeattleProtests"But U.S. Attorney .. said his Seattle office is focused on cases like arson or firearms violations that he says are hurting the protest message.
.. Seattle the night of May 30. People took guns out of police vehicles set the cars on fire, three federal cases .
— Concerned2020Elections (@ArjConcerned) September 10, 2020
Which the feds stepping into cases such as the aforementioned makes sense – since the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives pretty much lives and breathes on those very types of cases.
Also, Moran noted that he’s been getting told that once the feds step in on these sorts of cases, the frequency in which these criminal acts occur during riots begins to dial down:
“I’ve been told, probably anecdotally, that once we charged our first arson case, that the number of protesters or criminal agitators carrying Molotov cocktails dropped substantially.”
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That’s what people would refer to as a “good thing”. Because, even if there’s only a minutia of truth to those presumed anecdotal revelations delivered to Moran regarding fire-starters being deterred, everyone wins (well, except for the would-be arsonists).
But of course, the burning question on everyone’s tongue that uses phrases like “mostly peaceful protests” is whether offices like Moran’s are operating under order from AG Bill Barr to turn up the heat and lay down the law.
Moran put that nonsense to bed faster than faster than a kid up past his bedtime on a school night:
“I’ve been asked this a few times, ‘Are you getting directions from main Justice and the White House about who to charge, and how many to charge?’ and the answer is ‘absolutely not.’”
Then you have folks like Dennis Carroll, who is an assistant federal public defender in Seattle. He’s among the crowd that thinks that the feds handling certain riot-related cases is an effort to make the protests look bad:
“We think bringing these cases to federal court is an effort by the Department of Justice to mischaracterize these protests and make them seem more violent and damaging than they actually are.”
I think it’s safe to say that no one needs to “mischaracterize” anything from these protests and riots for people to see that there’s numerous one that break out into violence, looting, arson and many other felonious acts.
The DOJ honestly doesn’t need to do anything – the rioters are already doing a bang-up job making things look like a hot mess in various cities.
Apparently, Carroll is also perturbed that since the federal courts have stepped in that these very alleged criminals might have to actually serve some hard time if convicted:
“This is a uniquely local matter that should be handled in state court. However, the Department of Justice came in, and took the cases to federal court where they can levy draconian mandatory minimum penalties against the people who are charged.”
A former Seattle resident, who most recently resided in Tacoma, was arrested July 14, 2020, on a federal arson charge for setting fire to the outside of the Seattle Police East Precinct during the occupied protest known as ‘CHOP’.https://t.co/x6xd0nJupL
— Kerri Kupec DOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) July 15, 2020
Don’t mind the theatrics presented by Carroll though, as he’s defending an alleged arsonist by the name of Isaiah Willoughby who was said to have set a fire outside of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct in July of this year.
Obviously, Carrol is upset that his client might have to do 5 to 20 years in federal prison for arson instead of 18 months in the state prison.
Nonetheless, it’s good to see that the federal government is stepping in where it’s most needed and carries the most investigative expertise. Also, the fact that these efforts might be deterring some of the miscreants about is tantamount to the icing on the proverbial cake.
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