Seattle man charged in alleged threats against mayor, Sawant
A Seattle man was charged Wednesday for allegedly posting threatening messages on Facebook about Seattle’s mayor and a City Council member. Among the charges is malicious harassment, the state’s hate-crime statute, for alleged threats based on Ed Murray’s sexual orientation.
Seattle Times staff reporter
King County prosecutors Wednesday charged a 32-year-old Seattle man with malicious harassment, felony harassment and two counts of cyberstalking for allegedly posting threats against Mayor Ed Murray and City Councilmember Kshama Sawant on Facebook.
Mitchell Munro Taylor remains in the King County Jail in lieu of $600,000 bail. Taylor, who lives in the Magnolia neighborhood, does not have a criminal history.
Taylor’s postings “include many homophobic slurs, a description of killing babies, rape and death references, and several menacing references to Harvey Milk,” member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California before he was fatally shot by an assassin in November 1978, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff wrote in charging documents.
The malicious-harassment charge — the state’s hate-crime statute — was filed in connection with Taylor’s alleged threats against Murray based on his sexual orientation. Murray became one of the state’s first openly gay legislators in the mid-1990s, and is the city’s first openly gay mayor after his election in November.
Mitchell was arrested Jan. 16, two days after Murray’s staff found more than 20 threatening, anti-gay postings from Taylor’s account on the mayor’s Facebook page, according to court documents.
One post said, “Mayor meet Harvey Milk,” while several others repeated a gay slur over and over.
Other posts said “death to socialist council member” and “feminists must get raped and die.”
Still another post read: “I will kill mexican babies now i will stomp their heads into the pavement (sic),” according to the charges. “Death to seattle police (sic),” was also posted by Taylor, the charging papers say.
During a bail hearing last week, defense attorney Eric Lindell said Taylor has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism characterized by regimentation and repetitiveness.
In an interview with police, Murray said he found the comments posted on his Facebook page to be very offensive and considered some to be death threats, charging papers say.
While Sawant wasn’t named directly in the postings, police believe she was the target because she is the only socialist on the council.
Sawant, who was elected to the Seattle City Council in November, told police “she was concerned for her safety and the safety of her family,” the charges say.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org