by Carolyn Bick
Tommy Le’s grandmother is in her 90s. Thanks to the fact that civil jury trials are currently being held virtually, to keep people safe in the novel coronavirus pandemic, she will be able to safely watch from home the civil trial against the man who killed her 20-year-old grandson in 2017.
But this would not have been the true if the judge presiding over the case had granted the request made by the lawyers for King County and Deputy Sheriff Cesar Molina for the trial to proceed in person.
Despite King County’s own Emergency Order halting all in-person civil jury trials until at least late March in order to keep people from catching the virus and developing COVID-19, lawyers for King County and Molina tried to argue that an in-person trial could be conducted safely. Though U.S. District Court Judge Thomas S. Zilly ultimately denied their request later that same day, King County’s and Molina’s lawyers pushed for an in-person trial regarding the shooting death of Vietnamese American student Tommy Le in a hearing held on Feb. 25, just a couple of days after health officials detected yet another novel coronavirus variant in King County and against the backdrop of vaccine predictions that appear to indicate that the vaccine won’t be available for everyone until at least July. The trial is set to begin in less than two months, on April 19.
Continue reading King County Argued for In-Person Trial in Le Case, Despite Own COVID-19 Precautions
by Carolyn Bick
Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a series of new restrictions for the state of Washington, in light of rapidly escalating numbers of new COVID-19 cases. These restrictions will last for a minimum of four weeks. He also announced the state has found an extra $50 million to support struggling state businesses.
In a virtual press conference on the morning of Nov. 15, Inslee said that these new restrictions will begin to take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 16, and last until 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 14, after which point the state will reassess the situation. When the Emerald followed up after the press conference with Inslee’s office to ask whether there will be any penalties imposed on individuals who do not follow these new restrictions, the office said that the question of enforcement is a job for local law enforcement.
Continue reading Gov. Inslee Institutes New Restrictions to Curb COVID Spread, Announces $50 Million Fund for Struggling Businesses
by Carolyn Bick
Editor’s Note: This article contains details about a homicide case, including images of evidence and crime scene reconstruction, that readers may find disturbing and/or triggering.
In the weeks following 20-year-old Tommy Le’s death at the hands of King County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Cesar Molina, Xuyen Le still refused to believe her nephew would have attacked the police with anything, much less a knife. She told then-Sheriff John Urquhart as much at a meeting of the Asian Pacific Directors Coalition, which she later described in the process of court proceedings.
Continue reading Tommy Le May Have Been Shot While Facedown on Roadway, May Not Have Even Had a Pen, Documents Show
“I then told the Sheriff it was our firm belief that, ‘Tommy would never attack the police and certainly not with a knife.’ I politely asked Sheriff Urquhart the most important question to our family and community, ‘Why did the officers shoot Tommy if he was not attacking the officers with a knife – a weapon?’” Xuyen Le’s declaration reads.
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Tuesday, a small group of King County workers picketed outside of the county’s Chinook Building on 5th Avenue, in order to remind King County Executive Dow Constantine that racism is a public health crisis and to protest King County’s inaction on fighting racism and discrimination in King County workplaces.
The event was not the first time that the Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) sponsored a picket — the group staged a picket and rally in front of the county executive’s downtown office earlier this summer to insist Constantine listen to their repeated demands: that he prevent racist threats and harassment at King County worksites, provide restitution for workers who have filed complaints of racism with no satisfactory resolution, and end budget cuts and lay-offs, among other demands.
Continue reading Picket Reiterates Need for Racial Equity in King County Workplaces
by Carolyn Bick
In an internal email sent to King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) employees last week, Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht said that King County Executive Dow Constantine did not speak with her about his proposal to shift $4.6 million in marijuana tax revenue from the sheriff’s department to community-based programs.
Continue reading King County Sheriff’s Email to KCSO Employees Claims She Wasn’t Consulted About Shifting Marijuana Tax Revenue