Seattle- The city of Seattle, Washington, was shocked by a crime so horrific, that the headline could almost seem unbelievable.

A convicted felon was recently arrested this month after he allegedly raped, pistol-whipped and robbed a 58-year-old woman in a building alcove in downtown Seattle after she asked him for a cigarette. It was a shocking and horrifying turn of events by someone just asking someone a simple question.

Slightly after 5:00 a.m. on November 16th, a passerby had called 911 to report a woman that they saw was in the middle of Third Avenue screaming for help.

Seattle police officers arrived at the intersection of Third Avenue and Pike Street and found the woman, who then told them that she had been sitting near the corner when she asked a man walking by for a cigarette.

She offered him money for the exchange, but he told her, “you can pay in a different way.” That’s when he dragged her into a nearby alcove and raped her, according to the charges.

After the rape had occurred, the man let her go. The video footage that corroborates the victim’s recount shows the woman, moving as quickly as she could with the assistance of her walker, walking into the middle of the street and yelling for assistance.

With a gun in his hand, the woman’s attacker pulled her out of the street, took her to the ground and searched her, striking her twice in the head with the gun and stealing $20 before walking away, according to the charges. When officers had arrived, they noted the woman had an obvious head injury and blood in her hair.

Officers had managed to find the suspect, based on the woman’s description, at Third Avenue and Spring Street. When the suspect spotted the officers, he quickly boarded a bus in an attempt to flee. Officers had stopped the bus before it could travel that far and detained the suspect, who the woman identified as the man who raped and robbed her.

The man, identified as Carlton Deshon Thomas, had blood on his jeans, sweatshirt and shoes when he was arrested. He also had a loaded handgun and $20, as well as a black balaclava matching the description of one worn by the rapist, according to the charges.

Carlton Deshon Thomas spent nearly 10 years in prison after shooting a man in Skyway during a 2008 robbery attempt, court records show.

Thomas was released back in July 2018, where he was placed under supervision via the Department of Corrections. Yet, an interaction that happened around 3rd Avenue and Pike Street in downtown Seattle on November 16th saw the convicted felon back in custody once again.

Thomas had managed to rack up a myriad of charges based upon the evidence obtained in concurrence with the complaint filed by the victim in the case. Just this past week, Thomas was charged with second-degree rape, first-degree robbery and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

He is currently being held at the King County jail on $500,000 bond.

Now when Thomas was arrested for the alleged rape, assault, and robbery; he had told the arresting officers that he was completely oblivious to the described crimes that they hemmed him up for and denied having anything to do with what they accused him of.

Yet, the accused Thomas might run into a little trouble if he is, in fact, guilty of the charges levied against him; as according to the police report, portions of the rape were actually captured on video-surveillance cameras. Thomas is scheduled to be arraigned on December 4th.

It seems as if judges in Seattle are getting more lenient every day.

Earlier this week, we reported on a murder that happened in Seattle because the city won’t cooperate with ICE.

That’s where an undocumented immigrant with a criminal history dating to 2010 was released from jail by local authorities in on two separate occasions – despite ICE having a detainer against the released individual, according to the the agency.

Now, Julio Cruz-Velazquez, 25, has been charged with murder on November 7 of this year and the agency has placed a detainer on him with the King County Jail based in Seattle.

What’s troubling in all this is that ICE stated that Cruz-Velazquez was arrested and released from the very same jail twice within the past two years while the agency had active detainer requests. Furthermore, in addition to the ignored detainer requests secured, there were seven other instances where the agency couldn’t even secure detainer requests in time when he was in custody at the facility.

Police: Convicted felon released from prison rapes, beats woman in walker

He was in custody twice. They released him both times, despite detainer requests.

 

ICE released a statement regarding the conundrum surrounding Cruz-Velazquez.

“When law enforcement agencies do not honor ICE detainers or simple notification requests, the individuals they release, who often have significant criminal histories, are turned out into an unsuspecting community, free to continue their criminal behavior and seek out new victims. Such is the case of Julio Cruz-Velazquez.”

ICE delved into the previously ignored secured detainers for Cruz-Velazquez with the King County Jail. One of which was on July 9 of 2018, two days after he was arrested by the Tukwila Police Department and charged with rape and domestic violence.

The second instance where the jail ignored the detainer was on January 7 of this year, three days after he was arrested by the same department and charged with failure to comply and driving under the influence.

The agency confirmed that the jail had released Cruz-Velazquez both times and didn’t bother alerting ICE.

ICE Seattle field office director Nathalie Asher also commented on the lack of cooperation from local law enforcement.

“Local law enforcement failed the public in this case on multiple occasions. Prior to Julio Cruz-Velazquez’s most recent arrest for murder, ICE lodged detainers on him twice.

Had those detainers been honored, or had ICE been notified on any of the other multiple occasions he was arrested and released from local jails, we would have taken him into custody.

Regrettably, politics continues to prevail over public safety. The detainers were ignored and Cruz-Velazquez was released to the street.”

The agency also made a statement pertaining to how difficult it is to fulfill their agencies mission statement with the absurd laws in place inhibiting local law enforcement’s collaboration.

“Because sanctuary policies restrict ICE’s access to local databases, pushing ICE agents out of jails and the associated political pressure discouraging local law enforcement from effectively communicating with federal immigration officials, ICE is often unaware of a criminal alien being in custody prior to them being released.

These misguided policies hinder ICE’s ability to lodge immigration detainers in a timely manner.”

 

On April 4 of this year, Cruz-Velazquez was convicted of second-degree assault, a class B felony that carries a sentence up to 10 years in prison. He was booked into Nisqually Jail on July 10 and charged with a community custody violation, but was released the next day before ICE could lodge a detainer, the agency said.

Another instance of one of the failed attempts to secure a detainer happened on July 27, 2017. Cruz-Velazquez was arrested by the Seattle Police Department and charged with burglary and malicious mischief, but he was released without ICE having time to lodge the detainer against him.

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Police: Convicted felon released from prison rapes, beats woman in walker

 

A analogous order of events took place on the five other times that ICE could have detained Cruz-Velazquez:

-In August 2015, when Cruz-Velazquez was arrested by Seattle police for failure to comply.

-In June 2012 when Seattle authorities charged him with possession of a stolen vehicle.

-Three times between 2010 and 2012 when he was arrested on local charges that included robbery and manufacturing and possessing a controlled substance, according to the agency.

Apparently, Cruz-Velazquez had also been convicted in November 2015 of vehicle prowling. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail and 12 months of community service, but his actual release date from jail regarding that sentence is unknown.

What is more troubling is that Cruz-Velazquez has a history of entry-without-inspection (often abbreviated as EWI within U.S. Customs and Border Patrol) and had entered the United States illegally back in February 2000. He voluntarily returned to Mexico the day after being apprehended by Border Patrol, but later illegally re-entered at an unknown date and location, the agency said.

 

He currently charged with first-degree murder in the death of 56-year-old Sam Nang Lam, a Vietnamese man who died from two gunshot wounds to the back, according to police and is being held on a $2 million bail.

Nathalie Asher provided a statement on how this tragedy could have been completely avoided.

“Because of this recklessness, a man who immigrated legally to the U.S. has lost his life, allegedly at the hands of a repeat criminal and immigration offender. This is yet another death that could have been prevented, had local law enforcement cooperated with ICE toward the common goal of public safety, as we have so effectively done in years past.”

The key takeaway is that these very losses can be prevented, but in the spirit of politics and appeasing a class of the population that shouldn’t be here in the first place, it’s the citizens of this country who suffer.

It’s starting to seem as if the West Coast is just a walking negligence suit waiting to happen.

In Salem, Oregon, locals are seeking to halt federal agents from arresting people in courthouses for immigration violations. Oregon’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters on Thursday has mandated that civil arrests in state courthouses are no longer allowed, unless the arresting agency has a judicial arrest warrant.

Yet, this newly adopted practice is likely to cause some issues and pin them at odds with federal agents.

According to ICE spokeswoman Tanya Roman, the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement will continue its mission and use its endowed authority as needed, and anyone who obstructs it could be charged with crimes. It makes perfect sense as well, as no one is “above the law”.

Activists for immigrants have complained about increased enforcement activity around courthouses and other places under the Trump administration.

ICE agents have been detaining people who appear for court proceedings and are suspected of being in the United States illegally. In one incident in July of this year, agents had pepper-sprayed family members of Fabian Alberto Zamora-Rodriguez, a suspected illegal alien who was charged with sexual offenses involving minors, who hindering agents from detaining him at a courthouse in Astoria, Oregon.

Katherine McDowell, an attorney and board member of the ACLU of Oregon, opined the following regarding the judges take on ICE being present in courthouses: :

“The courthouse rule stops these frightening practices and ensures that everyone can seek justice in our courts.”

Judges on the Uniform Trial Court Rules Committee had asked Chief Justice Martha Walters on October 18th to impose barring of arrests by ICE at courthouses, claiming that immigrants and even legal residents, are afraid to go to court because of fear they will be detained. Chief Justice Martha Walters stated that arrests in courthouses have inhibited with legal proceedings and removed criminal offenders before they have been sentenced.

According to Walters, the new rule was adopted “not to advance or oppose any political or policy agenda.”

Yet, since police are prohibited from cooperating on the ground level, Tanya Roman says that agents are forced to go to the courthouses in order to enact their duties, citing that “local policies that prevent law enforcement from cooperating with ICE.”

Roman said, without out directly saying, that the agency has no intention of abiding by unenforceable rulings by judges, in a statement she provided:

“ICE will continue to carry out its mission to uphold public safety and enforce immigration law, and consider carefully whether to refer those who obstruct our lawful enforcement efforts for criminal prosecution.”

Even though courts in New York State, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico have already limited or blocked ICE from conducting courthouse arrests, some of the judges on the rules committee are worried the rule could cause an armed confrontation between county sheriff’s deputies and federal agents.

Judge Lung Hung of Malheur County Circuit Court expressed his concerns about the enforceability when ICE agents decide to swing their federal weight, regardless of the mandates at the local level:

“I don’t know how we would handle that situation, honestly. It’s the enforcement that concerns me,” Leland Baxter-Neal, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Oregon, told the committee that ICE usually respects jurisdictions that have adopted similar rules.

ICE had also released an official statement regarding exactly where their authority begins and ends: 

“ICE ERO officers have been provided broad at-large arrest authority by Congress and may lawfully arrest removable aliens in courthouses, which is often necessitated by local policies that prevent law enforcement from cooperating with ICE efforts to arrange for a safe and orderly transfer of custody in the setting of a state or county prison or jail and put political rhetoric before public safety.”

The agency also continued, not shying away from addressing the courthouse debacle:

“It is ironic that elected officials want to see policies in place to keep ICE out of courthouses, while caring little for laws enacted by Congress to keep criminal aliens out of our country.

Despite attempts to prevent ICE officers from doing their jobs, ICE will continue to carry out its mission to uphold public safety and enforce immigration law, and consider carefully whether to refer those who obstruct our lawful enforcement efforts for criminal prosecution.”

Whatever the outcome from all this, it’s likely not going to swing in the favor of those who want to prevent federal agents from doing their jobs.  

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