Occupy / Crime / Politics
How Has King County Managed to Charge People for May Day Vandalism While the Federal Government Has Resorted to Throwing People in Prison but Has Yet to Bring a Single Charge?
Why is that? Why has the county, with its relatively paltry resources, been able to gather enough evidence to identify and charge five people with May Day vandalism, while the FBI/federal prosecutor/federal judge Richard Jones have sent four people into prison for refusing to testify (after granting them immunity from prosecution), but have yet to wrangle a single actual charge?
Two of those people in prison, by the way, are the subject of this week's feature—non-witnesses to the crime who have not been charged with nor arrested for anything, but are affiliated with the local anarchist community.
One of those people sitting in prison, Katherine Olejnik, wasn't in Seattle on May Day, which the federal prosecutor admits. She says that during her grand jury appearance, she was asked four questions about the May Day smashup and around fifty questions about other people's political convictions. (How can anyone look at this situation and not hear echoes of the House Committee on Un-American Activities?)
I asked the FBI several days ago how the county has managed to be so much more efficient about gathering evidence and charging people without resorting to sending non-witnesses to prison to coerce their non-eyewitness testimony. The FBI has responded:
Thanks for your patience, Brendan. In answer to your question about timing, the investigation is ongoing because the FBI and Seattle Police Department remain committed to conducting it thoroughly. When subjects hide their identities, naturally, it takes longer to fully investigate the crime. The FBI and its partners don't aim for a specific timeline for solving a case; we aim to be thorough and precise, and take all the necessary steps to do so.
The FBI spokesperson warned me ahead of time that the statement would be brief, this being an ongoing investigation and all.