A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
More police accountability news this week, this time around the Jesse Sarey murder case, where a former Seattle Police chief will testify against an Auburn officer’s use of force. Meanwhile, a man threatened Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and a shooting took place outside of Washington Hall.
Those who are looking to find summer events to attend this weekend might find themselves at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s Summer Social or at Daybreak Star for the Seafair Indian Days Powwow. Paid opportunities are also available for youth interested in learning web design or social media; applications close soon.
—Vee Hua 華婷婷, interim managing editor for the South Seattle Emerald
The killings of John T. Williams, Jesse Sarey, Giovonn Joseph-McDade, and Jacqueline Salyers by police devastated Seattle-area communities. Now, their families honor and preserve their memories with public memorials. Williams’ Honor Totem Pole towers above a throng of tourists at Seattle Center. The patch of grass where Joseph-McDade took his last breath now hosts a bench — a resting place for a grieving mother. In Tacoma, a cross overlooking a freeway brings together an Indigenous community in remembering Salyers, a mother of four who was pregnant at the time she was shot and killed by a Tacoma policeman. And at the CID’s Wing Luke Museum, a memorial quilt bears the name “Jesse.” Sarey’s family, and others who grieve the lives of their loved ones killed by police, hold on to the hope of healing and a fight for justice so that police who kill will be held accountable.
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
My foster son, Jesse Sarey, was killed by Officer Jeff Nelson of the Auburn Police Department on May 31, 2019. Jesse was 26 years old. He was the 19th person in 2019 killed by police use of deadly force in the state of Washington since implementation of Initiative 940 (I-940), which requires de-escalation and mental health training for police and changed the law to remove a legal barrier that prevented prosecutors, as a practical matter, from charging officers who killed someone. Washington’s previous statute required prosecutors to prove “actual malice” — the most restrictive standard in the country. With Jesse’s biological family and supporters by our side, Officer Nelson was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in August 2020. Officer Nelson is only the third officer to be indicted for taking the life of a civilian in Washington State history and the first under I-940. Nelson is the first officer in the state of Washington to be prosecuted for taking the life of a civilian in 30 years. Less than 2% of police officers nationally are held criminally accountable when they kill someone. This is why State v. Nelson needs your attention, and the nation’s. Officer Nelson’s trial begins in June 2022.
Over 30 photographs of those killed by police sat on steps in the foreground of a press conference organized by the family of Jesse Sarey, a Khmer American man shot and killed by Auburn police officer Jeff Nelson in 2019. The press conference took place on the front steps of the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, Washington.
“Since 2018, there’s been 107 names added to the list that police have killed; Jeff Nelson added Jesse to that list so he needs to be held accountable,” said Kelli Saeteurn, a family member of Sarey.
The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.
We’ll also post the Morning Update Show here on theEmerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.
Morning Update Show — Wednesday, Dec. 16
Today on the show:
Seattle Sweep at Cal Anderson Update | LIVE — Justin Carder, Editor, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog | Renton City Council to the Homeless: No Room at The Inn — Interview with Erica C. Barnett, Editor, Publicola.com | Auburn Police Officer Who Shot Jesse Sarey Still Employed + Receiving $100K Salary | Coronavirus Update With Nikki Barron | The Cost of Police Misconduct Act | Black Founders Pitch Competition
For the third time in as many months, the case involving the police officer who shot and killed Jesse Sarey was delayed.
On Nov. 13, the third Order for Continuance in The State of Washington vs Jeffrey Nelson case was filed from the defense, pushing back the next hearing until Jan. 20, 2021.
After the case’s arraignment on Aug. 24 — in which Nelson was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault — Nelson made bail the same day and has been on electronic home monitoring since. In September, Nelson’s defense filed a motion to change judges from one other than King County Superior Court Judge Veronica Galván. That motion was tabled and Galván will remain the judge on the case until the case moves to trial.
Last Friday would have been Manuel Ellis’ 34th birthday.
“I was there when he was born,” Regina Ellis Burnett said of her nephew. “Unfortunately, I was not there when his life was taken. We’re here to celebrate.”
It’s been nearly six months since Ellis was killed by Tacoma police. A state investigation is underway, but the family says it’s not moving fast enough. They held a press conference Friday announcing their intent to sue the City of Tacoma for $30 million in damages. Attorney James Bible has filed a precursor to the lawsuit, known as a tort claim.