[UPDATE 9:30PM PST NOV 13: Good news is: Matt E was not taken into custody today! The interfaith vigil in the morning was a great inspiration to many of us present, more details may come out in the coming days. Kiro 7 showed up and filmed some of that and also did an interview with Matt E before we all went in to King County Jail courtroom 2 for the sentencing hearing before Judge Steven Rosen. A reporter from Real Change was also present throughout and they will be publishing a piece on the story soon. At the hearing, the courtroom was entirely packed with supporters of Matt E. Matt E told the Judge that he still cannot apologize for taking the actions he took to not get killed. Although it is still unjust that Matt E is getting any time at all, at least we have him free for another two weeks. The terms of his sentencing: 120 days in jail with 364 days suspended; a conviction fee; and Matt E is banned from the area between 3rd and 9th avenue and from Union to Olive. This last part is of great concern because all of the main transit lines in Seattle are accessible in that area. The Judge chose that area to keep Matt E far from Pacific Place Mall and Westlake Park, where the incident occurred. The entire trial has already entered an appeal processing in response to the unfairness and racism present in the first one. We are currently waiting to find out if we will be able to post appeal bail, which if accepted, will allow Matt E to remain free at least for the duration of the appeal trial, and presumably after that if it is a fair trial. In the early afternoon a group of about 20 people hand delivered a demand letter to Mayor Ed Murray in City Hall. The letter is addressed to Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle City Council, text will be uploaded soon. Video and audio also coming soon!!!]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12 November 2014
Contact: Matt E & Cody Lestelle (310) 613-4319
Local Black Man Convicted and Faces Sentencing For Escaping a Lynch Mob;
Community Calls For Investigation into SPD Community Policing Model
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13
8:30am press conference
Outside of Seattle Municipal Court
On 5th between Cherry & James
Matt E, aka MC Bypolar the Toxic Cherub, will be hosting a press conference outside of the Seattle Municipal Court before he faces sentencing for a false conviction he received on October 23rd for escaping what amounted to a lynch mob.
The community will be holding an interfaith and non-religious gathering outside of the jail with Breakfast 8-9am, Lunch 11:30a-12:30p, and another meetup at 4:30p.
Matt E was found guilty of possession of an unlawful weapon, despite the knife actually being legal. Moreover, Matt E never used the weapon, but drew his legal knife to create space while retreating from an armed and attacking crowd that was pursuing him with intent to injure or even kill him.
This attack, incited by SPD officers Chase and Clay, is being referred to as an attempted lynching because a large group of people was directed to harm or kill Matt E in an extralegal manner. Furthermore, we do believe the attack was racially motivated as Matt E is black, the two officers who incited the attack are both white in a police force with a history of racism, and the crowd was yelling racial slurs at Matt E throughout the incident.
Matt E is a founding member of Seattle Copwatch. The night of the attack, Matt E was copwatching officers Chase and Clay as they were targeting another individual at Westlake Park. The officers responded to Matt E’s presence by calling the attention of a large crowd of street kids who were Westlake Park regulars to Matt E. Officers Chase and Clay notified the group it would be ‘dangerous’ for them to have him around. Subsequently, 20-30 street kids who possessed chains, skateboards and other weapons pursued Matt E all the way into Pacific Place Mall as he backed away using his legal knife to keep his attackers at bay and stay alive.
The mall security video, which can be found at stoplegallynching.wordpress.com, shows officers Chase and Clay rolling Matt E towards the same crowd who pursued him into the mall. Members of the group can be seen hitting and stomping on him while the officers hold him down. In their report, officers Chase and Clay list the attacking persons as “assisting in the arrest” of Matt E.
This attack was both politically and racially motivated. While the officers were targeting Matt E for his copwatching, the mob was heard yelling “GO BACK TO JAIL N***ER!”
Matt E and the community are demanding an investigation into SPD Officers Chase and Clay and the Community Policing model that these officers discussed in their testimony during Matt E’s trial.
Three friends of Matt E were found to be in contempt of court by Judge Steven Rosen for their reactions following the announcement of a guilty verdict for possession of an unlawful weapon and resisting arrest. Cameron Coale and Chris Schulz were sentenced to the maximum possible—30 days in jail. Holly Johnson was sentenced 8 days.
Members of the community are also asking for an investigation into Judge Steven Rosen to see if he is involved in covering up the crimes committed within SPD’s Community Policing model.
Matt E’s original bail was set at $25,000; but when the community was able to raise that amount to post bail, another charge was added and an additional bail of $25,000 was set. Matt E’s community nonetheless managed to post a bail bond for the added bail.
Please write to Judge Rosen urging leniency with Matt E’s sentencing and/or that Judge Rosen recuse himself from the case. The sentencing hearing will take place at 9am.
(download .pdf of this press release: Community Calls For Investigation into SPD Community Policing Model)
The following are letters of support that have been written to Judge Rosen (or any other Judge who takes over Matt E’s case). More letters have been written, but these people decided to make their letters open letters, for all to see. None of the Matt’s listed below are Matt E himself, all letters are written by people from the community, in support of Matt E.
8) Your open letter? Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org