A Burien activist group sparked controversy this week when it distributed a flier detailing crimes committed by illegal aliens, and their addresses. It was frowned upon by officials like Sheriff John Urquhart and even KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.
But Craig Keller with Respect Washington tells Dori that they did nothing wrong.
“Citizens deserve to know what danger lurks near them,” Keller said. “They treat us like mushrooms … and that day is over for Burien.”
Respect Washington sent an email to its supporters — people who signed a petition for an initiative in Burien. That initiative aimed to remove Burien’s sanctuary city status. Within that email were news clippings of crimes allegedly committed by undocumented immigrants. Also, there was a map detailing 16 crimes, names associated with them, and addresses of the suspects.
“The reason that these crimes were mapped is, people deserve the right, just like they deserve the right to know which sexual predators live near them, to know where these crimes occurred and where these people live,” Keller said. “These people don’t even live there anymore; they are living in the King County jail or in our Department of Corrections. There are several cases that have already been convicted. And it’s been reported in The Seattle Times.”
The problem with the list, according to Sheriff Urquhart, is that it spans 2008 to 2017, and the information could be out-of-date, and there is no distinction whether the suspect was convicted or not. While Urquhart hadn’t looked into every name on the list, he told the Jason Rantz Show that “at least in one case, a man who was listed as a murderer was cleared and was not a part of that crime.”
The map had Urquhart, and Dori, concerned that any one of the 3,643 petition signers could use that information to engage in vigilante action.
“A very desperate John Urquhart, whose running to be reelected as sheriff, was highly irresponsible in suggesting that (vigilantism) was in any way the motive of a letter going out to these petitioners,” Keller said. “… this was stuff that was reported in the press. These addresses that were listed aren’t any different if you go to the City of Burien and look at their crime map.”
Keller admits, though, that the addresses are the exact numbers of residences, some with an apartment number removed. Unlike what the city or a newspaper would report — the general block of an incident.
The email is the latest in an ongoing battle over Respect Washington’s Burien initiative. After more than 3,600 people signed it — enough to get it on the ballot — a King County judge ruled that it was outside the scope of the initiative process.
“This letter went out to all the signers of Burien Prop. 1 who were deprived of their vote on the ballot,” Keller said. “Every citizen and voter of Burien was deprived of their vote, whether they support sanctuary cities or not, because a leftist illegal alien group called Communities for Inclusion filed legal action. They found a compliant King County Superior Court judge and she found that this question … be removed from the ballot … which is outrageous and an affront to our first amendment right.”
“We are not posting this (map) anywhere,” he said. “This letter, this communication, went to people who were aggrieved and they petitioned their government, and they need to know what happened when their ballot measure was jerked from the ballot by a bunch of illegal alien front groups.”
The City of Burien has since released a statement on Respect Washington’s email.
The City of Burien supports and values all of our residents, regardless of their immigration status or religion. People’s safety and quality of life are our primary concern.
We want to make it clear that it is safe for all our residents, regardless of their immigration status or religion, to contact the City if they are need of service or assistance, to contact Burien Police to report a crime, or to seek emergency health care.
The City of Burien works to foster a culture of trust and cooperation between City staff, Burien police, and the community at large.
– Burien City Manager, Brian Wilson