In the midst of a deadly string of marijuana shop armed robberies in Western Washington’s Puget Sound/I-5 corridor region, Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat has penned an interesting piece on how soft-on-crime judges appear to be a problem with keeping criminals off the streets.
Westneat’s column could be so incendiary with Seattle’s woke far left the newspaper is not allowing readers to comment. Instead, it posted this notification: “The Seattle Times closes comments on particularly sensitive stories. If you would like to share your thoughts or experiences in relation to this story, please email the reporter or submit a letter to be considered for publication in our Opinion section. You can read more about our community policies here.”
Westneat’s remarks reflect the frustration of prosecutors and the public when he wrote, “(A) review of the arrests and, more importantly, the judicial decisions made to date suggests we may already be tilting back more toward ‘Operation Same Old Revolving Door.’”
Westneat’s column is well-timed. Several pot shops in the region have been robbed, and the game has turned deadly. One robber was shot dead in Covington Thursday by a citizen described only as a “store employee” at “Euphorium” after a co-worker was apparently taken hostage by the armed would-be robber, who put a gun to the hostage’s head. The armed employee, who reportedly checks identifications at the door, drew his sidearm and opened fire, according to KIRO News.
A day earlier in Bellevue’s Factoria area, a pot shop was robbed at gunpoint by two suspects who fled with a third person into Seattle, where police fatally shot one of them and took the other two into custody following a standoff.
Saturday night, robbers hit a pot shop called “World of Weed” in Southeast Tacoma, killing an employee.
The people about whom Westneat wrote are involved in other crimes.
He tells about four suspects who “were released back onto Seattle streets with either no or low bail despite being repeat offenders accused of illegally carrying guns and dealing fentanyl…The allegations are serious enough that three of them later were rearrested and charged in federal court.”
The fourth suspect had been arrested a month earlier for “selling fentanyl pills on the sidewalk and then crouching over a woman who was overdosing.” Yet he was released. According to Westneat, this suspect has “a slew of felony convictions for burglary, car theft and drug dealing, and he’s had 39 arrest warrants going back 20 years because of a propensity to not show up in court. Yet he was out of jail 45 hours later on just $2,500 bail, down from the $75,000 requested by prosecutors.”
Another recidivist offender, the Times columnist detailed, had been charged “more than two dozen times just since 2016, including six times for assault and for “unlawful use of a weapon to intimidate.” He’s had eight warrants for not showing up, including two that are active today, and has been in and out of diversion programs, all to no avail. He was released anyway.”
When the Times’Sara Jean Green reported in detail about the Factoria robbery, the story noted the suspects were 19 and 20 years old, and both were armed with handguns, which was illegal considering their ages. Police killed the younger of the two men after he opened fire on them.
The Washington Legislature recently passed some gun control measures, none of which would have prevented these crimes. The Glock and UZI handguns used by the Bellevue robbery suspects both were photographed with large capacity magazines, but since the suspects were not legally able to possess either handgun, the matter of magazine capacity is of little consequence, since criminals ignore such restrictions as recently adopted with SB 5078.
Looking at Westneat’s column, it appears average citizens and Seattle-area businesses want action on crime. Seattle policies have, say critics, created the current environment in which such crimes are committed, and judges have been elected whose decisions put such criminals back on the streets. The consensus suggests this cannot continue.