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Rantz: Despite evidence, no charge for ‘antifa’ kid trying to imprison UW GOP

An 18-year-old man is arrested on UW's campus. (Courtesy of Operation Cold Front)

Despite witness testimony and ample video evidence of a suspected antifa supporter trying to chain a door closed, imprisoning students attending a University of Washington College Republicans (UWCR) meeting, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg’s office won’t file charges. The office’s reasoning is baffling.

An 18-year-old man was arrested by UW Police for allegedly attempting to trap about 30 people in a classroom during their final UWCR meeting of the semester.

“I saw a guy in black approach the door but there had been no protest outside or anything so antifa wasn’t necessarily on my radar,” UWCR member Zach Wildfang told The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH when this happened on June 3. “He crouched down and immediately slapped his chain around the door.”

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It was all caught on video by Operation Cold Front. Before the meeting, the Emerald City Antifa group encouraged members to show up to disrupt the event, though it remains unclear if the young man is a member, as some have speculated.

Despite this video evidence, prosecutor Michael W. Graves instructed the UW Police in a memo that “based on the facts presented, it is unlikely that we would be able to prove he intentionally committed the crime of disorderly conduct beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Graves defines disorderly conduct as the intentional disruption without lawful authority. The meeting was disrupted and a chase of the suspect ensued. Still, Graves argued “This case involves a very brief and completely failed attempt to disrupt a meeting on campus. As soon as the suspect got to the door with a chain, he was interrupted.”

The prosecutor laughably argues the suspect’s use of the chain “is not entirely clear” beyond speculation. In the video, you can see him kneeling down around the door handles, from the outside, through the door windows.

Graves then argues “the meeting itself was not in any way disrupted except to the extent necessary to immediately interrupt, chase and apprehend the suspect.” The chaining didn’t work. It made lots of noise, as chains against doors tend to do, and it immediately alerted the students inside, one already standing guard.

So in other words, the meeting was not disrupted, except that it stopped the event, resulted in students chasing the suspect as he ran away, then apprehending him pending the arrival of cops.

“We heard the rattling from inside,” UWCR president Chevy Swanson told KTTH. “We looked to see through the window and see that someone was messing with the door. And it’s very clearly a chain being attached. So personally I ran up to the door and opened it on him, the chain fell to the ground, and he ran off, which is good because I much prefer not to be chained in a room with 30 other people indefinitely.”

Still, Graves says: “While it is fair to say that the suspect had formed some plan, it is not at all clear from his actions what that plan was. The plan was fully and completely interrupted from the very moment it began.”

The prosecutor’s argument implies that because the victims didn’t let themselves become trapped in a room, the suspect didn’t really do anything all that wrong. Graves then outlines the legal argument:

Statutes addressing an attempt to disrupt a meeting (disorderly conduct) or an attempt to unlawful imprison others would each require that the suspect took a substantial step toward the commission of that particular crime. The courts have interpreted substantial step to mean “a real or material threat.” It must be more than “a petty annoyance, a slight inconvenience, or an imaginary conflict.” Under these facts, with his plan interrupted at inception, there remains a reasonable doubt about the purpose/goal of the suspect. Since we are unable to say what he intended to accomplish beyond a reasonable doubt, we decline to file a criminal charge.

This is rather remarkable. Under his claim, I can attempt, briefly, to lock Graves in his office, but if he quickly stops me, I won’t be charged? Wildfang is shocked by the prosecutor’s decision.

“Declining to charge this ‘activist’ with disorderly conduct which, by the definition given by the county was clearly achieved and intended, sends the message that conduct of this sort is not only acceptable, but encouraged,” Wildfang told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH via email. “The tone of the memo even suggests that we interrupted his plan, as if we were the antagonists during his attempt to imprison us.”

Wildfang unequivocally believes Satterberg’s office didn’t press charges because the victims here are conservatives.

“It would be against the county’s best interest to take the side of any conservative no matter what the circumstance is,” Wildfang concluded.

Satterberg’s office refused to provide a statement from the prosecutor on this case, but a spokesperson said “he supports the reasoning in the memo.”

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Recently, Satterberg came under fire for refusing to charge a suspect that his office admitted intentionally assaulted a King County Sheriff’s Deputy. After significant community uproar and media interest in the case, emails reveal his office allegedly coordinated a series of lies to the media. Satterberg does not like to charge criminals, and when he does, he charges lightly. His office recently came under fire for a very light charge against Francisco Carranza-Ramirez, an illegal immigrant who raped a wheelchair-bound woman. He only served eight months in prison. Upon his release, he immediately assaulted his victim again, then fled to Mexico.

The 18-year-old man, who definitely wasn’t trying to put a chain around a door to lock in college Republicans, has been arrested before, according to a KOMO news report from 2018, during a protest against the Northwest Detention Center. As a side note, he was arrested alongside Willem Van Spronsen, the man who more recently was shot and killed by Tacoma police officers after he attempted to set fire to the detention center while armed with a rifle. Van Spronsen left behind a manifesto stating, among other things, “i am antifa.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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